Sexual assault is one of the most horrific abuses an individual can face. This is made even truer by the fact that the majority of sexual assault cases were perpetrated by an individual the victim felt comfortable with – someone that they knew. If you’ve been the victim of this crime, you might find yourself unsure as to how you need to proceed and what the legal process might entail. Attorney James H. Bonner, Esquire, can help reassure you and explain the steps to be taken as you move forward with your case and your life. An experienced sexual assault attorney in Pennsylvania, in other words, is an important individual to have on your side when the time comes to uphold your rights in the legal system.
What counts as sexual assault?
In theory, it seems as though sexual assault cases should be fairly straightforward. You might be surprised, however, to see just how many different factors are taken into consideration to ensure that as many victims as possible are able to have their voices heard. The term itself references sexual behavior or contact that occurs without the clear and explicit consent of all parties involved. This can include a variety of situations, including:
- Unwanted Sexual Touching (Fondling)
- Attempted Rape
- Forcing the victim to be party to sexual acts, including oral sex and penetration.
- Actual penetration of the body of the victim.
Note that the above are not listed in any particular order, nor is the list exhaustive. If you think that you have been the victim of sexual assault, a knowledgeable lawyer can help look at your case and discuss how the law might see it.
The Most Common Kinds of Sexual Assault
As mentioned above, there are many different acts that qualify as sexual assault. Some of these are more common than others, however, and it’s important to know at least a bit about them.
Molestation is perhaps the most common form of sexual assault precisely because many victims don’t know that that’s what they’ve experienced. Molestation is defined as unwelcome, irritating, and unwanted sexual advances made toward the victim. Note that this can include words and actions as well as unwanted touching. Along this same vein, child molestation is another common type of sexual assault. When the victim in question is underaged, however, there are a few additional actions that count as molestation, including emotional and verbal abuse, allowing or forcing a child to watch sexually explicit materials, watching the child during private moments, performing or attempting to perform anal, vaginal, or oral penetration, and exposing one’s genitals to a child. Taking pictures of a child that are sexual in nature can also be considered child molestation, although this might well count towards a heavier charge as well.
Coerced sexual contact is another common type of sexual assault. This takes place when the perpetrator uses threats or extreme pressure to create sexual contact, including threats against the victim or their family and loved ones. Forcible penetration, unwanted sexual touching, and sexual harassment are unfortunately common kinds of sexual assault, as is rape, statutory rape, and sexual assault involving drugs of some kind.
The Most Common Kinds of Sexual Assault Injuries
Just as there are different kinds of sexual assault, there are also different kinds of injuries that stem from that assault. These can be both physical and emotional in nature, and include:
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Frequent Headaches/Migraines
- Chronic Pain
- External Genital Injuries
- Internal Genital Injuries
- Cervical Cancer as a Result of Severe Injuries
- Sleep Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Fear of Sexual Intercourse and Intimacy
Remember that these are only a few of the most common injuries encountered as a result of sexual assault – it is not an exhaustive list. It’s important to understand that sexual assault can affect victims in many different ways, including their mental health as well as their physical wellbeing. If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault and are in need of legal services, make sure that you use a proven attorney with experience in sexual assault cases in Pennsylvania to help ensure that your rights are upheld in court and that the perpetrator faces the punishment they deserve.
Moving on with your life can seem like a Herculean task after sexual assault, but an understanding and experienced attorney can help make the process easier. Reach out to attorney James H. Bonner, Esquire, today for more information about your case and how he can help.
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