Sexual assault in very simple terms can be defined as any form of unwanted sexual contact.
A further definition of sexual assault is an act in which a person intentional forces another person into a sexual act without proper consent,
Sexual assault is a very broad spectrum that goes beyond rape, it exists in several forms with rape just being a part of it.
The varying forms of sexual assault include:
- Child sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Elderly sexual assault
- Verbal Sexual harassment
- Mass sexual abuse etc
Child sexual abuse
There are several ways in which children of less than 18 years can be abused. It is on the high rise and due to the varying forms and they include:
a. indecent exposure of genitals to the child
b. displaying pornography to the child
c. physical contact with a child’s genitals
d. actual sexual contact with a child, etc
There are other forms of child sexual abuse on the rise in our society today. So many of these cases have gone unreported and the abusers still walking free majorly due to intimidation of abused child by threatening to harm him or her if for any reason they are exposed. More often than not, these abusers are either close relatives of the child or a well-known person to the family of the victim
HOW TO PREVENT SEXUAL ASSAULT
This is the main part of the discussion, ways of reducing this societal plague. Enforcing some measures against sexual assault will not only prevent the occurrence of such events but will also go a long way in ensuring this form of crime is totally eradicated from our society at large. Some of these effective measures include:
- Public enlightenment: this has been shown to be a critical tool in changing behavior, attitude, beliefs, and value system of people. There should be intense public enlightenment and education at schools, social clubs, cultural group gatherings, churches, mosques and through the media, to, first of all, demystify the myths about sexual assault.
- Education: Women are more prone to being victims of sexual assault than men. It has been shown that the education of children, especially the girl child, goes a long way in boosting the socio-economic and socio-cultural status of women in society.
- Institutional Framework: Prevention of sexual assault will remain a mirage until society puts in place institutional framework to deal comprehensively with actual cases of sexual assault. Encouraging victims/survivors of sexual assault to break their silence by making freely available such services, which should be community-based, and the successful prosecution of perpetrators, will serve as a deterrent and hopefully prevent the next person from falling victim.
- Pre-assault self-defense/ assertiveness: This is a rather bold attempt to correct the traditional role ideology especially in the more prevalent sexual assault against women, where a societal expectation about sexual assault exists that men will be aggressive, and women will be passive.
- Recognizing vulnerable groups: Sexual abuse of people with mental retardation is widespread with one study finding up to 80% of women with mild mental retardation having experienced sexual abuse, at least once. Every responsible society must pay special attention to the very vulnerable. women (and men) with intellectual disabilities need the education to assist them to resist sexual abuse. In addition, they may also need advocacy to ensure their environment (e.g. living situation, level of support) protects them from abuse as much as possible.
By implementing these few solutions diligently, slowly but surely the issue of Sexual assault crimes will be greatly in our society.
To read more on this topic check out Seclot Safety Series II- how to avoid sexual assault.