What Is Sexual Assault?


Survivors of sexual assault have rallied together to bravely share their stories with the public over the past couple of years, and it’s left the world in awe. How did we not realize the prevalence of this problem and how can we prevent this from happening in the future? Grewal Law is here to do its part. In this blog post, we will share the legal definition of criminal sexual assault as well as the definition of the civil claim of battery.

Sexual Assault in Michigan Criminal Law

In The Michigan Penal Code, sexual contact is defined as the,

“intentional touching of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts of the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts, if that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, done for a sexual purpose, or in a sexual manner.”

Furthermore, sexual assault is defined as, “assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct.”

Therefore, sexual assault is when an attacker forces a victim to make sexual contact without the victim’s consent.

4 Degrees of Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct falls under four varying degrees of severity in Michigan law.  These lists are just a few examples of criminal sexual conduct.

1. Some Examples of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

  • Sexual penetration;
  • Victim under 13;
  • Weapon is used;
  • The perpetrator is in a position of authority
  • Victim is incapacitated and injured from assault.

2. Some Examples of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

  • Sexual contact and presenting circumstances from 1st degree of criminal sexual conduct (weapon is used, victim is incapacitated and injured from assault.)

3. Some Examples of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

  • Penetration and one of the following circumstances (victim is 13, 14, or 15; victim is forced or coerced, victim is incapacitated.)

4. Some Examples of Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

  • Sexual contact and one of the following circumstances (victim is forced or coerced, victim is incapacitated.)

Seeking Personal Justice

Criminal law is a vital part of our justice system, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t always give survivors personal justice. In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff (not the prosecutor) has more control over the proceedings, and there is a more favorable burden of proof than in criminal cases. One of the most common claims in civil sexual assault cases is “battery,” which is defined simply as “the willful or intentional touching of a person against that person’s will by another.”

In civil suits, judges or juries can award compensation for economic damages (such as medical or therapy bills) and noneconomic damages (like pain and suffering, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life).  A civil lawsuit can be very empowering for a survivor - a long-overdue opportunity to reclaim control of a situation that has caused them so much harm.

If you or a loved one are ready to seek personal justice for your sexual abuse case, Grewal Law can help.

Call (888) 211-5798 now for a free consultation for your case.

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