A sexual offense is a serious crime and carries heavy penalties. If you have been a victim of a sexual crime, rest assured you are not alone and there is help available. Some sexual offenses are complex, and you may be unsure what category the offense against you falls into. How can you identify the exact definition of a sex crime?
Rape is defined as penetration in any form of another person’s vagina, anus or mouth without consent. If a victim says no at any point, this constitutes a lack of consent. However, other circumstances need to be considered. If a victim were unable to consent because they were drunk or unconscious, this would also be classified as rape as the victim could not choose. The same applies to a situation where a person was too scared to speak and ‘froze’ in fear. In the case of sexual violence, this is not uncommon and is still classed as rape. Rape is clearly defined, but what of other sex crimes?
Many other sex crimes go beyond the classification of rape. Understanding the violation in sex crime categories can be difficult, and using a professional specialist lawyer is prudent for getting clarity. Some sex crimes are less serious than others and are classed as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor would include behaviors that are sexual and can be observed by others but do not involve direct contact with another person. Cases such as indecent exposure of the genitals hold a penalty of up to 5 years in prison as well as a hefty fine. Different punishments are depending on the age of the victim.
A felony, under US law, is the most serious of crimes and holds the most severe punishments. Most sex crimes are considered felonies; felonies are then broken down into classes. Class A felony is the worse kind and includes violence, the use of a weapon, a sex act with a child, forcible rape, and various other classifications.
Each state in the US has slightly different laws regarding sex crimes, but one thing they share is that if an offender is found guilty, they face a permanent loss of freedom. Sentences for sex offenses can range from 1 year to even a lifetime in prison, depending on each particular set of circumstances. Many prisoners are also required to go through a course of treatment if they get probation.
When someone commits a sex crime, the information is automatically entered into the public sex offenders register. Some remain for a specified period of time, and others stay on it for life, depending on the severity of the act.
If you or someone you know is a victim of rape or a sexual offense, there is a process to follow to ensure the perpetrator is caught and you get the help you need. The first thing you must remember is that you are in no way at fault for the person’s actions that hurt you. If you did not consent to the actions against you, whether you could voice it or not, you have been a victim of crime. An involuntary sex offense is a criminal act and is against the law. The police are there to catch criminals and protect the public from dangerous individuals.
Being a victim of this awful crime is degrading, and everyone reacts in different ways. You must contact someone you trust if you are alone as shock affects people in different ways. No one can force you to contact the police, and you have to deal with the trauma in your way, but it may help the recovery process if you go through the relevant channels to ensure that justice is done. Talking it through with a friend will help you see the benefits of reporting the crime and utilizing the support available for victims of rape.
During the initial inquiry, the police will take as many details as you can remember about the attack. As hard as it is, try not to change your clothes or wash them until you have been to the police station, as it may wash away critical evidence needed to catch the perpetrator.
You will have to answer some uncomfortable questions, but remember this is the first step to catching a criminal and preventing him from hurting anyone else; this may help you process negative feelings in the future and any worry about him repeating the crime.
Whatever choice you make, be sure it’s right for you and always remember that an involuntary sexual offense is a crime against you, and criminals should face the consequences of their evil and unlawful act.