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Sexual assault is defined as a non-consensual sexual act. One of the most common forms of sexual violence, sexual assault includes forceful anal penetration, vaginal penetration, oral penetration, forced kissing, sexual torture, groping, or any other form of intimacy without the explicit consent of the other party. Sexual assault is a legal offense in most countries. In fact, it is punishable by law. The exact sentence depends on various factors such as penetrative or non-penetrative sexual consent. Unlike rape, sexual assault primarily includes forced sexual fondling and touching.
According to 'The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’ sexual assault is categorized as a form of sexual abuse that falls short of attempted rape. While women are more commonly victims of sexual assault, there are records of boys and men being subjected to undesired intimate touching or fondling. It is important to note that sexual assault can occur even if the victim is fully clothed.
Sexual assault can also target children. In some cases, the assailant is closely related to the victim. In children, sexual assault is nearly always followed by post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, re-victimization, anxiety, and other forms of psychological trauma.
In both adults and underage victims, sexual assault also trigger reactions such as a deep sensation of denial followed by helplessness, self-blame, anger, anxiety, aversion to sex, nightmares, loss of concentration, loss of sleep, shame, and a sudden emergence of phobias.
In an attempt to minimize the percentage of sexual assault, harassment, and rape, several education programs have been set forth by workplaces, colleges, fraternities, and sororities as well as secondary schools.