Sexual Assault Takes Many Forms

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In recent months, the news headlines have been full of sexual assault and sexual harassment accusations against famous and powerful men. Personalities ranging from Hollywood producers and actors to CEOs, politicians, professional athletes, performing artists and journalists have admitted committing various sexual advances against their victims.

The "Me too" hashtag went viral on social media as women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations on Twitter and other sites. And Time magazine acknowledged the severity and pervasiveness of the problem of sexual violence by recognizing those women who came forward and broke the silence around this issue - "The Silence Breakers" - as their Persons of the Year for 2017.

Sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment - these terms sound similar and are related, but describe very different actions. Here is a quick overview of what these terms mean:

Sexual Assault

Sexual violence can occur anywhere - at a victim's place of employment, residence or public places. Sexual violence can include:

  • Sexual abuse against a child or adult including actual intercourse, but also non-physical and emotional abuse. These acts upon defenseless and frightened victims leave them with extreme physical and emotional trauma. Sexual abuse can occur anywhere including schools where the abuser may be a student or faculty member, or in church-related activities where the abuser is a member of the clergy.
  • Rape is sexual intercourse committed by force or coercion, or where the victim cannot consent because of physical or mental incapacity. Victims may suffer from physical injury as well as emotional distress and can be in fear of their lives.
  • Sexual assault is forced sexual intercourse and other acts of a sexual nature. The behavior occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Rape is a form of sexual assault.
  • Sexual abuse in the workplace can make work no longer a safe place. Although New Jersey employees have the right to work in a safe environment free from superiors' or co-employees' sexual advances, this abuse does occur.

Those who allow a rape or other sexual violence to occur through their own negligence, or who try to cover up the crime, will also be held responsible criminally and civilly.

Sexual assault is a criminal assault of a sexual nature against another person and usually does not have anything to do with employment or work performance.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate - for example, an employee in a workplace or a student in college. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. Submission to this type of conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a condition of employment or advancement.

Sexual harassment is considered to be a form of unlawful discrimination. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits employers from discriminating in any job-related action on the basis of specific protected categories, which include gender and sexual harassment.

We Can Help If You Have Been a Victim of Sexual Assault

If you or a family member has experienced sexual assault of any kind or has been injured in an accident or by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discrimination or family law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get you the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Paul S. Foreman, personal injury attorney in Essex County, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.