The English used in this article or section may not be easy for everybody to understand. (June 2021)
Sexual assault is the act of violation, a process when two people come in contact of a sexual nature, but one of them does not want this contact to happen. This happens when sexual excitement impairs prefrontal cortex of the offender and experience of dissociative-like symptoms that leaves the person to primitive reflexes. Evolutionary biologist Randy Thornhill and evolutionary anthropologist Craig Palmer theorize that the primary motive behind sexual assault is sex and signifies the inability of the perpetrator to deal with their own emotions for adaptive response.
A study states "successful inhibition of sexual expressions (restrain, cancel, suppress) is a natural and adaptive reaction to contextual factors against the excitatory expressions (initiate, execute, promote), and enables the regulation of sexual behavior, thereby preventing undesired consequences for the individual and for society." Another study states that increased sexual excitation and heightened desire are associated with poorly regulated sexuality, and also found that those with decreased response to humorous stimuli had good regulation.
In some cultures being sexually experienced is a required aspect of psychological maturity to achieve balance in desire, and a person lacking it is subjected to stigmatization. Popularity of online dating applications and their role in the hookup culture of certain societies are an example of it. Improper balancing between inhibitory and excitatory sexual mechanisms results in a maladaptive sexual response or deregulated sexuality and that further results into socially undesirable consequences.
A 2010-2011 study in the United States of 1058 people aged 14 to 21 found that 8% had sexually assaulted in their lives. In 66% of cases no one found out and the perpetrator did not get into any trouble. 50% said that their victim was completely to blame. 2% had raped and 3% had tried to rape.
In some cases, one of the people involved may also be unable to consent to the contact. For example, they might be too young to consent or they may be unconscious (quasi-rape). Rape is one form of sexual assault, but there are others.
Different countries have different definitions of sexual assault. It is illegal, but often not reported. People convicted of sexual assault are sometimes sent to prison. In some places the crime of sexual assault has replaced the crime of rape. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, rape is a separate crime to sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a common theme in the bible, and often associated with condemn and punishment. In Judges 19:22-26, men of Gibeah assaulted an Ephraimite's wife to death and the whole of Israel went against the assaulter's. In Genesis 19:30-38, Lot, a nephew of Abraham, and a father figure of a family was raped by his daughters.
- Rodriguez-Nieto, G., Emmerling, F., Dewitte, M. et al. The Role of Inhibitory Control Mechanisms in the Regulation of Sexual Behavior. Arch Sex Behav 48, 481–494 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1283-7
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- Muccigrosso, Lynne (1 September 1991). "Sexual Abuse Prevention Strategies and Programs for persons with Developmental Disabilities". Sexuality and Disability. 9 (3): 261–271. doi:10.1007/BF01102396. S2CID 144151349 – via Springer Link.
- Mitchell, Kimberly J.; Ybarra, Michele L. (1 December 2013). "Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents". JAMA Pediatrics. 167 (12): 1125–1134. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2629. PMID 24100409 – via jamanetwork.com.