Sexual coercion is illegal. Convicted persons could face jail time and additional punishment. Persons who have experienced this duress crime may press charges against their abusers. Prosecutors might then proceed with criminal charges. Affected persons may also file personal injury claims in civil court to recover compensation.
What Is the Legal Definition of Sexual Coercion?
According to the U.S. government’s Office on Women’s Health, coercion involves any unwanted sexual activity. In these instances, the affected person may have felt forced to give consent due to pressure or threat in a nonphysical way. The person may have also been tricked into giving consent, such as through lying or other forms of deception from the abuser.
It is important to remember that you can withdraw consent for any reason and at any time. Additionally, permission given under pressure is not legitimate. It is the nonverbal equivalent of signing a contract under duress.
Consent given under false pretenses is also not legitimate. For example, a person may consent to sex with a condom. Removing the condom without that person’s consent violates the initial agreement. This specific act is known as stealthing; it is illegal in Texas.
Is Sexual Coercion Considered Sexual Assault?
Generally speaking, sexual coercion involves nonphysical actions, such as begging or blackmail, that lead to non-consensual sexual acts. Assault involves more physical or violent activities, such as striking someone or threatening them with a weapon.
The way coercion plays out can also determine the charges brought against the person. It may lead to charges of sexual assault because physical activities may result from forced consent. In other cases, it could become an internet crime, especially if the abuser threatened to publish data online. Employment law may also come into play when these situations happen in the workplace.
What Are Some Examples of Coercion in Texas?
So, what is sexual coercion in Texas? It can take many forms. Some are so subtle that you may not realize the person is being manipulative or abusive. Here are examples:
- Willfully intoxicating you or taking advantage of you after intoxication
- Threatening to break up with you or cheat
- Threatening to reveal sensitive or embarrassing data, such as publishing nude photos
- Becoming moody or aggressive in response to rejection
- Trying to bargain necessities or unrelated activities for intercourse, such as a promotion
- Consistently begging and guilt-tripping for sexual favors
What Are the Characteristics of True Consent?
Sexual encounters often do not have clear lines or agreements. That can make it difficult or uncomfortable to determine where to draw the line. This is what healthy consensual activity looks like:
- Both parties are at or over the age of consent and can legally consent to sexual activity.
- Both parties agree without threats, violence, pressure, or intoxication.
- Both parties give this consent freely and enthusiastically.
- Both parties can change their minds without threats, violence, or intimidation.
- Both parties have received correct information about the actions they agree to participate in, such as using protection.
- The consent given is specific to the activity in question.
What Actions Should Victims of Sexual Assault Take?
If you have experienced sexual coercion, it may take time to come to terms with what happened. Affected persons often feel shame and powerlessness. However, the longer you take to act, the more difficult it could be to provide evidence and make a case.
Seek Medical Attention
Victims of sexual coercion should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A doctor can help diagnose and treat any physical injuries or diseases the incident may have caused. Medical professionals can also take evidence for a legal case, such as DNA samples or results from rape kits.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
Contacting a trusted attorney is also crucial. An experienced Dallas sexual assault lawyer can explain your legal options and help you file charges accordingly. Doing so can also bring closure to the situation and protect others from experiencing a similar fate.
File a Report
The hardest step may involve filing a report against the person who committed the act. Your lawyer can help you file a police report and take other necessary steps. They may also advise you on your rights to damages in civil court.
Seek Professional Help
Seek professional help after experiencing sexual coercion. A therapist or counselor can provide emotional support and guidance in processing what happened. You may request compensation for emotional distress and the cost of therapy in civil court.
How Can a Dallas Sexual Assault Lawyer Help?
Victims of sexual coercion may pursue personal injury compensation. These can include the cost of medical bills, lost wages if the incident caused you to miss work, and compensation for pain and suffering. Victims may also receive punitive damages meant to punish abusers for their actions.
Our lawyers fight hard to help you get all the resources you need to emerge as a survivor and move forward with your life. Contact us to get started with a free consultation.