What Is Sexual Assault?
- The media isn't in a hurry to provide examples of what's just over the line and is therefore "sexual assault" and what is just under the line and is therefore not "sexual assault."
Here's the Army's FAQ on the subject, but it's not all that illuminating, either. It's bereft of concrete examples of what is and isn't "sexual assault." The Army defines "sexual assault" as "intentional sexual contact," but no examples are given. Is, say, a pat on the butt sexual assault? Is playing footsie sexual assault?
This murkiness is not unique to this latest sex scandal. It's not a bug, it's a feature when lawyers enlist the media in helping them target a deep-pocketed institution.
In lawyer-driven sex-scandals, it's not uncommon for crisp sounding abstractions to mask a lot of murkiness. For example, in the endless, and highly lucrative, Catholic priest scandals, picture in your head a representative example of a sexual act perpetrated by a Catholic priest. My guess is that the most likely example that comes to mind is Gerry Sandusky in the shower with the 10 year old boy.
And yet, Gerry Sandusky wasn't at all a priest, he was the retired linebacker coach at Linebacker U., Penn State. But, the Sandusky example comes readily to mind in relation to the priest scandals because we've been told over and over and over exactly what Sandusky did. Why? Because it's so horrifying.
In contrast, the media (and the plaintiff's attorneys who package much of what appeared in the media) were seldom in as much of a hurry to tells us about exactly what all those Catholic priests tended to be doing over the years. When you look into what actually happened, it seldom turns out to be all that Sandusky-like: instead, creepy and disgusting, but seldom brutal.
After all, the priests in these scandals were seldom America's most famous linebacker coach. Instead, they tended to be gentle, gay, lonely alcoholics who had taken a personal interest in some youth (youths, not children, typically past puberty -- the priests were far more often gay than pedophiliac), a personal interest that went too far.