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Groping (Legal Definition And Overview: All You Need To Know)

What does Groping mean?

How do you legally define it?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our legal dictionary and define groping!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Does Groping Mean

Groping means to blindly look for something or move about while feeling something.

When a person gropes or there’s groping in a sexual way, it may lead to a possible criminal accusation or sexual harassment charge.

Typically, when a person is charged with sexual harassment for groping, it means that he or she physically touched another person without getting consent or when the other person was unable to give consent.

Not all groping acts may lead to a criminal accusation as a person may have touched someone in an awkward way but without having the intention of deriving any sexual pleasure from it.

For example, if a man was moving around in the dark to find the exit and happened to accidentally touch another woman’s breast, the contact may have been purely accidental (if the act was intentional, then that’s another story).

Generally, we’ll use the term “groping” to refer to an unwanted or undesirable sexual act whereas we’ll refer to “fondling” to refer to the same act between consenting partners.

Unwanted groping, sexual groping, or groping women or men are typically viewed as socially unacceptable conduct and a person may suffer legal consequences as a result.

What Constitutes Illegal Groping

Groping sexually or groping and touching refers to when a person physically touches or feels another person’s body or body parts without the other person’s consent.

When the act of groping is inappropriate or unsolicited, it can potentially lead to a sexual harassment charge or a sexual assault lawsuit.

Groping Act

What actually constitutes an act of groping?

The act of groping can mean touching another person’s buttocks, breasts, thighs, groin area, pubic area, vulva, penis, testicles, or other private parts.

The mere act of physical contact may not necessarily be groping (like tapping someone on their shoulders).

However, if the touching or feeling targets a person’s “private” parts or sexual parts, then we can refer to the act as “groping”.

Gropers can either use their hands to feel another person’s private parts to satisfy a sexual pleasure or they can use their body or their own sexual parts to rub against another person.

For example, a person may be groping crowds or groping people in the public (at a concert or an event where many people are tightly squeezed against one another).

Lack of Consent

From a legal perspective, the element of consent is crucial in determining whether a person groping another committed a crime or not.

It goes without saying that if two consenting adults performed the act of groping (generally called “fondling” as opposed to “groping”), there is no commission of a crime as both individuals deliberately engaged in the conduct.

However, if a person is groped without consent, that can lead to legal consequences.

If a person is charged with a crime sexual in nature resulting from the act of groping, it’s possible that the victim clearly did not give consent but ended up being groped, was unable to give consent due to the use of drugs, alcohol or illegal substances, or was mentally inept.

For the prosecutor to successfully convict a person, it must be proven that the person performed the act of groping and had the intention to derive some sort of sexual pleasure from it or knew that the victim was not consensual or could not give proper consent.

Groping Punishment

Depending on the country, culture, and social norms, the act of groping can be viewed differently and the consequences can be different as well.

We can confidently say that in most countries, groping is negatively viewed.

However, groping is not necessarily a crime in every society.

In some countries, women tend to regularly get pinched or slapped on their buttocks when walking around in public.

In other countries, specific anti-groping campaigns are implemented to dissuade individuals from groping women others in public.

As a result, the punishment for groping can also vary depending on the country you are in.

In the United States, groping can lead to sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual battery, among others (depending on the state laws).

Sexual crimes are typically punished strictly with heavy fines, jail time, probation periods, restraining orders, and so on.

Depending on the specific circumstances of the crime, groping can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

It’s important to consult with a criminal lawyer or defense attorney to get a better understanding of the local laws applicable to you.

Groping Definition

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, groping means:

To feel about blindly or uncertainly in search

In other words, in a sexual context, groping someone (or hand groping) means that you are touching a person in a strange, awkward, or unwanted manner.

The person groping is a person looking to use his or her hands to feel something or to find something by feeling around.

In a non-sexual context, the definition of groping can be a person trying to move around using his or her hands (for example trying to find an exit door walking in the dark).

In slang, to grope or groping means that a person is “handling”, “fondling”, or “feeling” another person for sexual pleasure.

Groping Synonyms

What are a few synonyms of the term groping?

Here is a list of other terms that may be used as synonyms for groping in a sentence:

  • Search
  • Poke
  • Fish 
  • Explore 
  • Examine 
  • Touch
  • Manipulate 
  • Grabble
  • Finger 

Groping Meaning Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is groping?

What is the definition of groping?

Is groping sexual assault?

When a person gropes another in a sexual manner, it means that the person touches or fondles another person using their hands or any part of their own body like their genital area or other.

The term “groping” has a negative connotation as it suggests that a person physically grabbed, touched, fondled, played, or felt another person’s body in an unsolicited and awkward manner.

Individuals who use their own sexual parts to rub against others are referred to as frotteurists (performing frotteurism”).

When a person is touched in a non-sexual manner (like touched on the upper back, shoulder, or upper arm), the act may not necessarily be illegal or reprehensible.

However, if a person touches another person’s private parts or any other part of their body but in a sexual way, the act is seen as groping which goes beyond simply rude or impolite conduct.

I hope this article helped answer some of your questions about “groping” such as, what’s groping, what is groping women, what acts constitute groping, and so on.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Define Groping

  • In the English dictionary, groping means “to feel with your hands” or “to move towards something” blindly or without being able to clearly see
  • In a legal context, groping refers to an unconsented, unsolicited, and inappropriate touching or feeling of another person
  • Groping cases generally involve a person touching another person’s private parts, buttocks, groin area, breasts or other private body parts
  • In the United States, groping can lead to sexual harassment charges, sexual battery charges, or sexual assault charges
Aggravated sexual battery 
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Child pornography 
Criminal offense 
Cybersex trafficking 
Eve teasing 
Indecent assault 
Indecent exposure 
Plea bargaining 
Public display 
Sex offender 
Sexual assault 
Sexual assault vs sexual battery 
Sexual battery definition 
Sexual battery vs rape 
Sexual harassment 
Sexual slavery 
Statutory rape 
Classes of crimes 
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Criminal procedure 
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Defense attorney 
Depraved indifference 
Expungement motion 
Felonious assault
Felony types 
Misdemeanor attorney 
Misdemeanor vs felony
Penal Code 
Summary offense 
Romeo and Juliet law
Types of charges 
Wharton Rule
Victimless crime 
What is a felony
What is a misdemeanor 
What is an infraction
Wobbler offense

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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