Abusive Sexual Contact Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

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In the military, abusive sexual contact is a serious offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It involves unwanted sexual touching or subjecting another person to sexual contact by force or without their consent. This crime not only violates the core values of the armed forces but also has severe legal consequences.

What Constitutes Abusive Sexual Contact Under the UCMJ?

According to Article 120 of the UCMJ, abusive sexual contact occurs when a person:

  • Commits or causes sexual contact upon another person by threatening or placing that person in fear
  • Commits or causes sexual contact upon another person without their consent
  • Commits or causes sexual contact upon another person while they are incapacitated or otherwise unable to consent

Sexual contact is defined as any touching, or causing another person to touch, either directly or through clothing, the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person.

Potential Consequences of Abusive Sexual Contact

Abusive sexual contact is punishable under the UCMJ and can result in severe penalties, including:

– Dishonorable discharge from the military

– Forfeiture of pay and allowances

– Confinement for up to 7 years for abusive sexual contact involving force or lack of consent

– Confinement for up to 2 years for abusive sexual contact without force or lack of consent

– Reduction in rank or grade

– Federal conviction and sex offender registration

The specific punishment depends on the severity of the offense, the circumstances involved, and the discretion of the court-martial.

Understand what constitutes abusive sexual contact under the UCMJ, the potential consequences, & how to navigate these sensitive cases

Addressing Common Misconceptions and Myths

Misconception: Abusive sexual contact only involves rape or penetration.

Fact: Abusive sexual contact under the UCMJ includes any unwanted sexual touching or subjecting another person to sexual contact by force or without their consent, regardless of penetration.

Misconception: Abusive sexual contact is only committed by strangers or civilians.

Fact: Abusive sexual contact can be committed by anyone, including fellow service members, superiors, or even spouses or intimate partners.

Misconception: Victims who don’t report immediately are not credible.

Fact: It’s common for victims to delay reporting due to fear, shame, or concerns about potential consequences. Delayed reporting does not invalidate their experience or the seriousness of the offense.

Misconception: Consent can be implied by the victim’s behavior or attire.

Fact: Consent must be explicit, ongoing, and freely given. Clothing, previous sexual history, or behavior does not constitute consent or justify abusive sexual contact.

Misconception: Abusive sexual contact only happens to certain types of people.

Fact: Abusive sexual contact can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, rank, or background. It is a violation of human rights and military values.

Understand what constitutes abusive sexual contact under the UCMJ, the potential consequences, & how to navigate these sensitive cases

By addressing these misconceptions and providing practical tips and resources, this blog post can better equip readers with the knowledge and support they need to navigate cases of abusive sexual contact in the military.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of abusive sexual contact in the military, don’t hesitate to seek help. Report the incident, access available support services, and consult with legal professionals to protect your rights and ensure justice is served. Together, we can foster a culture of respect, consent, and accountability within the armed forces. Military Trial is here to help you, contact us today!

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