Crimes of sexual violence have received enormous attention over the last decade. Powerful new movements like #metoo and #timesup have shone a spotlight on a culture of misogyny, harassment and sexual abuse in the upper ranks of American business and entertainment.
In Canada, critics of the justice system have capitalized on the momentum created by these movements to call for a reform in the way sex crimes are investigated and prosecuted. With good reason, they have demanded that victims of sexual violence be taken seriously by the police, and that the courts do more to ensure that those complaining of sexual violence are treated with fairness and respect.
By the definition in the Canadian Criminal Code then, what would be defined as rape in other countries (and what used to be defined as rape in Canada) could fall under the Criminal Code’s sexual assault level 1, sexual assault level 2, or sexual assault level 3, depending on the severity of the assault. As stated in Johnson (2012),
A man who commits forced penetration, formerly legally known as rape, can be charged and prosecuted under any of these sections, including 271 if it is determined that the attack did not involve a weapon, bodily harm, or multiple assailants.
271 Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of
Some laws focus on age. These laws were not created to stop teenagersfrom sexual activity, but to protect them from being taken advantage of by someone older or with more power. “Consent” is when you agree to a sexual activity with someone else.
However, there are certain situations when someone cannot legally give consent:
• Anyone who is 12 or 13 cannot legally consent to sexual activity with someone who is more than 2 years older.
• Anyone who is 14 or 15 cannot legally consent to sexual activity with someone who is more than 5 years older.
• Anyone who is 17 and younger cannot consent to someone who is in a position of trust or authority (coach, teacher)
• Consent cannot be given if the person is pressured into sexual activity with violence, weapons, or threats.
• If someone is drunk or high, they cannot give legal consent. For example, if someone passes out due to drinking it is illegal to have sex with them. This is an extreme example of being too impaired
Acquaintance rape occurs when someone you know or trust forces you to have sexual intercourse. The rapist can be a friend, family member, neighbor, or a co-worker. Acquaintance rape can happen on a first date, at a party or when you have been going out for a long time. It can happen in any relationship, including:
Acquaintance rape is the most common type of sexual assault. Over 80 % of rapes are acquaintance rapes and more than 50 % of them happen on dates.
Partner rape, also known as spousal rape or marital rape, is a type of rape involving a person’s partner or previous partner (no matter whether the partners are married). There are three types of partner rape:
Stranger rape is defined as non-consensual, or forced sex, on a woman who does not know her attacker. The definition of stranger rape is more readily accepted than acquaintance rape. The lack of acceptance that acquaintance rape receives does not limit the shame attached to rape or the trauma felt by the survivor. Ironically, stranger rape is seen as “real rape.” The image of the psychotic stranger attacking the woman is real and does occur. However, the frequency of psychotic stranger rape is considerably less.
Group rape (also known as “gang” or “pack” rape) occurs when a group of people participate in the rape of a single victim. 10% to 20% involve more than one attacker. It is far more damaging to the victim, and in some jurisdictions, is punished more severely than rape by a single person. The term “gang bang” was a synonym for gang rape when public discussion of sexual activity in general was taboo; in the advent of the pornography industry and relaxed sexual tensions, that term is now often used as a slang term for consensual group sex.
Facing allegations of sex crimes could be an overwhelming experience. A conviction will not only take away your freedom but also ruin your reputation and affect your social life. If you are facing this charge, it is crucial to immediately contact a criminal lawyer, and our Criminal Lawyers are ready for your call. We will help you understand the law surrounding your case and represent you in court to help lessen or completely dismiss your charges if possible.
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