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Sexual Assault: Definition and Prevention


Sexual offenders are thought to be one of the most dangerous types of people in the modern laws and society. The type of offense is much different from all others and is judged within certain the criteria. A sexual assault is one of the most violating crimes that can be done to all kinds of people. It is important to know the definition of the crime, as to be able to differentiate from other types, understand the social and cultural effects and reasons, as well as individual differences between criminals. But most importantly, people must be aware of the prevention techniques, so that the number of sexual assaults is decreased to the minimum and eventually stopped altogether.

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The definition of rape, or formally sexual assault, is based on any unwanted sexual offence where a person is touched, kissed or fully taken advantage off with sexual intercourse. This sort of crime can be done to both men and women, but also children and elderly individuals. One of the most important factors in a sexual assault is that it is not consented to. The level of consent can range from a simple “no” to a person physically defending their dignity. In some cases, the person is taken advantage of and lured into a situation they cannot control. It might take place in a remote location where a person will not be helped by others, or it could be done with the least amount of resistance where a person is purposefully or accidentally intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. In some instances, a perpetrator can take advantage of someone in a forceful manner, in a dark alley, on a street or at the victim’s house. Here, there is no involvement of intoxication on the side of the victim and consent is not given right away. On the contrary, a person resists, and in some cases, can be severely hurt by the criminal. If a criminal meets their victim in a social setting, there is a deliberate act of offering alcohol or drugs, so that the person looses their understanding of the environment or has little force to resists the offender. Sometimes, a person is offered a drink or someone slips a drug into the victim’s drink unnoticeably, so the person gets completely incapacitated and cannot resist (Horvath, 2013).

The social and personal factors play into the offence of sexual assault in a great manner. Socially, sexual offences are different in nature, thus a unique approach is required. There is somewhat of a connection between social and personal factors, as the person might get socially and culturally isolated. This might happen due to a personal characteristic, but the person feels as if the society has “turned away” from them and they must do something to redeem themselves. The culture might predispose a person to violent and sexual behavior through portrayals of gender roles, or through violent media. In the end, personal factors are of much greater importance. These are based on the developmental factors in the theory relating to child sexual abuse. One of the key factors to consider is the development of the offender and what vulnerable sides they had during the formation of their character and attitude. In many instances, individuals who exhibit such behavior have themselves been victims of similar circumstances. The attachments that the individual has and the ability to cope with the environment, play a role in how a person will perceive the world outside their unique and skewed point of view. Often, problems relating to parenting and low quality of attachment, as well as inability to trust and disclose feelings at a needed time, will lead to a person becoming conserved in themselves. The transition from a younger age into adulthood is a sensitive time when an individual develops “scripts”. In case there is a lack in social skills and management of the environment, a person becomes closed in and creates own criteria for proper behavior in a society. Attachments with others and socialization are poor, and the individual has to resort to forcefully abusing others (Andrasik, 2005).

In order for people to prevent sexual assaults from happening, they must be educated which will lead to awareness and prediction of situations. In schools, colleges and universities, there are sessions where students are given different situations that might make a person vulnerable. People are taught to have a reliable friend who will notice the unusual and forceful behavior, minimizing the time alone, such as when returning home at a late time or any other time of the day. Not taking drinks from strangers and not getting heavily intoxicated by alcohol are just a few of the ways to prevent a sexual assault. In a lot of cases, people are recommended to take some self defense classes, as to know what to do in a stressful situation. Also, there are ways to recognize that a person is a sexual offender, thus minimizing the victim’s risk to be taken advantage of (Kaminker, 2000).


Overall, it is clear that sexual assault is not wanted by anyone and thus, there are numerous ways to predict and prevent such occurrences. The offenders are dangerous people, as they have an inadequate reasoning which often leads to immoral and indifferent behavior.


Andrasik, F. (2005). Comprehensive Handbook of Personality and Psychopathology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Horvath, M. (2013). Rape: Challenging Contemporary Thinking. Portland, OR: Routledge.

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Kaminker, L. (2000). Everything You Need to Know about Dealing with Sexual Assault. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.

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