An assault of a sexual nature is the intentional harm or injury through penetration or wounding of the genitalia or reproductive organs of the victim without his or her consent. It is a crime against persons and not a crime against honor unlike rape.
As it is a crime against person, it may be committed by or against a male or a female. It may also be committed by the accused using any implement, object including any or all parts of his body which may be inserted through the genitalia of the victim.
A sexual assault is inherently difficult for the prosecution to prove because sexual assault victims are often reluctant to report the assault and much less motivated to testify to the assault in a public venue such as a courtroom. Also, most sexual assaults are committed at times and places where there are few or no witnesses. On the other hand, the identity of the assailant is usually not a difficult point to prove as research evidence shows that most assaults are committed by a person within the family or intimately related to the victim.
An accused usually defends himself against a charge of sexual assault in two ways: one is by raising reasonable doubt as to the lack of intent to wound or penetrate the genitalia of the victim; another way is by raising the issue of consent—that the victim consented to the rough sex which caused the wounding or penetration of the genitalia.
There was a time when a romantic or sexual relationship between the accused and the victim was a defence against a charge for rape. The underlying presumption was that if the accused and the victim have a romantic or sexual relationship, consent to have sex is implied and presumed to be the reason for engaging in the relationship.
In charges of sexual assault, a romantic or sexual relationship between the accused and the victim is not an effective defence.
The new approach to viewing consent is that people who enter into a romantic or sexual relationship do not give absolute consent but only limited or qualified consent. It is limited to mutual pleasure and satisfaction for both parties. Thus, any wounding or forcible penetration of the genitals of the victim cannot be for the mutual pleasure or satisfaction of the parties as it inflicts pain on the victim. Others have challenged this thinking and have taken the defence that pain often brings heightened sexual pleasure.
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Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.