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What is Rape and Statutory Rape?

Donald Singleton
August 31, 2023

Sexual violence is an epidemic in modern-day society, with attacks impacting the lives of countless people. Things have reached such an unbelievable level that an American will experience a sexual assault about every 68 seconds of every day.

Every nine minutes on average, one of those victims is a minor.

If you or a loved one have experienced a sexual attack, then it’s necessary for you to unpack what happened, learn how to cope, and consider your options for pursuing justice.

While most people understand that sexual violence is a crime, the criminal justice system may not be your only source of recourse. Depending on the circumstances of your attack, you could also be able to seek out financial justice in civil court. By holding certain parties accountable (which may or may not include the perpetrator of the attack), you can get the financial compensation you need to cover losses you experienced such as medical costs, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Find out more about how the law views sexual attacks, how Georgia penalizes perpetrators, and how you can find justice by leveraging the legal system below.

What is Rape and Statutory Rape?

Under Georgia law, rape is defined as any type of forcible penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ against her will or who is less than ten years old. This definition can be found in Georgia Statute 16-6-1.

As you can see from the legal definition, rape is a crime that is very gender-specific. That doesn’t mean that males are not protected under the law, though. There are several different statutes in Georgia that outline different types of sexual offenses.

Under Georgia statute 16-6-2, any person who submits to any sexual act with the sexual organs of any person of any gender and the mouth or anus of another is guilty of committing sodomy. When this type of crime happens against someone’s will with force, then that’s considered aggravated sodomy.

Statutory Rape Vs. Rape

Another category under the law in Georgia is statutory rape. Georgia Statute 16-6-3 outlines this type of crime, which is defined as any type of sexual intercourse with any person who is under the age of 16. It’s necessary to understand that minors do not have the legal ability to provide consent for a sexual activity. With that in mind, it is never legal to engage in any type of sexual activity with anyone under 16 years old.

Consent is never considered a legal defense when the victim is under the age of 16.

Under Georgia Statute 16-6-5.1, it’s also a crime to engage in improper sexual contact with minors who are under the care of adults.

Improper sexual contact that happens without the consent of one person is considered sexual battery. This crime is defined as any type of non-consensual physical contact with the intimate body parts of the other person.

Types of Rape

As you can see from Georgia’s statutes, rape is one of the most serious sexual crimes. There are various different types of situations in which rape can occur. Below, we’ll go over the different types of scenarios that would all fall under this legal category.

If you’ve experienced any type of unwanted sexual contact, then it’s crucial for you to understand and identify what happened to you as crime and abuse. For that reason, we want to reaffirm and validate your experiences below.

1. Forcible Rape

Forcible rape is a type of crime that happens when someone uses force or the threat of force against a female to get her to commit a sexual activity against her will. Forcible rape is not only a crime in most states, but it’s also a federal offense as well. This type of rape could involve weapons, intimidation, threats, and an imbalance of power.

2. Date Rape

Date rape happens when two individuals initially agree to go out on a date together but then one person breaches the physical boundaries of another and coerces them into having sex. No one is entitled to sex, even if they’ve paid for your date or purchased your drinks. Another type of date rape happens when one person illegally drugs or intoxicates another person with the intent to sexually assault them later.

3. Acquaintance Rape

Sadly, most sexual violence happens between individuals who know each other. Acquaintance rape happens between casual acquaintances.

4. Gang Rape

When rape is perpetrated by multiple offenders, it’s considered gang rape. This type of offense is difficult to prosecute because evidence is more difficult to obtain when multiple parties are involved. Victims can also face higher levels of intimidation and fear when the crime is perpetrated by several people.

5. Child Molestation

Child molestation happens when one person is inappropriately touching a child in a sexual way. Consent isn’t possible, so any type of sexual touching is a crime. Penetration isn’t necessary for the sexual acts to be considered illegal. Child molestation includes any type of sexual, non-consensual touching.

6. Marital Rape

Sex is supposed to be a consensual activity, even within the confines of marriage. Just because two individuals agreed to a marital union does not mean that they have given up their right to bodily autonomy. Marital rape describes sexual acts that are committed without a wife’s consent and against her will. Marriage is not a legal defense against non-consensual sexual activity. Physical force is also not necessary for the acts to be considered rape.

Statutory Rape Laws in the United States

If you are not currently located in Georgia, then it’s important for you to know that the laws and regulations in your area might be different than in our state. One area of the law that varies significantly across various states is statutory rape laws.

The main reason for this because the age of consent is different in different areas.

What does remain consistent, though, is that the perpetrator doesn’t have to be forceful or threatening. So long as the perpetrator is an adult and the victim is under the age of consent, the act is illegal.

In Georgia, the age of consent is 16-years-old.

Penalties for a Rape Conviction in Georgia

Rape is taken very seriously in Georgia. If a person gets convicted of rape, then they can face one of the following penalties based on the circumstances of the crime:

  • Life in prison without the chance for parole
  • Death penalty
  • Minimum of 25 years in prison with a lifetime on parole

Defenses to a Rape Charge

If you’re considering seeking out charges against your perpetrator, then you may wonder what type of defense strategies they can employ. One of the biggest defenses is that the other party consented to the act. Keep in mind that consent isn’t possible when the person is underage, mentally incapacitated, or otherwise unable to provide consent. Marriage is also not considered a legal defense to rape.

Other possible defense strategies include a lack of evidence, mistaken identity, or false allegations.

What is Negligent Security, and Did it Play a Role in Your Attack?

Seeking out criminal charges against your perpetrator might not be your only opportunity to seek out justice after your attack. Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, negligent security may have contributed to your losses and injuries.

Under the law, negligent security incidents happen when a property owner has a legal duty to provide for the care and safety of guests on their property and they fail to take reasonable steps to do so.

Unfortunately, property owners who don’t have the proper security measures in place could attract potential criminals to their property. If an attack happens, then the property owner might share legal (and financial liability) for the attack.

Premises Liability Laws: How to Seek Out Compensation

If you believe negligent security may have contributed to your attack, then it might be possible to seek out compensation from the property owner through a personal injury claim. During these types of negligent security claims, you could seek out financial compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

This compensation can help facilitate your recovery and help you move forward after what you’ve gone through. What’s more, it can also prompt the property owner to take steps to install reasonable security measures and protect future guests from similar crimes.

Have You Experienced Rape as a Result of Negligent Security?

Have you or a loved one recently experienced rape, a sexual assault, or an attempted sexual attack? This type of behavior is unacceptable and against the law. Not only can you ensure that the perpetrator faces swift justice by seeking out charges against them, but you can also consider your options for financial recovery, too.

At times, it’s not just the culprit themselves that share legal liability.

Sometimes, a property owner’s negligence can also contribute to an attack, meaning they could share some legal responsibility for the crime. If your attack occurred on someone else’s property and you think the property owner may have been negligent in securing the area, then it might be a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney about what happened.

Here at Singleton Law Firm, our lawyers are dedicated to helping injured individuals understand their legal rights and options for recovery. We invite you to leave your contact details on our online form now to schedule a case review with our team.

Donald Singleton

Donald Singleton


A Georgia native, Don founded Singleton Law Firm in 1999 as a continuation of his lifetime commitment to serving his state and community. He has concentrated his trial practice to representing victims of serious injury and wrongful death arising out of trucking, car, bus and motorcycle accidents, premises liability and a wide variety of other causes.

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