The number of reported sexual assault incidents is still on the rise despite the efforts and stringent measures to combat it. The explicit words and gestures continue to cause a long-term impact on the well-being of the victims. Meanwhile, offenders still lurk around like an apex predator waiting for the perfect time to grab its potential meal. Regardless of age, gender, and race, anyone can become a victim. Unfortunately, many people remain complacent and do not take it as a serious matter. It makes the numerous campaigns and guidelines futile. Gender and racial discrimination did not help to alleviate the current situation. The apathy, comical remarks, and overt prejudices against some victims continue to rub salt into their wounds. Hence, it remains a pressing issue as more cases in different parts of the world go unreported.
Sexual assault does not always involve violence. It does not always result in physical injuries and visible marks. The distress, humiliation, emotional harm, psychological trauma, and other damages remain invisible. It always leaves invisible scars that many victims have to deal with for an extended period. That’s the very reason why the term assault fits its definition. Moreso, the incidents should be treated as seriously as those of violent attacks.
According to US statistics, those between ages 12-34 comprise the majority of sexual assault cases. About 20% of men and women have already experienced aggravated sexual assault. The LGBTQ+ community was not spared. More than 20% of transgenders, queers, and nonconforming were also subject to harassment and assaults. If unreported cases were considered, estimated figures would be higher. What is even more alarming is that more than 50% of cases came from acquaintances. Regardless of the circumstances, sexual assault can happen to anyone anytime and anywhere.
However, the story does not end there. Even after the victims get the justice they deserve, the toll of their traumatic experiences may haunt them for the rest of their lives. More studies suggest that many victims deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many of which experience more work and school problems. Some resort to marijuana and drug addiction. Others contemplate and attempt suicide. Indeed, the cost of sexual assault is too high. Victims have to pay for something they never wanted in the first place.
Sexual assault remains a big issue in Miami as incidents remain on the rise. Even at the height of the pandemic, incidents did not falter. What alarms the state more is that a growing number of incidents involve children. These are often committed by someone familiar, like a relative or neighbor.
To further educate the citizens, Florida regularly releases some guidelines. Its statute considers penetration by any foreign objects. In most cases, sexual assault arises when an offender coerces a person into an unwanted sexual act. Touching sensitive areas is a form of sexual assault.
Victims have to face invisible scars inflicted by the offenders. But, the burden of proof still lies on them. That is why the state seems more aggressive in pursuing justice for the victims than in other crimes. But it maintains fairness and thoroughness in investigations since charges for sexual assault are difficult to defend. Hence, the importance of evidence and an experienced sexual assault attorney is high. According to CBS Miami, victims must remember the following after the incident:
Due to public pressure, the penalties have increased over time. Attempted sexual assault is considered a felony.
The most serious punishment an attacker may face is death or life imprisonment and fines up to $15,000. A secondary felony conviction is charged with 15-year imprisonment and fines up to $10,000. If charged as a capital or life felony, life imprisonment and fines up to $15,000 will be applied.
Meanwhile, the sexual battery of a child in Florida has heavier charges. If the defendant is still a minor, but the victim is below 12 years old, a life felony with at least 25-year imprisonment is applicable. A death sentence may be given if the offender is at least 18. If the victim is over 12, 15-year imprisonment may be imposed.
But if the victim was incapacitated physically, mentally, or by drugs and could not resist, 30-year imprisonment may be applied with fines. If the act did not involve physical force, it would be considered a second-degree felony. Assailants may be charged with five-year imprisonment. Aside from age, the court may also consider the severity and the number of independent instances of abuse.
Convicted persons must register as sex offenders, pay applicable fines, fulfill a term of probation or parole, and wear a tracking device. But a different rule applies to dangerous sexual offenders. They will be charged with mandatory 25-year imprisonment. The considerations include serious injury, deadly weapons, number of offenses and victims, and history of conviction due to the same crime. They may face additional charges and a heavier sentence due to his/her prior criminal record.
Even when a person did not commit the crime, he may still be wrongly accused of sexual assault or abuse. According to CBS Miami, victims may experience memory problems and confusion. But a victim may be lying and attempting to cover up his/her act because he/she is ashamed of it. It means that sexual assault did not take place.
In connection to trauma memory problems and confusion, the victim may identify the wrong person. There is a possibility that he/she may not have seen the offender. A neighbor or eyewitness may identify the wrong person due to resemblance with the offender or recognition from another encounter. Sometimes photo arrays and lineups are not reliable evidence.
If the victim is already of the age of consent and does not have disabilities and consented to it, it is not considered sexual assault.
It applies if the victim describes or alleges the act in a way that it would be impossible for the defendant to commit. The investigation considers the physical attributes and the location of the offender.
The accused may use diminished capacity or mental instability at the time of the act as a defense.
There are instances when law enforcement violates the defendant’s rights. With that, the evidence gathered may not be used against the defendant. For example, the defendant’s house was searched and confiscated without a warrant, or his/her rights were not read when required. He may seek the assistance of a sexual assault lawyer.
False accusations of sexual assault are common during divorce child custody cases. Florida law permits victims of domestic violence to secure an order of protection. It is often abused due to its advantages. A parent may force his/her child to testify that the other parent or the other parent’s partner sexually abused him/her. It will help him/her gain sole custody. Bitter separation and bad blood may also be a driver of false accusations.
|Examples of Sexual Assault in Miami
|Unwanted Physical Touching
|It involves hugs, touches, and other gestures that make a victim uncomfortable.
|Forced to Watch Pornography
|It happens when an offender coerces a victim to watch pornography.
|It happens when a person shows his genitals briefly in public.
[Sexual assault is a terrible crime that no one should experience. However, if you are a victim of one, contact Diamond & Diamond Law Miami to get the legal assistance you need! We offer a FREE case evaluation for all our clients.]
“The sooner you get in touch with a sexual assault attorney, the faster you can get the protection you need.”
As recommended by criminal defense attorneys, you may not speak to law enforcement and invoke your right not to speak. A criminal defense attorney may represent the defendant and avoid any incriminating statements. Moreover, you may state your need for an attorney and not speak until he/she arrives.
If you are accused of a crime such as sexual assault or sexual abuse, you should know your rights. You reach out and seek assistance from Diamond & Diamond Law Miami today to get the legal help you need for your sexual assault case. You can call at 1-800-567-HURT to know more about the company and areas of expertise. When you speak to one of our attorneys, they will explain how to win your case and calculate compensation. Plus, we offer a FREE case evaluation!
Generally, there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault, but there are some states that have a 10-year statute of limitations.
Primary victims receive immediate financial assistance of $5,000. Wrongly accused persons can seek assistance from an attorney to calculate daily compensation for pain and suffering.
No, rape is forced penetration with a penis. Sexual assault covers a broad range from explicit behaviors to forced penetration with any body part other than a penis or a foreign object.