The People’s Lawyer

Three myths about assault that need to be debunked

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Family Law

Assault is a heavy word. It is a term that often conjures images of physical violence. But assault covers a wider range of actions than you might think. Here are some common misconceptions about assault and the legal repercussions that come with it.

Myth #1: Assault requires physical injury

Wrong. Assault can occur without a scratch. West Virginia law defines assault as the intentional threat or act that instills fear with the threat of immediate bodily harm. This can include threatening gestures, verbal threats, or unlawfully putting someone in a situation where they fear being hurt.

Myth #2: Only a stranger can assault me

Not true. Assault can happen between anyone: spouses, partners, friends, family members and complete strangers. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, an average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in America. West Virginia takes domestic violence particularly seriously, with additional penalties for assaults within a dating or domestic relationship.

Myth #3: Reporting is pointless

This can be a dangerous misconception. Law enforcement does not easily dismiss assault reports. Even if you don’t press charges, a report creates a record and can be crucial for other people’s protection. You have the right to feel safe. Reporting assault allows authorities to investigate and potentially prevent future violence legally.

These may help you set boundaries and remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations. Understanding assault allows you to recognize situations that put you at risk. If you or a loved one has been assaulted in any way, contact the authorities immediately. You may also consider seeking legal guidance to understand what options you have for protection, such as a protective order. By knowing your rights and seeking help when needed, you can prioritize your safety and well-being.