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Sexual Assault Sentencing

Despite the high number of sexual assaults that occur in the United States every year, less than half of those arrested for rape are convicted, and 54 percent of all rape prosecutions end in dismissal or acquittal. An FBI Uniform Crime Report from 1990 estimated up to 10 times more than the number of rapes reported actually occurs. Sexual assault, in legal terms, is any forced sexual contact that includes unwanted touching to actual penetration.

The National Crime Victimization Survey estimated that 500,000 persons were sexually assaulted in the United States between 1992 and 1993, with 28 percent accounting for attempted rapes and over 33 percent being completed sexually traumatizing assaults. Considering that such a small percentage of rapes and sexual assaults are even reported to begin with, the actual number of sexual assault sentencing accounts for just a small percentage of perpetrators.

The prevalence of sexual assault in the United States is the highest among countries that report such statistics. In the past, reporting sexual assault cases was seen as almost taboo and they were talked about a lot less. With high profile sexual assault cases, and some sexual assault sentencing, it has allowed more people to talk about the issue which encourages educating people about what constitutes sexual assault and what they can do for help if they fall victim to it.

A sexual assault victim 18 years of age or older will have varying time limits for reporting it depending on the state they reside in. While it can be extremely difficult to come forward, reporting a case that has the ability to reach sexual assault sentencing can better ensure the perpetrator does not assault other people, or the victim, again. There is support and information about sexual assault available, but the nation must be able to make these resources more readily available so that victims are able to heal and move on with their lives in an enjoyable and healthy manner.

People react differently after a sexual assault, but the effects can be extremely psychologically and emotionally wounding. Unfortunately, some sexual assault victims will experience feelings of powerlessness, embarrassment, guilt, and other feelings that prevent them from coming forward and seeking a sexual assault sentencing. Any form of sexual assault is a crime, and only the perpetrator is guilty of taking something that they have no right to.

Victims should know sexual assault is in no way their fault and that nothing they did or did not do provoked the attack. More often, the sexual offender is somebody the victim knows, and the victim can be confused by what occurred. Eager to put the trauma out of their mind, many sexual assault victims will try to return to normalcy as quickly as possible and will engage in denial, avoidance, and numbing techniques that can only cause further stress and trauma. Healing from sexual assault through dealing with what has happened is important, and victims must realize that whether they reach a sexual assault sentencing or not, support systems and assistance is available.

The conviction rate and sexual assault sentencing is lower than it is for those arrested for murder and all other felonies. The actual victim reports the majority of sexual assault cases, so it is important that victims of the traumatic event feel they can come forward and be offered support and compassion to work through the crisis and heal.

Studies have shown women who have endured sexual assault are more likely to be diagnosed with mental conditions like anxiety, somatic depressive and substance abuse disorder and more likely to suffer suicidal attempts, experience sexual dysfunction and general health problems than people who have not experienced the psychological trauma. Preventing more sexual assault victims means educating the general public about the serious problem and encouraging victims to report the heinous crimes so that more sexual assault sentencing will keep offenders from continuing to commit the crimes.

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