The end of 2017 saw the rise of #metoo as women and some gay males came out of the shadows to discuss sexual abuse and harassment in and around the work place. From major celebrities to iconic political figures, accusations and allegations streamed from television to social media at a whirlwinds pace. When so many terms are thrown around without meaning and/or context it is hard to understand exactly where the lines are and where they should be drawn. Sexual harassment, assault, battery and rape are all legal terms with separate meanings depending on the actions of the perpetrator and even the specific jurisdiction of the crime. GMJ has covered these topics, and will continue to do so in the future, but we decided it best to start at the beginning with some definitions.

Sexual Assault:

illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (such as a doctor) in a position of trust or authorityAccording to the U.S. Department of Justice; “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.”


Sexual Battery:

broadly defined, is when one person intentionally touches another, without the victim’s consent, in a manner that is harmful or offensive. Sexual battery can be defined as “An unwanted form of contact with an intimate part of the body that is made for purposes of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse”. Sexual battery may occur whether the victim is clothed or not.” (Source) Intimidation, threats, and force are all different ways that sexual battery can occur. Yes, this technically includes grabbing a guy’s dick or ass as he walks by you in the bar.

Consent, like in all sexual crimes, is the essential factor in many cases. If a person is incapacitated, then consent cannot be given. It does not matter if the victim is incapacitated through their own conduct. For example, if a person gets drunk and passes out, any sexual contact with that person would be sexual battery. Fondling a person while he or she is asleep constitutes sexual battery. Similar conduct against a person confined to a hospital bed would also constitute sexual battery.

Sexual Harassment:

unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment.


unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.

Rape is “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” This is the newest definition given by the U.S. Department of Justice, the older definition was mainly based off of women who had been raped but the newest definition allows for all genders and gender identities to be acknowledged.

The primary difference between sexual battery and rape is that with battery there is no penetration between the sexual organs. With sexual battery, all that matters is the non-consensual touching of another person’s sexual organs.

How this effects gay males?

All of the above definitions look at life and gender interactions from a legal and mostly heteronormative interpretation. As we all know, to some extent, gay male life can be different and the social and moral cues can be very complicated when you have guys mixing and testosterone raging. This does not mean that the rules and laws don’t apply to us, on the contrary, we at GMJ believe we need to pay extra attention to this issue as sexual assault and battery are common in our community and under reported crimes.

  • First we gay males need to understand the laws and how we can and cannot touch other males. Our sexuality does not make us immune to the law or give license to touch, abuse or harass other guys.
  • Secondly, we need to have a better understanding of consent, in a realistic manner, as it relates to the work place, verses the bar or a sex party. THESE ARE NOT THE SAME.
  • Finally, our community is obligated to create safe spaces and environments for those who have been actually victimized to receive help, counseling, medical care or whatever they need, because we all know that no one else is going to do it for us.

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