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Sexual assault is any physical contact of a sexual nature without voluntary consent. While associated with rape, sexual assault is much broader and the specifics may vary according to social, political or legal definition.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sexual assault includes inappropriate touching, anal, and oral penetration, sexual intercourse, rape, attempted rape, and child molestation plus torturing the victim with many sexual ways. In Australia, the term "sexual assault" is more synonymous with rape.
Perpetrators may include, but are not limited to, strangers, acquaintances, superiors, legal entities (as in the case of torture), or family members. Both male and female sex predators can commit sexual assault against same-sex or opposite-sex victims or both. Generally, victims are more likely to be assaulted by an acquaintance (such as a friend or co-worker) or a family member than by a complete stranger. The act is sometimes accomplished by force sufficient to cause physical injury. More often, the act is accomplished by psychological coercion alone, with no overt physical injuries to the victim. However, even when no lasting physical injury is sustained, the psychological damage done by this form of intimate violation may be substantial. Psychological damage is often particularly severe when sexual assault is committed by parents against children due to the incestuous nature of the assault.
Additional recommended knowledge
Who is vulnerable
Anyone is a potential victim of sexual assault, although females are at a higher risk of victimization than men. A person who is the victim of sexual assault may require assistance from medical and law enforcement resources. Medical and law enforcement professionals strongly recommend that a victim call for help and report what has happened.
Medical professionals are concerned for the well-being of the victim, who may need immediate medical attention, not only for injuries, but against sexually transmitted disease, and possibly to avoid unwanted conception. In many locations, EMTs, emergency room nurses and doctors are trained to help rape victims. Some emergency rooms have rape kits which are used to collect evidence.
Police are charged with the enforcement of the laws forbidding sexual assault and to gather evidence to identify and prosecute the offender. Further, police provide safety advice and prevention tips, to prevent people from becoming victims of sexual assault.
Reducing the risk of sexual assault
Police agencies routinely offer safety tips and advice for reducing the risk of sexual assault. Many argue that there are risk factors for sexual assault that lie with the victim; that is, certain behaviors by the victim exist may increase the chance of sexual assault.
While it is widely accepted that the victim is not to blame, for would-be victims of sexual assault, there are a variety of precautions that may be taken to minimize the chance of falling victim to sexual predators. Various reputed organizations and legal agencies have provided suggestions to this end, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Canadian Women's Sexual Assault Centre, RapeCrisis.org.uk, and Amnesty International.
The advice given is extensive, and vary in specifics, they all tend to include certain precautions:
Research and information
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sexual_assault". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|