Monday, January 01, 2001

Definition of Terms relating to Sexual Victimization

Definition of Terms relating to Sexual Victimization

Sexual Assault/Rape - often referred to as rape, is legally defined differently in each state. In New Jersey, the law defines sexual assault as "the penetration, no matter how slight, in which physical force or coercion is used or in which the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated." Penetration is defined as "vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or the insertion of a hand, finger or other object into the anus or vagina by either the actor or upon the actor's instruction" (NJSA 2C:14-1). In most states the law, which is gender neutral, does not specify male or female, but uses the words "actor" and "victim" to describe the persons involved.

Childhood Sexual Abuse and Incest (Incest Survivors Annoymous) 
A betrayal of trust in overt and covert sexual contact or act which possibly includes: touching or non-touching, verbal seduction or abuse, anal or vaginal intercourse, oral sex, sodomy, manual stimulation, direct threats, implied threats, or other forms of abuse between people who are related genetically, by marriage (step-parents to step children), by living arrangements, or in whom a child perceives a trusting relationship, i.e., mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, stepparents, step-siblings, half-siblings, live-in or sleep-over lovers, brothers, sisters, foster parents, adoptive parents, neighbors, family friends, baby sitters, anyone either known or a stranger with a power advantage of any kind over the child, or professionals such as teacher, extracurricular activities instructor, coach, professor, school principal, nurse, doctor, orderly, dentist, technician, therapist, social worker, minister, priest, nun, shopkeeper, landlord, scout leader, laborer, janitor, office worker, pilot, U.S. military personnel, lawyer, judge, police officer, mail carrier, politician, banker, corporate executive, or anyone whose employment or social standing puts them in a position of power over a child.  This also includes any adult in a position of power who betrays the trust of a trusting adult.
When this trust between a child and an older child, sibling, parent-figure or adult is violated, that act becomes incestuous. We put full responsibility on the initiator for whatever took place.  The child's age may range from conception, newborn, preschool, school age, teenager and older.  
Criminal sexual contact - is legally defined as "intentional, non-consensual touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of a victim's or actor's sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin buttock or breast, for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor,"
Sexual Harrassment - is not included in the legal definition of sexual assault, but sexual assault can be a part of sexual harassment.Within employment or school settings, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under the Federal law.Title VII defines sexual harassment as "unwelcome" sexual conduct that is a term or condition of employment (29 C.F.R. 1604. 11a).
Peer sexual harassment - occurs in a variety of forms that may include sexual assault or criminal sexual contact.Other forms of this type of harassment include sexual comments, noises or gestures that threaten, scare, or make the victim uncomfortable.The behavior of the perpetrator would determine what crime was committed.
Date Rape and Relationship Violence
Maritial Rape - Legal definition varies within the United States, marital rape can be defined as any unwanted intercourse or penetration (vaginal, anal, or oral) obtained by force, threat of force, or when the wife is unable to consent. Rape in marriage is an extremely prevalent form of sexual violence, particularly when women who are involved in physically abusive relationships may be especially vulnerable to rape by their partners.
Domestic Violence - This is NOT the exactly the focus of The Awareness Center. Domestic Violence usually refers to spousal abuse. In some cases there is marital rape and incest (which is a part of the focus of The Awareness Center). 
Child Maltreatment - Child maltreatment is the general term used to describe all forms of child abuse and neglect. There is no one commonly accepted definition of "child abuse and neglect."
The federal government defines child abuse and neglect in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act as "the physical and mental injury, sexual abuse, negligent treatment, or maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a person who is responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances which indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened. Each state provides its own definition of child abuse and neglect. Child maltreatment encompasses physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse, which can be defined as follows:
  • Physical Abuse - Non-accidental physical injury as a result of caretaker acts. Physical abuse frequently includes shaking, slapping, punching, beating, kicking, biting and burning.

  • Sexual Abuse - Involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children and adolescents in sexual activities which they do not fully comprehend and to which they are unable to give informed consent. Sexual abuse includes touching, fondling and penetration.

  • Neglect - Failure of caretakers to provide for a child's fundamental needs. Although neglect can include children's necessary emotional needs, neglect typically concerns adequate food, housing, clothing, medical care and education.

  • Emotional / Psychological Abuse - The habitual verbal harassment of a child by disparagement, criticism, threat and ridicule.  Emotional or psychological abuse includes behavior that threatens or intimidates a child. It includes threats, name calling, belittling and shaming.

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