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Sexual assault is committed when a person has sexual intercourse with another person without his or her consent. 

Sexual assault has replaced the crime of ‘rape’ in the law books as rape can only be committed by a man against a woman. Rape was a crime committed only against a woman’s chastity; it was a crime that violated her chastity and not her sexual autonomy. Sexual autonomy is the freedom of an adult male or female to choose when and with whom to engage in sexual intercourse.
 
Under the old concept of rape, the intent of the accused was to have sexual intercourse with the woman even without her consent. Under the new crime of sexual assault, the intent of the accused is to deprive the victim of his or her sexual autonomy. 
 
This newer crime of sexual assault recognizes that the underlying issue is not lust (as was in the crime of rape) but the power to decide with whom a person has sexual intercourse with. Under the crime of sexual assault, the law recognizes that a forced sexual intercourse humiliates, intimidates and renders the victim powerless.
 
The newer law of sexual assault comprehends any violation of a person’s genitalia, anus or any orifice by inserting the penis, fingers, toes or any other body part, object or instrument. Thus, this law may be committed by a man against a woman or another man; or it may be committed by a woman against another woman or against a man. The newer law has kept abreast with the new sexual mores of these modern times.
 
Under the law of sexual assault, cunnilingus or using the tongue to penetrate the vagina or anus is considered as comprehended under the tern ‘sexual intercourse’. Fellatio or oral sex as when the penis is inserted into another person’s mouth is also considered ‘sexual Intercourse’. 
Committing these acts on another person without their free agreement is considered sexual assault.
 
Any injury, force, intimidation, threat, detention, fraud or deceit, accompanying the sexual intercourse negates free consent or agreement. When these elements are present, there need not be presentation of proof that the person who was sexually assaulted did not consent. There is a presumption that when these elements are present, consent is vitiated.
 
Reference:
Heath, M. (2005). ‘The law and sexual offenses against adults in Australia’ ,

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.

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