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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > Why is sex special in assault cases?
Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68559] Wed, 23 July 2014 06:57 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I have deliberately chosen to start a new topic because I do not want to dilute the thread about sexual abuse.

Sex seems to be classified as special when it comes to the crime of assault. I have long failed to understand this, though, if pregnancy is the result I do see how rape can have a much more lingering effect than a simple assault.

Why is a blow not a blow, a threat not a threat? Why does the involvement of genitalia turn a 'simple' attack in to a special class of attack?

[Updated on: Thu, 24 July 2014 23:14]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68562 is a reply to message #68559] Fri, 25 July 2014 04:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Smokr is currently offline  Smokr   United States

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Why is race special? Why is it as hate crime if a white kills a black, but not if a black kills a white?
Why is age special? Why is it worse to starve an old person to death than someone who's middle age? The old person is closer to death anyway.
Why is religion special? Why is it worse to kill someone of a different religion from yourself than someone who believes the same as you?
Why is sexual orientation special? Why is it worse when someone kills someone because they're gay than if they just wanted to kill someone and picked a straight person at random?
Why are there laws making guns more critical than any other weapon? Why is it not a simple assault if you shoot someone with a gun? Then it becomes attempted murder instead.
Why is carrying a gun a felony, but a sword not? Islamic nut cases love beheadings. Why isn't carrying a sword a terroristic threat?
Why is it worse to run someone over when you're drunk than when you're sober? It's more likely to happen if you're drunk, so why is it a higher sentence? If you run someone down while you're sober, you should have a much higher penalty, as you must be a far worse driver.

Somewhere, at some time, someone worked the press and got attention and managed to get a politician to jump on their bandwagon and make the above cases more 'tough and strenuous' so that the politician could garner more votes for re-election.



raysstories.com
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68563 is a reply to message #68562] Sat, 26 July 2014 05:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
dgt224 is currently offline  dgt224   United States

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"Smokr wrote on Fri, 25 July 2014 00:08"
Why is race special? Why is it as hate crime if a white kills a black, but not if a black kills a white?
Why is age special? Why is it worse to starve an old person to death than someone who's middle age? The old person is closer to death anyway.
Why is religion special? Why is it worse to kill someone of a different religion from yourself than someone who believes the same as you?
Why is sexual orientation special? Why is it worse when someone kills someone because they're gay than if they just wanted to kill someone and picked a straight person at random?

Actually, it's not a treated as a hate crime unless the prosecution is able to show that the victim was killed because of his race, age, religion, or sexual orientation. And the various protected classes are "special" because there is a history of members of a protected class being abused because of their membership in the class.

In the case of age, it is generally regarded as worse to starve the very young and the very old because they are more dependent on the person committing the offense. I think that applies generally to victims who were dependent on the offender; consider how a nurse (or other care giver) who starves a seriously handicapped person of any age would be treated.

Quote:
Why are there laws making guns more critical than any other weapon? Why is it not a simple assault if you shoot someone with a gun? Then it becomes attempted murder instead.
Why is carrying a gun a felony, but a sword not? Islamic nut cases love beheadings. Why isn't carrying a sword a terroristic threat?

Try stabbing someone with a knife or a sword and then ask that question again. Or toss a hand grenade onto a bus and compare how you are treated to a guy who gets on the bus with a gun and starts shooting. If you stab, shoot, or otherwise deliberately injure with a tool of any sort, you will most likely be charged with assault with a deadly weapon; it won't matter whether or not the weapon was a gun.

Also, carrying a gun is a felony only in some limited jurisdictions. For example, in Pennsylvania it is a felony to carry an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a crime, but only a misdemeanor if no other criminal offense is involved, and there is a long list of exceptions under which it is legal to carry a gun without a license. And carrying a sword is illegal in many places. In Texas, for example, it is illegal to carry a knife with a blade longer than 5.5 inches, a sword, or a spear (among many other illegal weapons); it is a felony to do so where alcohol is sold, otherwise a misdemeanor.

