Sexual violence is a crime, regardless of the perpetrator or where it happens. The offender is always responsible for their actions, never the crime survivor. In California, sexual assault is a serious crime involving intimate contact that a person did not agree (consent) to or was forced into against their will. Regrettably, sexual assault can take many forms, such as:
- Rape and statutory rape where the survivor is below the legal age of consent
- Sexual assault involving a minor
- Child prostitution
- Child pornography
- Oral copulation of a minor
- Internet sex crimes
This guide provides information about the different types of sexual assault and the help and support available to survivors of sexual violence.
Sexual Assault Is a General Term for a Range of Serious Crimes
Sexual assault refers to many different types of illegal and criminal conduct. Defined as any sexual contact or behavior towards another person without their consent or against their will, sexual assault can include the following:
Rape and Statutory Rape
Rape is a criminal offense defined under California law as sexual penetration against a person’s will through violence, physical force, psychological coercion, threats, or fraud. The term also applies if someone cannot consent through a lack of freedom or capacity to choose of their own accord. For example, it is considered non-consensual if a victim is:
- Asleep or unconscious
- Being pressured, bullied, or manipulated
- Below the legal age of consent (under 18 years of age in California)
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Living with a mental health condition that prevents them from having freedom of choice
- Being physically forced by the perpetrator
Like rape, sodomy is a criminal offense where the perpetrator acts against a victim’s will or without their consent in the manner listed above. It is typical for survivors of sexual assault to experience a range of emotions, and just as trauma can take many forms, so can the healing process. Many medical and legal professionals are ready to help victims.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) states that the sexual abuse of a child by a parent or guardian is incredibly difficult for survivors to discuss, even though it is a widespread problem. However, you are not alone, you are not to blame, and some people can help you heal in a way that works for you and access the support you need.
Internet Sex Crimes
Internet sex crimes involve the use of the internet for a wide variety of criminal offenses involving solicitation, the use of pornography, or harassing, grooming, coercing, or bullying minors. While perpetrators seek to hide behind the anonymity of the virtual environment, children and young people who are abused and exploited online are real victims.
Unfortunately, these are just a handful of the different types of sexual assault. Whatever the nature of your experience, we are here to listen, stand up for your rights, and help you seek a sense of justice and compensation for what you experienced. We are ready to fight for you.
Survivors of Sexual Assault Have Rights
As well as holding the perpetrator to account criminally, survivors of sexual assault can also file a civil lawsuit to recover financial damages. While no amount of compensation can undo this terrible wrongdoing, it can contribute to the healing process by helping with expenses like:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lower quality of life
- Emotional distress
Civil and criminal proceedings are entirely separate legal entities. Therefore, you can file a civil lawsuit against the person or organization responsible for harming you, irrespective of whether criminal charges were pressed. In some cases, other parties could share responsibility for the assault if they were able to prevent the assault or had a duty to protect the victim but failed to do so.
Examples include institutions, high-profile individuals, or companies. Regardless of how powerful some defendants may appear, everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. You have the right to seek justice and compensation and to access any help you need to rebuild your life.
We Are Here to Advocate for You
At Greenberg Gross, our team understands it takes courage and strength to come forward and tell your story. However, it’s crucial to know you are not alone. Additionally, there are people like the dedicated attorneys at Greenberg Gross who will be at your side and stand up for what is right on your journey to recovery. We want to bring you the justice you deserve and help you move forward as comfortably as possible.
To learn more about how we can help, reach out today for a free, confidential consultation. We’re standing by to listen to the facts of your experience and determine how we can help. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for you, which involves holding the perpetrator accountable for their horrendous actions.