Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
Sexual abuse is a silent epidemic. Its victims are male, female, children and the elderly. It can take place just about anywhere including at home, at work, at school, or in a nursing home. Those who perpetrate the sexual abuse are often entrusted with caring for those they victimize, and can include teachers, health care professionals, members of the clergy and, most frequently, other members of the victim's family.
There are approximately 200,000 cases of rape reported each year and 80,000 cases of child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is especially insidious because it begins affecting the victimized children and their families immediately, and can continue to negatively affect the survivor and society throughout the survivor's life. Detrimental consequences to survivors of child sexual abuse and to society at large include:
- Health/behavioral problems — victims of child sexual abuse are likelier to experience physical health problems such as headaches, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and eating disorders than non-victims.
- Drug/alcohol problems — 70 to 80 percent of sexual abuse survivors report excessive drug and alcohol use.
- Teenage promiscuity/pregnancy — sexual abuse survivors tend to be more sexually promiscuous and more frequently exhibit inappropriate sexual behaviors and other behavioral problems. Women who report having been raped as a child are three times likelier to become pregnant before they reach 18 years of age. About 60 percent of teen first pregnancies are preceded by rape, attempted rape, or molestation and 75 percent of teenage prostitutes have been sexually abused.
- Crime — over 75 percent of serial rapists were sexually abused as youngsters or children.
The way a victim's family responds to the sexual abuse, however, can play a role in how it affects the victim. Sexually abused children who keep the incident(s) a secret or who "tell" and are not believed are at greater risk of developing potentially long-lasting physical, emotional, psychological, and social problems.
Unfortunately, many children who are or were sexually abused do not to tell their parents or caregivers about it. And even if they do, they do so long after the sexual abuse took place or, even more tragically, the parents or caregivers entrusted with the fact fail to do anything about it. This may be in part because the parents or caregivers cannot handle the rage or guilt involved. In fact the parents and sibling of the sexually abused child may themselves suffer debilitating emotional problems as a result of the incident(s).
By involving a competent mental health professional, however, these issues can begin to be addressed. And by contacting legal authorities, the perpetrators, most of who tend to be repeat offenders, may be prevented from sexually abusing other children.
Although sexual abuse is usually punished with long terms of imprisonment, this is often little consolation for the victims of sex abuse and their families. And no amount of financial compensation can return the innocence that was taken from a sexually abused child.
But by bringing a private lawsuit, the damages that may be recovered can at least mitigate some of the financial consequences that often befall victimized families. They may also possibly be used to compensate a qualified mental health professional who can help with beginning the healing process. A qualified and compassionate personal injury attorney could prove instrumental in apprising you of your legal rights.