Quote:
Why is it worse to run someone over when you're drunk than when you're sober? It's more likely to happen if you're drunk, so why is it a higher sentence? If you run someone down while you're sober, you should have a much higher penalty, as you must be a far worse driver.

If you hit someone with your car while you are sober, you may have committed just one offense - reckless driving, for example. If you do it while drunk, you have committed at least two offenses - driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. In most cases, as far as I can determine, other offenses are not treated more seriously because the offender was intoxicated, but driving while intoxicated is treated much more seriously if it causes injuries. (And making the penalty lower for the drunk driver is seriously wrong; that sends the message that reckless driving can be partly excused if you were irresponsible enough to drive while drunk.)



And of course none of this addresses the question Timmy posed. For that one I suspect the answer is something along the lines of, "Because we're seriously hung up about sex."
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68566 is a reply to message #68563] Sun, 27 July 2014 03:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Smokr is currently offline  Smokr   United States

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"Quote:"
dgt224 wrote on Sat, 26 July 2014 01:19
Quote:
Quote

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Smokr wrote on Fri, 25 July 2014 00:08Why is race special? Why is it as hate crime if a white kills a black, but not if a black kills a white?
Why is age special? Why is it worse to starve an old person to death than someone who's middle age? The old person is closer to death anyway.
Why is religion special? Why is it worse to kill someone of a different religion from yourself than someone who believes the same as you?
Why is sexual orientation special? Why is it worse when someone kills someone because they're gay than if they just wanted to kill someone and picked a straight person at random?

Actually, it's not a treated as a hate crime unless the prosecution is able to show that the victim was killed because of his race, age, religion, or sexual orientation. And the various protected classes are "special" because there is a history of members of a protected class being abused because of their membership in the class.

The point is, though, there are those categories. The question is why is sex treated a special way in assault cases. Why are those categories also treated special?
Somewhere, at some time, someone worked the press and got attention and managed to get a politician to jump on their bandwagon and make the above cases more 'tough and strenuous' so that the politician could garner more votes for re-election.

In the case of age, it is generally regarded as worse to starve the very young and the very old because they are more dependent on the person committing the offense. I think that applies generally to victims who were dependent on the offender; consider how a nurse (or other care giver) who starves a seriously handicapped person of any age would be treated.

"Quote:"
Why are there laws making guns more critical than any other weapon? Why is it not a simple assault if you shoot someone with a gun? Then it becomes attempted murder instead.
Why is carrying a gun a felony, but a sword not? Islamic nut cases love beheadings. Why isn't carrying a sword a terroristic threat?

Try stabbing someone with a knife or a sword and then ask that question again. Or toss a hand grenade onto a bus and compare how you are treated to a guy who gets on the bus with a gun and starts shooting. If you stab, shoot, or otherwise deliberately injure with a tool of any sort, you will most likely be charged with assault with a deadly weapon; it won't matter whether or not the weapon was a gun.

Yeah, but hand grenades are not generally a weapon, per se, more an incendiary device. Many cases exist where someone used an edged weapon and the charges were not attempted murder. But shoot at someone, and it is.
Try googling 'assault with a knife' then 'assault with a firearm' and see the difference. You can get charged with assault by using a bladed weapon, not so often with attempted murder unless it was clear you were tying to kill, but it is the other way around with a gun. Just shoot at someone at is is, nearly every time.  I never hear anyone calling for 'sword control'.


Also, carrying a gun is a felony only in some limited jurisdictions. For example, in Pennsylvania it is a felony to carry an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a crime, but only a misdemeanor if no other criminal offense is involved, and there is a long list of exceptions under which it is legal to carry a gun without a license. And carrying a sword is illegal in many places. In Texas, for example, it is illegal to carry a knife with a blade longer than 5.5 inches, a sword, or a spear (among many other illegal weapons); it is a felony to do so where alcohol is sold, otherwise a misdemeanor.

And it is almost never a felony to carry a sword, knife, or machete. Even for those whom it is a felony to even touch a firearm, though they were never charged with any crimes involving a firearm. Yet they can carry a deadly sword or machete at will.

