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Question: What Is The Difference Between Rape And Sexual Assault In Wisconsin?

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Answer: People often use the term "rape." They say, "I was raped," or "I’m accused of rape." Rape is no longer a legal term in Wisconsin. Rape is a common parlance term. People say "rape" when they mean sexual assault. And the reason for the change many years ago is this: sexual assault can be perpetrated by anyone on anyone, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s male/female, female/male or both. The old definition of rape was a man having sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent against her will with force or if she was unconscious or drunk.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. And so when people say, "I’m accused of rape," the lawyer says, "Well what is it they’re saying you did? Are they saying you touched somebody without their consent? Are they saying you had intercourse with somebody who was too drunk to consent?" That isn’t rape, rape doesn’t exist—rape is a TV or an MTV word. We in Wisconsin evaluate different levels of sexual assault. So the difference between the two is rape is a TV or a media term and sexual assault is the actual legal charge.

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