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Sexual Assault and Its Effects Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Mar 13th, 2022

Sexual assault in general can be used to refer to any abusive action against an individual which takes a sexual nature. Sexual assaults cover a broad range of behaviors that include the sexual attempts of, but not including penetration. These actions are considered as sexual assaults when the victim is not willful or capable of consenting to the advances; for the reasons of age, disability, or the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sexual assault may involve real or threatened use of force, coercion, pressure or intimidation. Some of the actions that may be termed to as sexual assault include; intended touching of the victims private parts like the genitals or breasts; voyeurism, subjection to exhibitionism, un-willful subjection to pornography; or the public exposure of privately intended photos without the consent of the victim. However it should further be noted that an act of sexual assault is determined and defined using the laws of the place where the assault takes place; as these laws are greatly reflective of social and cultural models. In the U.S alone; up to three hundred thousand females are raped, one out of every two women that amounts to 3.7 million deal with at a level of unwanted sexual engagements, and an approximated 9% of the 900,000 cases of child mistreatment; sexually abused by adults. From research carried out in the U.S, it was evident that one out of every six women face instances of sexual assault within their lifetime. However due to the high cases of child and prison rape; on average 10% of all rape victims happen to be males (DeLisi & Conis, 2008).

According to the statistics on sexual assault carried out in 1995; 95,000 sexual assaults and intimidations related to sexual assault were carried out against individuals twelve years of age or more. In the year 1998 approximately 62, 045 arrests were made for offenses associated to sexual assault. From the study it was also evident that these assaults often took place between 6 PM in the evenings and midnight hours(DeLisi & Conis, 2008).

From the study it was also evident that most of the assault cases were carried out on urban residents, financially poor individuals and young persons between the ages of sixteen and nineteen years. Under this area it should also be noted that sexual assault by family members is the most common form of child sexual assault; where the offender is a teenage or an adult family member or relative. Another issue which is leading to the increase of this problem is the increased number of divorces that are bringing children not born of the same parents together. Another cause that can be attributed to the increasing instances of sexual assault is the breakdown of the strong familial bonds, and the heightened level of opportunism. Other sources of statistics indicate that 10 % of all teachers at some point have assaulted a child in the name of helping the young learners. Other parties who have been found to assault minors include day-care providers, priests among other religious officials, coaches; and members of the helping career like counselors and doctors (DeLisi & Conis, 2008).

Based on recent research studies and research carried out in the U.S it is evident that; the incidence of sexual crimes that include rape and sexual assault have reduced as seen from the statistics in the ‘federal crime data’, despite the significant increase in the number of other violent offenses. An evidence to these contentions; the justice department in 1997 documented 2.8 cases of sexual assault out of every 1000 individuals; while in 2004 the number decreased to 0.4 out of the same 1000 persons. From the research it is clear that there has been a significant decrease in the sexual assault offenses over the past ten years (DeLisi & Conis, 2008).

The factors or causes that may be leading to the instance of these crimes are rather varied ranging from society related inconsistencies; to individual’s deficiencies. One of the factors that were found to lead to the offense of sexual assault was the instance of unresolved needs and conflicts in the offenders past. As a result of these unresolved past experiences and the need for acceptance and appreciation, these individuals fall victims of depression which often bursts through assaulting behavior. Another factor that was found to be a cause of the assaulting behavior was the negative events that resulted to feelings of helplessness; most of which take place at the age of sixteen but go unnoticed or are not treated seriously. Most of the offenders, who had carried out sexual assault, consisted of individuals who experienced sexually related trauma or sexual victimization in their childhood years. Other offenders showed that they were going through self-identity and personality problems; where for instance a man feels insecure about his masculinity which leads to poor social interactions, isolation and a sense of inadequacy. Some of the societal deficiencies of not addressing the needs of the socially unstable like the poor and the mentally impaired; further increased the instance of sexual assault as these individuals deviate their anger and frustration on their victims with the view of retaliating to the society. Other likely causes of sexual assault include physiological and neurophysiology related factors like the unstable chemical imbalance of hormones in the offenders’ body, brain related abnormalities and intellectual traumas related to past experiences. Another possible cause for the sexually assaulting behavior of these offenders is the high drug and alcohol intake associated with such individuals. Other minor factors that may be leading the sexual assaulting behavior include misunderstanding of the victims intentions; cultural formulations that promote violence against women; and the effect of the media like pornography on the sexual views of the offenders (Reidel & Wayne, 2007).

