The Actual Definitions Of Sexual Assault & Harassment (For People Who Think The Rules Have Changed)

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If you've been paying attention lately to the news, to Twitter, to Facebook, to Instagram, or even to the women standing in the streets and screaming, it might seem like every famous man who ever lived is turning out to be a sex monster and a sexual predator.

So of course, men everywhere are complaining that the rules are changing, that they're afraid of the "witch hunts" going on, that any totally normal behavior might land them in trouble. They're upset because suddenly, they don't know whether or not they too might be sex monsters.

But let's be clear, the bar for "What is sexual harassment, abuse and/or assault?" hasn't changed.

What are the legal definitions of sexual harassment, assault, and other sex crimes?

There are several types of sexual harassment and assault, so the answer requires looking at each one specifically.

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According to the Marshall University Women's Center, 8 of the most common types of sexual assault and their definitions include those in the following list.

Types of Sexual Assault

1. Rape

Sexual intercourse against a person’s will.

2. Forcible sodomy

Anal or oral sex against a person’s will.

3. Forcible object penetration

Penetrating someone’s vagina or anus, or causing that person to penetrate her or himself, against that person’s will.

4. Marital rape

Sex acts committed without consent between married partners.

5. Unwanted sexual touching

6. Sexual contact with minors, whether consensual or not

7. Incest

Sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion between family members.

8. Any other unwanted or coerced sexual contact

Other Types of Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a non-legal term meant to encompass other types of

1. Sexual harassment

Defined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature" within the workplace or a learning environment.

2. Solicitation of minors through the Internet

Defined as "Knowingly using the mail or any means of interstate or foreign commerce to transfer or attempt to transfer obscene matter to an individual who has not attained the age of 16 years."

3. Possessing, producing, or distributing child pornography

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So again, the legal definitions of what constitutes sexual misconduct haven't changed. What has changed is whether or not people with the power and authority to do anything about it give a sh—.

It was never okay to grope your coworkers. It was never okay to drug and rape people.

But, society shrugged it off, because it was just *women* who were the victims, and what were they going to do about it? Well, now women have gained enough of a toehold in the institutions of power, and most importantly, media, to be the people who care.

It wasn't okay for Louis CK to jerk off in front of other comedians, and he knew that. It's why he didn't jerk off in front of men or female bosses (like Amy Poehler). It's not that now suddenly it's bad, it's that now suddenly women can communicate these things with each other and do something about it. Hold him accountable, maybe.

It wasn't okay for Al Franken to grope an unconscious woman. Ever. Period. And he knew that.

It wasn't okay for Bill Cosby to rape every woman in a five-mile radius. And he knew that.

It wasn't okay for Richard Pryor to beat the sh*t out of his wife. And he knew that.

It wasn't okay for Roy Moore to pursue fourteen-year-olds as a grown man. And he knew that.

It wasn't okay for Harvey Weinstein to demand sexual favors of the women he was casting. And he knew that.

But what they all also knew was that nobody was going to do anything about it. Nobody was going to come and get them, lock them up or fire them.

They knew that the structures around them, built mostly by other men who they believed were just as guilty as themselves, would protect them. They believed nobody who *mattered* cared.

And horrifically, they were right.

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Things are changing. Not fast enough, but they're changing.

The rules haven't changed. Only the likelihood of enforcement.

The horrific facts are that if all of your heroes have turned out to be sex monsters, this isn't actually news. People already knew their heroes were sex monsters.

Roman Polanski is a known sex monster.

Woody Allen is a known sex monster.

Hell, Mike Tyson got his own cartoon show a few years ago, and he actually went to prison for rape. Do you know how hard it is to go to prison for rape? And when he got out, he was in "The Hangover" and every dude you know probably watched him dozens of times, laughing their butts off, not caring at all that he was a sex monster, too.

Well, the women of America are done with the BS.

We are tired. We are furious. And we are exploding with the kind of righteous anger that only comes with centuries, nay, millennia, of gaslighting, of turning a blind eye whenever confronted with the idea that behavior men knew was wrong, criminal even, was also commonplace. We are done.

And these sexual predators? These sex monsters?

We're seeing to it that they're done, too.

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Lea Grover is a writer and speaker living on Chicago's south side. Her writing has been featured in numerous anthologies, including "Listen To Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now," and on websites ranging from Cosmopolitan.com to AlterNet to Woman's Day, and she speaks about sex-positivity in parenting and on behalf of the RAINN Speakers Bureau. She can be found on her blog, Becoming SuperMommy, on Twitter and Facebook, or preparing her upcoming memoir.

This article was originally published at Facebook. Reprinted with permission from the author.