Sex violence is a significant public issue all across the US. Reports and allegations of harassment and sexual assault by renowned celebrities and politicians have been highlighted in the news every next day or week. And, the Commonwealth of Virginia is notoriously famous for its severe laws and harsh punishments. Here are x things you should know about sex crimes in Virginia as explained by an attorney:
Sexual assault and how it is prevalent
Sexual assault is any nature of sexual contact or behavior that is achieved through force, coercion, intimidation, manipulations, deception, violence, threat, or abuse of authority instead of freely obtained or given consent. Sexual assault include acts like rape, non-consensual sodomy, incest, child molestation, indecent exposure, voyeurism, folding, or attempts to commit such acts.
At least one in four females and one in six males are or will be the victims of sexual assault during their lifetime. Almost 80% of them are assaulted by an acquaintance, like a friend, relative, spouse, teacher, pastor, coach, boss, doctor, or therapist.
Criminal records are forever
In Virginia, criminal records (for crimes for all nature and intensities) are forever. Once you are convicted of a sex crime, your name and crime details will remain forever on your criminal records. Also, you cannot erase the charges of even a minor sexual misconduct from the records.
Child Sexual Abuse is Sadly Prevalent
Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is more common than most of us think and the offenders are most often the people who the parents and children know, and not the strangers.
Child Pornography and Sexting
When talking about child pornography, any person below 18 years of age is a ‘child’. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or pictures via cell phone. Making or encouraging the exchange of dirty photos of a minor is known as felony production of child pornography. Keeping such images on your personal devices (computer or cell phone) is also considered a felony. In addition, copying, emailing, posting, sharing, or showing such images is another separate felony. Also, each photo can become a separate charge for making, possessing, or distributing such graphically explicit images. Consequently, when a school student takes three dirty pictures of his 16 years old friend and emails them to himself, then he has committed nine felonies and can be sentenced for 10-90 years behind bars. This is how Virginia Law works and continues to prosecute adults as well as minors for underage sexting.
Sexual assault is harms victims significantly
The more shocking thing than the frequency of sexual assault occurrences is the extreme harm done to the victim. The acute effects are not only physical, but also societal, emotional and psychological.
Many victims of sexual assault never tell anyone about the incident
A sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes because of its horrific nature and the shame it causes to its victims. The fear of being intrusive and re-victimized prevents many survivors of sexual assault from reporting the assault. And, underreporting is one of the leading reasons of recurrence of such crimes.