Sexual assault is defined by law as sexualized contact with another person without consent, by force, coercion, threats or manipulation. Any kind of unwanted sexual contact is considered assault, is illegal, and can be physically and mentally harmful. Sexual violence includes rape, attempted rape, incest, child sexual assault, sexual harassment and indecency.
Though sexual assaults are often portrayed or believed to be perpetrated by violent strangers, the majority of this type of assault is committed by someone the victim knows.
It is important to realize that 1 in 4 college age women will have an experience that meets the legal definition of rape or attempted rape at some point during her college career. Though women are assaulted at a greater frequency, men can be victims of sexual assault as well with 1 in 6 men experiencing some form of sexual abuse or assault before the age of 25. Sexual assault is a crime used by one person to control, dominate and humiliate another. Sexual assault is not about lust or uncontrollable passion -- it is about power over another person and the opportunity to commit a violent crime. IT IS ALWAYS THE PERPETRATOR, NOT THE VICTIM, WHO IS AT FAULT.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR VICTIM'S/SURVIVOR'S OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Under Senate Bill 107 (SB 107), victim's/survivor's of sexual assault are entitled to a forensic medical exam free of charge. Commonly referred to as a rape or sexual assault kit, the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam has many benefits including the possible collection of suspect DNA and evidence of both external and internal injuries. SB 107 was recently amended and reads as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 13823.95 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
13823.95. (a) No costs incurred by a qualified health care professional,hospital, or other emergency medical facility for the medical evidentiary examination portion of the examination of the victim of a sexual assault, as described in the protocol developed pursuant to Section 13823.5, when the examination is performed pursuant to Sections 13823.5 and 13823.7, shall be charged directly or indirectly to the victim of the assault.
(b) Any victim of a sexual assault who seeks a medical evidentiary examination, as that term is used in Section 13823.93, shall be provided with a medical evidentiary examination. No victim of a sexual assault shall be required to participate or to agree to participate in the criminal justice system, either prior to the examination or at any other time.
(c) The cost of a medical evidentiary examination performed by a qualified health care professional, hospital, or other emergency medical facility for a victim of a sexual assault shall be treated as a local cost and charged to the local law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the alleged offense was committed; provided, however, that the local law enforcement agency may seek reimbursement, as provided in subdivision (d), for the cost of conducting the medical evidentiary examination portion of a medical examination of a sexual assault victim who does not participate in the criminal justice system.
(d) The amount that may be charged by a qualified health care professional, hospital, or other emergency medical facility to perform the medical evidentiary examination portion of a medical examination of a victim of a sexual assault shall not exceed three hundred dollars ($300). The Office of Emergency Services shall use the discretionary funds from federal grants awarded to the agency pursuant to the federal Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 and the federal Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 through the federal Office of Violence Against Women, specifically, the STOP (Services,Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, to cover the cost of the medical evidentiary examination portion of a medical examination of a sexual assault victim.