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(According to her) he put his hand INSIDE her underwear. AFTER she said she wasn't interested. If it had only been the unwanted kiss, and she said no, don't touch me, and he said, oh I'm sorry, and left it at that, then yes...it was probably just a drunken misunderstanding.

Shoving your hand INSIDE another person's (of any gender) underpants after being expressly told that said person was not interested in you sexually is absolutely sexual assault.

If that's sexual assault because it's defined to be sexual assault, then it is. Can't argue with that. Words can mean whatever we want. I think the point I was making is that, at least in my case, I had a definition of "assault" long before I ever heard of the term "sexual assault" and I believe the latter is more of a legal term than a common sense, everyday term. Assault involves violence and planning. If there was no violence, and also possibly no planning/premeditation, I personally find it hard to swallow calling this "assault" of any kind. I mean, to put it in perspective, we're talking about, at worst, one adult male putting his hand inside the underwear of another adult female, at a bar, late at night, very likely while one or both parties are drunk, and one or both parties have been flirting or otherwise being touchy-feely with lots of folks all night preceding it. Add to this people who don't read body language and attraction cues perfectly well. And add to this some men wanted to be sexually aggressive and dominant toward a woman they find attractive -- and add to that many women wanting and liking men to do that -- and this adds up to a recipe where I could see something like this happening, and honestly, it should not be such a big deal. Slap on wrist? Sure. Crime? Not so sure.

And again: what about the concept of no harm, no foul. It's life. Move on.

Just for corroboration, the term "sexual assault" is generally understood to include situations exactly like this one. My alma mater's policy on sexual misconduct has a reasonably nice definition: "Sexual assault is intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Consent exists when a person freely and knowingly agrees at the time to participate in a particular sexual act with a particular person. Consent is not effective, for example, when force, threat, or coercion is used. Consent is not effective when sexual contact is with a person who is unable to say no or otherwise resist because of the use of alcohol or drugs or because he or she is asleep or unconscious."

The same policy defines sexual contact as including but not being limited to: "sexual intercourse, penetration of an orifice (anal, oral or vaginal) with the penis, finger, or other object in a sexual manner, intentional touching of the genitals, buttocks, or breasts, or coercion to force someone else to touch one’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts. Sexual contact can occur over clothing."

Most people in this thread will be viewing the term similarly to the definition above.

That said, I'll let other folks deal with the rest of your post; I won't be able to do so dispassionately.

> If there was no violence

"Violence is...compelling action against one's will on pain of being hurt." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence)

"I tried to push him off, and told him I wasn’t interested ... He responded by jamming his hand into my underwear and fumbling." (from the article)

To me that sounds like "against one's will" and ergo an act of violence.

Interesting! I've never heard violence defined like that.

When I was a kid and first learning words like that, "violence" meant physical harm and attack. A punch. A gunshot. A bomb explosion. That was violence. I think this other definition you cited is a rather newer and more "lawyer-y" definition.

That said.

Even if that's the definition we're going to use, then, by that definition, this case still did not involve violence. The alleged evildoer in this case did not do anything against another's will "on pain of being hurt." Sounded like he was waaaaaaay too forward, I'd agree. :) But by her admission there was no threat, no pain and no use of "old-fashioned" violence (no attack or physical harm).

I'm going to go read up on the latest arbitrary definition du jour of "rape" and "sexual assault" tonight. What I expect to see is that especially the latter will be defined so loosely that if a guy merely touches a women's arm after she has drunk a glass of alcohol, then he could possibly be charged with the crime of sexual assault. That's how ridiculously overreaching this area of our laws seem to be.

Um. No pain?

If someone forces their hands into your underwear, it is disgusting. Who knows where that hand has been, and now it's in your private area? This is not about touching an arm. I'll agree with the other commenter that much of your posts does seem troll-like, especially when trying to say that shoving your hand into someone's underwear is no worse than touching someone's arm.

FWIW, however, I'm not sure that this necessarily needs to be a "throw in jail" kind of crime. Public humiliation on the Internet, however, seems like the best way to handle a crime of this nature.

Some men simply do not understand that it is not acceptable to put their hands in strange ladies' underwear. This is not a phenomenon that is limited to tech conferences. http://www.frumforum.com/the-prowl-getting-groped-in-the-dis...

Public awareness of this problem is a far better solution than sweeping it under the rug.

Most men don't do this. It'd be nice if in addition to being the great human beings that they are, if they'd step in when they see a woman being accosted in this way.

It'd be nice if in addition to being the great human beings they are if they wouldn't try to excuse piss poor behavior on other men's parts.

In case it's not intentional, I'd just like to point out that many of your responses in this thread come across as very "troll-like" in nature. This may be because I disagree with your content but--if it's not the impression you're intending to give--you might want to reconsider how you present your view.

Thanks for letting me know. I am not intending to troll.

I do realize that the position I'm arguing from risks being un-PC, especially with certain HN demographics, and if it's reacted to in a way that doesn't account for the subtle specifics of what I'm saying. But sometimes it's important to stick up for what you believe in, and say what you think is true and right, even if it's not popular with everyone. On the whole, it seems that what I'm saying is resonating with some of the readers here, which is good. I'd hate to live in a society where much or even all of sexuality becomes considered evil or a crime, and in a society where we're unable to make subtle distinctions, and we go after non-violent "crimes" more than massively violent non-crimes (war, invasions, government-ordered bombing or missile strikes, etc., for example).

So, just to be clear. If you or one of your friends did this, would you think it was okay?

Let's assume, for the purpose of argument, that you've correctly identified this list of factors that may have contributed to this event. How does that make it any less big of a deal?

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