"Quote:"
Why is it worse to run someone over when you're drunk than when you're sober? It's more likely to happen if you're drunk, so why is it a higher sentence? If you run someone down while you're sober, you should have a much higher penalty, as you must be a far worse driver.




If you hit someone with your car while you are sober, you may have committed just one offense - reckless driving, for example. If you do it while drunk, you have committed at least two offenses - driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. In most cases, as far as I can determine, other offenses are not treated more seriously because the offender was intoxicated, but driving while intoxicated is treated much more seriously if it causes injuries. (And making the penalty lower for the drunk driver is seriously wrong; that sends the message that reckless driving can be partly excused if you were irresponsible enough to drive while drunk.)

Facetious, no doubt. But my point is held up by drivinglaws.com
If death resulted from a drunk driving accident that you caused, needless to say, you can face prison time.  Depending on the state in which you reside, and whether or not this is your first offense, some states may hand down a manslaughter charge while others will give you a second or third degree murder charge.  In some states, or for a first offense, you might face a reckless endangerment, or vehicular homicide charge. You also face drunk driving or DUI charges as well as the manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter or murder charge. 


And it's not that I condone any of these things. He asked why sex makes a crime more serious.
Somewhere, at some time, someone worked the press and got attention and managed to get a politician to jump on their bandwagon and make the above cases more 'tough and strenuous' so that the politician could garner more votes for re-election.
That's why. And in some cases, I agree with it.
And I agree with your statement, generally we are hung up about sex.



--

[Updated on: Sun, 27 July 2014 03:21]




raysstories.com
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68570 is a reply to message #68559] Mon, 28 July 2014 23:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
GeneM is currently offline  GeneM   United States

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Hi everyone, first time posting but long time lurker here - thought I would put in my two cents:

Sexual assault is treated differently than other crimes because it's a personal violation of the body and of the boundaries between people.

If you steal the stereo out of my car, I can deal with the anger and annoyance by replacing it. It's just a thing. 

But a sexual assault removes agency - my ability to choose whether or not to be sexual with another person. It's one person treating another as if they have no say in what happens, a complete loss of control and power. 

It removes a boundary that ought to be a very bright line - no one has the right to touch my body in a sexual way without my say so.
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68571 is a reply to message #68570] Tue, 29 July 2014 07:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Location: UK, in Devon
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Quote:
GeneM wrote on Tue, 29 July 2014 00:50Hi everyone, first time posting but long time lurker here - thought I would put in my two cents:

Sexual assault is treated differently than other crimes because it's a personal violation of the body and of the boundaries between people.

If you steal the stereo out of my car, I can deal with the anger and annoyance by replacing it. It's just a thing. 

But a sexual assault removes agency - my ability to choose whether or not to be sexual with another person. It's one person treating another as if they have no say in what happens, a complete loss of control and power. 

It removes a boundary that ought to be a very bright line - no one has the right to touch my body in a sexual way without my say so.

--If I hit you, hurt you, those are the crimes with which I am comparing it. Why is the sexual element treatd as special in a physical assault?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68572 is a reply to message #68571] Tue, 29 July 2014 22:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
GeneM is currently offline  GeneM   United States

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Because the nature of a sexual assault is quite different than a physical assault - emotional assault AND physical assault are involved in sexual assault, and the long term impact of the emotional assault is usually much worse than the sexual acts involved in the assault. This is acknowledged in law. 

Here's an article that discusses why this is so in some detail from the perspective of a victim of sexual assault. It states why in better terms than I can - I'm using an iPad here and the post editor here isn't all that friendly to the iPad Smile
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68574 is a reply to message #68572] Wed, 30 July 2014 06:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Quote:
GeneM wrote on Tue, 29 July 2014 23:57Because the nature of a sexual assault is quite different than a physical assault - emotional assault AND physical assault are involved in sexual assault, and the long term impact of the emotional assault is usually much worse than the sexual acts involved in the assault. This is acknowledged in law. 

