The 4 differences between rape and sexual abuse

The existence of sexual abuse and assault is unfortunately a reality even to this day. It is not uncommon for us to be able to read the news of a case or read in a newspaper.

When we talk about these phenomena, we often use terms like sexual violence or rape, using them as synonyms, but in reality the two concepts do not necessarily imply the same thing. In this article we will see what they are the main differences between rape and sexual abuse.

    Rape and sexual abuse: conceptualizing

    Rape and sexual abuse these are the two sexual crimes characterized and punished by law, Which can cause their victims serious harm and physical and psychological consequences, temporary or permanent.

    In both cases, they are observed sexual behaviors and aggressive which are carried out without the consent of one of the parties. The psychological effects of experiencing such acts are considerable over time.

    This happens in both cases, be able to generate feelings of helplessness (Victim was assaulted or someone they trusted took advantage of), decreased self-esteem and can even lead to disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, personality changes, mistrust and mistrust towards others, alterations in emotional attachment and sexuality, anxiety or depression, or suicide attempts, among others.

    Although rape can be considered a type of sexual abuse and is often identified as such, there are differences. In fact, the truth is that it is usually not identified as such but rather as a sexual assault. To see the differences more clearly, you must first define each of the terms.

    grated

    It’s understood as rape engaging in forced or intimidating sex or sex, Not giving consent to any of the parties involved or not having the means to consent (for example, having received medication or being in an altered state of consciousness).

    In addition, the concept of rape assumes the existence of a penetrationIt can be vaginal, anal or oral. In the first two it is not necessary for this that the aggressor uses the genitals, being also rape when he penetrates with other parts of the body or even objects.

    Rape usually occurs through violence, being an act of sexual assault in which physical contact occurs. The attacker’s goal can be multiple, not requiring it to be for sexual gratification. In fact, the abuser often seeks to satisfy his need for power independently, using sex as an element of domination of the victim.

    Sexual abuse

    Sexual abuse refers to any act committed by one or more people and involving limitation of sexual freedom of another or others without the latter consenting or not being able / able to consent. As an abuse, it forces the attacking party to use a characteristic, power, or situation that disadvantages its victim. Physical violence is not used (in this case we would face sexual assault), however the abuser uses manipulation, deception, surprise or even coercion to achieve their goals.

    There are many acts that involve sexual abuse: touching, masturbation, harassment, forcing someone to observe the performance of sexual activities or forcing the victim to show her body using a position of superiority are examples. The most prototypical are the keys. some paraphilias like frotism or exhibitionism could be considered as such.

    The fact is also included as sexual abuse performing activities that are forced or against the will of the affected party even if he agreed to have sex voluntarily. For example, stealth would be classified and punished as sexual abuse.

      Main differences between rape and sexual abuse

      Still related, sexual abuse and rape do not imply the same thing, there are key differences between them. Here are a few.

      1. Use of physical violence

      The main difference that distinguishes the two concepts is the presence or absence of physical violence and intimidation, Understand physical violence as actions to prevent the movement of the other person or to cause pain and injury.

      In sexual abuse force or physical violence is not necessarily used to control the abused person (although this may appear in some cases). For example, persuasion or ignorance of what is going on can be used (this is what happens in most cases of child sexual abuse or disability).

      However, in cases of rape, as sexual assault, that is, the use of force, intimidation or the use of substances that put the victim in a vulnerable situation by not being able to consent or refuse or by reducing their state of consciousness.

      2. Existence of forced penetration

      Besides whether or not violence occurs, one of the main characteristics of rape is that it necessarily involves forced or induced carnal penetration or access (whether with body parts or objects). against the will of the attacked party.

      In sexual abuse, but there is no need for penetration. As we have already said, any act which restricts sexual freedom by means other than physical violence is considered as such, and it is not essential for this that there be physical contact between the two subjects or that if it occurs it is carried out with the intention of consummating the sexual act.

      However, it should be remembered that intercourse can be sustained and should be considered abuse if the medium is not violence. but the manipulation or exploitation of superiority, As in the case of rape (in this case it is still considered abuse even if the victim is conscious).

      3. Perception of the facts

      Another clear difference is given by the perception of the facts by the victims. The rape victim is almost always aware of what is happening and has been assaulted the very moment it happens (unless we are talking about a case where substances that alter consciousness were used). Although in many cases they do not do this out of fear or other circumstances, they usually know they have been the victim of a crime and that they should point it out or explain it to someone.

      However, while in many cases of sexual abuse the victim is aware that they have been abused, in many others this may not be the case.

      It is also possible that it was not initially experienced as an unfavorable thing, not knowing what it entails or the seriousness of the facts. This is precisely what happens in some cases of child sexual abuse in which initially, the miner may believe it is a secret game between the aggressor and him, and does not know what really happened until a long time later.

        4. Penalties imposed

        Both types of crime are serious and punishable by law, but we generally find that acts of sexual assault are more punishable than acts of abuse. For example, rape carries penalties ranging from six to twelve years in prison (which can be extended if certain aggravating circumstances occur).

        In sexual abuse the penalty to be applied will vary considerably depending on the type of act performed. In the event of sexual intercourse or any type of penetration, the penalties range from four to ten years.

        Violence through domination and sex

        It should be noted that both rape and sexual abuse can be understood as the result of serious behavioral and social adjustment problems, which links these actions to paraphilia. Abusers are people who express their violent impulses and their search for the domination of others through violence and manipulation.

        However, this does not mean that its causes are neurological: Many times these disorders appear as a result of a deficient socialization process.

        Leave a Comment