Sexual Assault & Abuse Attorneys Serving Durham, NC
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Types of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse refers to the different types of abusive sexual behavior committed by one person to another. It can happen to people of any gender or age and doesn’t always involve violence or physical contact. Sexual abuse is by definition nonconsensual and unsolicited, taking many forms under North Carolina law, including:
- Rape and Statutory Rape – At a federal level, rape is a nonconsensual, penetrative sex act no matter how slight. In North Carolina, this includes when the victim is unable to give consent due to intoxication, mental incapacity, or other factors. Statutory rape is when an adult age 18 or older engages in sexual intercourse with a minor — in North Carolina, that’s anyone under the age of 16 — whether or not consent is given.
- Sexual Assault – According to the United States Department of Justice, “the term ‘sexual assault’ means any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.” This may also include the threat with or use of a deadly weapon or force upon another person in order to engage in sexual activity.
- Sexual Harassment – This refers to unwelcome or uninvited sexual advancements, requests, comments, indecent exposures, messages, and other types of sexually suggestive or explicit behaviors directed at an individual or group. Sexual harassment may or may not include physical touch, depending on the situation, and can take place in public, in the workplace, at home, in a learning environment, in spaces where individuals may abuse their position of authority (including online), and in a variety of other circumstances.
- Sexual Battery – Sexual battery is when a person engages in unwanted sexual contact with another person’s body, by force or through manipulation (as in the case when the victim is incapacitated, mentally disabled, or physically helpless). The primary difference between rape and sexual battery is that the latter doesn’t involve penetration or sexual intercourse.
- Inappropriate Touching, Fondling, or Groping – Sexual abuse includes unwanted, inappropriate touching, groping, slapping, rubbing, fondling, and other forms of sexual contact. The seriousness of this should not be overlooked, as if left unaddressed, perpetrators may progress to more invasive and violent types of sexual aggression and assault.
Keep in mind that laws defining sexual abuse in the United States can differ from state to state. In today’s world, sexual abuse may also occur online, over the phone, and through any type of screen in varying degrees of severity. If you’re seeking legal representation as a victim of sexual abuse, consider reaching out to our lawyers serving Durham for sexual assault for guidance.
Resources in Durham and North Carolina for Survivors
Coming forward and telling someone about sexual assault is a difficult but necessary step to receiving help and preventing the perpetrator from causing future harm. Because of the sensitive, personal nature of sexual assault, the sexual harassment lawyers and sexual abuse attorneys at Edwards Kirby believe in providing survivors with as many resources as possible to assist in the process of healing and seeking justice. Below is a list of resources in Durham and North Carolina for victims of sexual abuse.
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Call 919-780-5400 or fill out our online form to request a free consultation. You won’t pay unless we win!