Sunday, October 16, 2016

I am a victim of sexual assault.

I'm a victim of sexual assault.
So let's talk about sexual assault.
I know, it's an unpleasant topic. But it has come to my attention that some people who are talking about it have no idea what it is.
I'm going to post several pieces in a thread, here, and I will collect them on my long-neglected blog,

So, what is sexual assault? Well, it's a nebulous term, and doesn't always have a definite legal meaning. In New York law, for instance, it doesn't exist.
There are several crimes in New York that are in the ballpark of what we usually think about as sexual assault, but there is no "sexual assault" crime in the New York statutes.
Similar crimes in New York include Rape, Forcible Touching, Criminal Sexual Act, and Sexual Abuse.
But in Texas, Sexual Assault is an actual crime. But what Texas calls Sexual Assault is very broad, and includes many of the New York crimes.

Here is the Texas Sexual Assault statute (in part):
Texas Penal Code ยง22.011
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) intentionally or knowingly:
(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person's consent;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person's consent; or
(C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor
[There is more, about children and authority figures, but you get the drift.]
This sounds a lot like the New York rape statute.
But in Texas, there is no "rape" statute. In New York, there is no "sexual assault" statute.
So, is sexual assault the same as rape? Well, yes and no.
Earlier, I mentioned that I was a victim of sexual assault.
Let's spell out exactly what that means.
A female supervisor, with whom I had no relationship outside of work, walked up to me in a crowded workplace,and firmly grabbed my scrotum and penis with her hand, and leaned over and said to me "how do you like that?"
I was speechless. As those of you who know me well can attest, this is a rare condition for me.
I backed up, separated myself from her physically, and went on with my work. This was accomplished with some difficulty, as she had approached me behind a counter with little room to maneuver.
As soon as conditions at work allowed, I discussed this with several of my coworkers, one at a time and in small groups.
They expressed various degrees of surprise, amusement and dismay. I discussed the possibility of a formal complaint, but my co-workers and I agreed that, though the act clearly met the textbook definition of sexual harassment, it was so minor as to be not worth pursuing.
A few days later, I spoke to her directly and told her that I was not interested in her attention, and expressed surprise at her direct physical approach. She laughed it off, and we continued to work together for some time afterwards.
There was never a problem again.
So -- was I sexually assaulted?
Well, yes and no.
There was clearly unwanted and uninvited sexual contact.
That's enough to qualify as assault in Texas and every other state that I am aware of.
Though I was surprised, I wasn't hurt.
And it isn't "sexual assault" under Texas law because there was no penetration.

Was it a big deal?

Well, it was a big enough deal that I remember it. It was a big enough deal that I discussed it with co-workers and friends at the time. It was not a big enough deal for me to report it to anyone, including the manager above her.

It was a big enough deal that I remember her first name and what she looked like. I remember the physical surroundings and the sensation. But it wasn't a big enough deal for me to remember her last name.

And for the record -- she and I never had any kind of physical relationship of any kind, or, to the best of my recollection, any banter that was remotely sexual.

I think she misinterpreted my friendly demeanor and acted inappropriately. Humans -- especially young humans full of hormones -- make mistakes.

And that -- is the end of the story.


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