Here's an article that discusses why this is so in some detail from the perspective of a victim of sexual assault. It states why in better terms than I can - I'm using an iPad here and the post editor here isn't all that friendly to the iPad Smile

I have read the article. I still differ in my opinion. If you assault me in any way I am emotionally very involved. I am angry, fearful, and all the other emotions as well. If you assualt me sexually it seems to me to be little different. You are hurting me or treating me in a way I do not desire, in a way I dislike very much. That it omvolves your genitals or my genitals is just another body part or more being involved.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68576 is a reply to message #68574] Wed, 30 July 2014 09:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
GeneM is currently offline  GeneM   United States

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I can see your point. Being physically assaulted definitely is a violation. 

but if someone were to walk up to me and punch me in the face, causing a split lip and a nosebleed, I'd not only feel humiliated and violated, I'd be really, really angry! I'd want to, and probably would, hit them back. I'd have the agency, the ability to do that. At the same time, I'd also have the choice and free will to NOT do that. In this sense, I have control. And in this sense, recovery from the assault is not as traumatic as it is from a sexual assault.

In sexual assault cases, that control is removed. When someone has you forcibly pinned down and is forcing their genitals into your mouth or anus, you don't have control, and all agency is removed. And no one really believes that it was "that bad" or that it really was a big deal. This has a profound effect on the victim's ability to recover from the assault. 

It's pretty clear to me that you've never been sexually assaulted. I hope you never have to go through it, and I hope that you can extend empathy to people that have been. Physical assault and sexual assault may equate in YOUR mind, but they certainly do not equate in the minds of sexual assault victims. It's useful to keep that in mind when dealing with victims of sexual assault. You don't have to understand it, just acknowledgement is enough.

best of luck! Ima go read stories now.
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68577 is a reply to message #68576] Wed, 30 July 2014 16:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Quote:
GeneM wrote on Wed, 30 July 2014 10:46I can see your point. Being physically assaulted definitely is a violation. 

but if someone were to walk up to me and punch me in the face, causing a split lip and a nosebleed, I'd not only feel humiliated and violated, I'd be really, really angry! I'd want to, and probably would, hit them back. I'd have the agency, the ability to do that. At the same time, I'd also have the choice and free will to NOT do that. In this sense, I have control. And in this sense, recovery from the assault is not as traumatic as it is from a sexual assault.

In sexual assault cases, that control is removed. When someone has you forcibly pinned down and is forcing their genitals into your mouth or anus, you don't have control, and all agency is removed. And no one really believes that it was "that bad" or that it really was a big deal. This has a profound effect on the victim's ability to recover from the assault. 

It's pretty clear to me that you've never been sexually assaulted. I hope you never have to go through it, and I hope that you can extend empathy to people that have been. Physical assault and sexual assault may equate in YOUR mind, but they certainly do not equate in the minds of sexual assault victims. It's useful to keep that in mind when dealing with victims of sexual assault. You don't have to understand it, just acknowledgement is enough.

best of luck! Ima go read stories now.

--
It should neither be clear not not clear that I have or have not been sexually assaulted. nor shoudl it be relevant

So, if I pin you down and bludgeon your body without involving your or my genitals that is different from holding you down and paying attention to your genitals? How are the two genuinely different?




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68578 is a reply to message #68577] Wed, 30 July 2014 19:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
GeneM is currently offline  GeneM   United States

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I've been really, really clear about what's different about a sexual assault vs a purely physical one.

you don't want to hear it, you have an opinion that's not open to change.

close my account.
Re: Why is sex special in assault cases?  [message #68579 is a reply to message #68578] Wed, 30 July 2014 20:07 Go to previous message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Quote:
GeneM wrote on Wed, 30 July 2014 20:45I've been really, really clear about what's different about a sexual assault vs a purely physical one.

you don't want to hear it, you have an opinion that's not open to change.

close my account.

--
You compared a punch giving you a nosebleed with a rape. While both hurt they are not even slightly similar. I suggested two much more similar attacks and you cry 'foul!', which is really rather unfair. I don't necessarily even argue my opinions. Please don't accuse me of things that are not so.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
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