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Victims of Sexual Misconduct: Don’t Suffer in Silence
Victims of sexual assault, abuse, or harassment: why are their voices not heard?
In spite of recent revelations of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment perpetrated against women, men, and teenagers by prominent individuals in government, entertainment, and education, there are many more unreported cases where the victims of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment simply suffer in silence. The question is, why are their voices not heard? The reasons are numerous, but is usually explained by one of following:
- Perpetrated by an individual having control over the victim’s employment, education, or sports participation
- Perceived lack of power on the part of the victim
- Fear that that no one will believe them
- Fear of retribution and public/community condemnation (denunciation, criticism, scorn) and humiliation
What constitutes sexual assault, abuse, and harassment?
Sexual assault and abuse are any non-consensual, unwanted, contact in nearly any form. While violence may be involved in acts of sexual assault, it is not always a primary component. Regardless of how the sexual assault or abuse occurs, whether through force, coercion, intimidation, duress, or manipulation, all types of unwanted sexual contact can have a devastating effect on its victims for many years into the future; particularly for young and immature victims.
Victims of Sexual assault, abuse, and harassment:
- Rape, Attempted Rape, Date Rape
- Sexual Harassment in Employment and/or Education
- Sexual Discrimination in Employment and/or Education
Forms of teenage and child sexual assault, abuse, and harassment include:
- Rape, Attempted Rape, Date Rape
- Child Molestation
- Manipulation for Sex (Grooming)
- Sexual Abuse and Harassment in education, After-School Programs, and Athletics
- Sexual Discrimination in Education, After-School Programs, and Athletics
Places where sexual assault, abuse, and harassment may occur:
- Adult Sexual Assault, Abuse, and Harassment:
- College Campuses
- Physician Offices
- Nursing Homes
- College Athletics
- Nursing, Therapists, and Daycare
- Residential Care Facilities
- Teenage and child sexual assault, abuse, and harassment:
- Schools (Public and Private)
- Churches and Religious Institutions
- School Athletic Programs
- Non-Educational Sanctioned Group Activities
- Extracurricular Educational Activities
Can victims of sexual assault, abuse and harassment sue for compensation?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a sexual assault, abuse, or harassment you may be entitled to compensation for hospital and doctor bills, emotional distress, therapy and counseling for depression, substance abuse and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. Whether the sexual assault, abuse, or harassment occurs in a sudden act of violence or is part of a continued pattern of abuse, all forms of sexual abuse can result in long lasting trauma. While a perpetrator may be stopped from additional acts of abuse by the criminal justice system, the civil justice system can hold negligent parties accountable and provide monetary resources for victims which are unavailable in the criminal cases.
What should you do if you are a victim?
If you or a loved one has been victimized by sexual abuse, it is critical that you seek medical attention and report it to your local authorities (typically police department) immediately. Soon thereafter you should contact an experienced injury lawyer familiar with the claims that can be pursued in the civil justice system, as previously described. Your lawyer should be familiar with the type of counseling and treatment that your particular situation may require. For sexual harassment, such as harassment in education or employment, it is likely that the criminal justice system will not be involved and you should contact a lawyer experienced in those areas, as your remedies will come from the civil justice system and it is a complex evaluation of whether there have been Federal and State laws violated.