Some of the prevention strategies that can be used to overcome the current challenge of sexual assault are employing preventive measures and skills in individuals who could be possible targets of the offense. One of the preventive strategies is learning to be assertive where one enforces their rights without necessarily affecting the others; trusting in own instincts when the victim is uncomfortable about a situation or a person; avoiding to be predictable and not being afraid to make a sign in the case they note an attempt for assault. The other preventive strategy to be applied is being alert with the new acquaintances one meets; so as not to be left with strangers alone; not to get drunk among strangers, avoid secluded locations; practice care in welcoming strangers to the house and clearly define sexual limits and intentions. Other strategies to help overcome the problem of sexual assault, is being alert when alone not to be caught in insufficiently lit places or deserted areas. In the case that the victim senses trouble then they should be able to move away from the possible threat, and communicate it to parties who are capable of helping like the police. As a legal strategy to prevent sexual assault; the authorities in place should be able to arrest and offer penal action on sexual offenders which may involve stern measures like chemical castration. There should be a provision for counseling and assistance for the victims and the offender especially where the offense is a first time instance or involves an individual with personality related problems.

Other strategies that can be employed to overcome the problem are offering community education with regard to what to do when a victim is confronted by an assault case; which preventive measures should be applied in varied cases, and the moves to be employed. Sex offenders should be subjected to a ‘sex offenders’ treatment program’; where different corrective approaches are employed depending on the factors underlying the crime (Reidel & Wayne, 2007).

With regard to the effectiveness of the current control measures of the police, courts and the correction systems; the police have not been very effective in offering interviews, arrests and prior data collection after a sexual assault has been committed. This is the case because due to the fright and trauma resulting from the assault; the victim may not be an accurate source of information and therefore the responsiveness of this party should be greatly alert; so as to be able to make the arrest in time and any other necessary formalities. With regard to the courts; it has been found that in such cases a prosecuting attorney may not be willing to carryout the case unless the victim is perceived to be a reliable, believable, strong witness. This is further the case because the police prove skeptical in the provision of the information, as these two parties rather cause the victim to appear like they are deceitful than supporting their case. As a result this case has been found to cause further trauma in the victims, than in helping save the situation. Concerning the corrections system, it is evident from recent studies that due to the misrepresentation of the case, the courts arrive at a wrong decision often driven by the police and the prosecuting attorneys; as well as corruption based on wealth and power practiced within the system. In the cases that the victims are poor; they may also have a difficulty in finding a reliable attorney, who can present their case in an audible manner (Reidel & Wayne, 2007).

Based on the discussion it is evident that often if not always; the victims do not receive a deserved penalty administered against their victimizers. This is the case because the responsiveness of the police is poor, the courts are unfriendly to the non-influential members of society, and the victims have no voice over their victimizers. As recommendations; the victim should be able to report the case the soonest an assault takes place especially before the lapse of 72 hours, attempt to have individuals who can act as witnesses in enforcing their case avail themselves, as well as report to the authorities and push for immediate action. With regard to the attorneys and courts; they should be able to offer friendly hearing despite the social status of the victim or ability to afford a competitive lawyer to present their case. With regard to the community in general, individuals should be made aware of the problem of sexual assault, ways to avoid it and measures to employ in the case it takes place (DeLisi & Conis, 2008).

Reference list

DeLisi, M. & Conis, P. (2008).Violent Offenders: Theory, Research, Public Policy and Practice. Boston: Jones and Barlett Publishers

Reidel, M. & Wayne, W. (2007). Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing

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