Was I Sexually Assaulted?

Sexual assault affects millions of men and women around the world. Estimates state at least one in three women and one in six men will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes. Sexual assault can occur at home, church, school and the workplace. If you have lived through sexual assault or sexual violence, you have options. Coming forward with assistance from people who can protect you, such as an Orange County sexual assault attorney, could lead to justice and compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages from the perpetrator.

Types of Sexual Assault

Knowing whether your experience fulfills the legal definition of sexual assault can help you find the right resources to assist you with the next steps. California combines the definitions of sexual assault with sexual battery in Penal Code 243.4. This statute defines sexual battery as the touching of the intimate parts of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained, institutionalized for medical treatment, unconscious, seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, without that person’s consent. Intimate parts are the sex organ, groin, buttocks and anus, as well as the breast of a female.

  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Fondling or touching without consent
  • Forced sexual acts
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Spousal rape
  • Sodomy or forcible acts of penetration
  • Oral copulation
  • Sexual battery
  • Child sexual assault
  • Statutory rape

Any unwanted touching against the will of the victim for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse is sexual assault. Sexual assault and battery are misdemeanor to felony crimes, punishable with time in prison, fines, the Sexual Offender Registry and other penalties. If you believe you are a survivor of any type of sexual assault or battery in California, you have rights.

Did Someone Sexually Assault You?

Common questions asked when trying to determine whether an incident qualifies as sexual assault include, “What if I did not physically resist?,” “What if we were in a relationship?,” “What if I do not remember the assault?” and “What if I never said no?” Even if these apply to your situation, you could still be the victim of sexual assault.

Someone could be guilty of sexual assault if you were in a relationship or you did not verbally or physically resist. If you did not give your consent, the sexual act against you or involving you could constitute sexual assault. Sexual assault does not only refer to rape. Any sexual touching without your consent could give you grounds to file a charge against the offender. No matter the circumstances, speak to authorities or an attorney to find out if what happened to you fulfills the definition of sexual assault in California.

What to Do If You Think Someone Sexually Assaulted You

Act quickly to protect your rights as a sexual assault survivor. If you believe you have experienced sexual assault, call 911 and report the crime. Even if the perpetrator is someone you know, such as an employer, report the incident to the authorities to get an official record of events. Acting quickly could help you preserve evidence that could indict the offender, such as eyewitness testimony or physical evidence. If sexual assault occurred at work, you should also notify your employer. Go to a hospital as soon as you can if you survived rape or physical assault.

If you wish to speak to someone confidentially who can help you heal, move forward and/or take action, confide in a resource such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-(800)-656-4673. Cooperate with the police during an investigation to help bring the perpetrator to justice. Then, contact an attorney for counsel about how to bring a sexual assault claim. A sexual assault lawyer can assist you with the claims process while keeping your identity anonymous, if desired. A civil lawsuit could lead to compensation for your related losses. You can file a civil claim during an ongoing criminal case or investigation in California, if need be. Contact a lawyer today for help.