Sexually inappropriate behavior can be hard to define. That’s because countless people have been victimized in ways unimaginable. An example of this would be what happened with Louis C.K., where several women came forward, saying the comedian asked if he could masturbate in front of them.
Despite this story coming to light only a few years ago, some still may wonder: can a perpetrator sexually assault someone by masturbating in front of them?
Examining the definitions
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual assault is defined as sexual actions that occur without the explicit consent of those involved. Those can include fondling, unwanted touching, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts or rape.
Indecent exposure doesn’t always involve nonconsensual touching. However, RAINN says force is not always physical. In some cases, perpetrators can use emotional force as well. For instance, a perpetrator may masturbate in front of someone to evoke gratification while attempting to avoid accountability for their actions.
How local rules apply
Here in West Virginia, the laws regarding sex crimes are very specific. It’s often illegal for anyone to expose their private parts to a nonconsenting party to achieve gratification. Those found guilty could receive a misdemeanor for indecent exposure, spend three months in jail and potentially face a $250 fine.
Sexual abuse of any kind is inexcusable
Whether someone was touched or not, being exposed to such lewd actions can be traumatizing for anyone. Those victimized will want to seek legal counsel. An experienced sex abuse attorney can help victims get the justice they deserve.