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Sexual assault also arises from distributing footage, or photos of another person’s sexual parts or sexual act without their consent.

This is why in running news bulletins, where for example school children, who have recorded; taken photos of sexual acts; or distributing it, may be charged with sexual assault, even though they themselves were not involved in the sexual act. Flashing persons; exploiting persons (especially children) for financial gains and various other aspects is also considered as sexual assault by the Sexual Offences Act.

South Africa has a somewhat complex regulation when it comes to the legal age of consent for sex or any related sexual act.

Generally the legal age of consent is considered to be age 16 and above for all genders and sexual orientations, but certain exceptions apply, including that of sex with someone with a mental disability and other factors.

One cannot consent to a sexual act with a family member in the same blood line or adoptive family members, meaning ascendants (parents, grandparents etc) or descendents (children, grand children etc). It needs to be point out that the act does not prohibit masturbating an animal for scientific research or breeding purposes is.

Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act further prohibits sexual acts with a corpse (‘necrophilia’) regardless of age, and is a criminally prosecutable offence.

The sex act must also be consensual between both parties.

Persons also need to be weary of the age of becoming an adult (age 18 in South Africa), where the parents of a child still has authority about what he or she may consent to whilst under age 18.

It may in some cases be considered as ‘statutory rape’: If the parents are willing to go through the criminal procedure by opening a case and if the court can determine that the child did not possess the mental capacity to be considered “emancipated” or of a mental state to make decisions like an 18-year-old adult.

The latter is usually the more difficult one to proof, as many children do show some mental level of ‘adulthood’ as early as age 15, and are generally perceived more responsible than younger kids.

In South Africa a person is considered to be a child, when he or she is under the age of 18, however the Sexual Offences Act does allow consensual sex for persons 16 and older.

This creates a problem where the parents of a child between 16 and 18 do not consent to their child having sex.

Some see this as a strange regulation given the fact that sexual acts for 16-year-olds and above are permitted and ages 12 to 16 are permitted between those of the same age, if they perform the act in person.

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