Can I Sue For Sexual Abuse?
Yes, you can sue for sexual abuse. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, you must hire a sexual abuse attorney to help you sue. Once you file a sexual abuse lawsuit, you will be able to receive the compensation that you deserve. Victims of sexual abuse, harassment, and molestation can sue their molesters for damages.
Everyday acts of sexual assault include:
- Sexual abuse of a child
- Indecent exposure
- Non-consensual acts of sexual nature
- Sexual assault by rideshare drivers
- Sexual assault by teachers, coaches, doctors, or priests
As long as you have suffered any of the above, Goodwin-Moreno Law Firm can help you sue and get compensated for the damages caused.
The following are effects of sexual assault that the plaintiff may seek to recover money in damages for:
- Psychological counseling
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and depression
Who Can Sue for Rape?
Anyone who has been the victim of non-consensual sexual acts can sue. There are third parties who can also sue for rape, and that is:
- If they witnessed the assault happening, they can go ahead and sue
- If it is the assault of a child, the parent should go ahead and sue for rape.
- In circumstances where the victim dies due to the assault, the family may be able to sue when their loved one dies.
California Sexual Abuse Laws
These are laws that are made to protect residents from non-consensual sex. They cut both the definitions of sexual crimes and their punishments. With the availability of these laws, one can sue their molesters in civil court.
Acts of rape and forced intimacy are classified differently. Rape is forced penetration with another by force, threats, or when the victim is drugged or unconscious.
Oral copulation is whereby the victim is forced to use their mouth for oral purposes with the perpetrator’s sexual organs or vice versa. It is usually where the victim is under threat of violence, either at that time or soon.
California sexual abuse laws treat the abusers differently depending on the victim’s age and other specifics of the crime. For example, unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 18 is considered separate since it involves a minor. The legal age of having sex in California is 18 years. Rape is punishable by imprisonment of six to thirty years; it depends on the nature of the sexual offense. Some even get life imprisonment in cases where the victim died or was a small child.
A rapist can get between four to sixteen years, while sexual battery is punishable by $10,000 or even imprisonment. The offender’s age also contributes to the sentence given in that an offender who is eighteen years or older gets from twenty-five years to life imprisonment.
Some laws make it possible for victims of childhood sexual assault to get their justice. A window has been opened to help the victims file for these cases, and it gives them enough time to decide if they will file. In his modern-day era, where people are starting to have open conversations about their sexual abuse experiences, it is easier for more people to come forward. ” Me too” is/ was a hashtag that brought into light how much molestation most individuals went through as minors. There is a six-year window open to file criminal charges against rapists. So yeah, victims of sexual assault can sue after a long time.
Sexual Abuse Attorneys in California
There is a growth pattern among people coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse even from decades ago. Sexual assault and abuse are offenses that leave victims with lots of trauma. Most effects on victims are long-term since they affect an individual’s emotional and psychological being.
There are several mandatory steps to follow after an assault: seeking medical help, reporting the attack, saving your evidence, and finding an attorney. Here, we will focus on having an attorney specializing in sexual abuse. There are still a few firms that have expertise in sexual abuse; the Goodwin-Moreno Law Firm is one of the few, and therefore one has to be careful of their choice.
Justice systems work; differently; there are criminal and civil. In filing a case against the individual, the attorney can also sue the institution since they are responsible. The civil justice system is where survivors/victims can claim monetary damages against the defendant. The attorney makes sure you are compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, emotional turmoil, physical injuries, and suffering.
What is Clergy Sexual Abuse?
It is when someone from a religious institution uses their position of power to exploit, harass and abuse an individual who is part of their congregation. An example of clergy abuse is an assault by a Catholic church priest during counseling sessions with a church community member. Consent is simply a Yes or a No, and for rape to take place, a No was said. But, do they understand consent with someone as powerful as a priest, or is it about their power. In the setting of a counseling session, consent is not possible since the victim doesn’t have that much choice.
In most cases, the church covers up allegations of sexual abuse since they want to protect their reputation and dont care about the alleged victims. Every day there are hundreds of priests accused of sexual abuse.
The good news is that more and more lawyers and law firms are experts in taking up such cases that involve large institutions and seeking justice. It is essential to contact them if you are involved in a sexual assault case.
Other institutions notorious for covering up sexual abuses are schools and hospitals. In 2019, a gynecologist was reported by at least seven women who claimed to have been touched inappropriately, and others even raped. The medical institution he was working with allowed him to keep his job. It is common since they want to maintain a good reputation.
Most schools have also faced allegations of sexual harassment of students by teachers, coaches, and other faculty members over the last decades. Victims come out every day to report the abuse they went through several years ago, but the teachers or coaches still keep their jobs. It shows us that most institutions do not care about the interests of their people.
Statute of Limitations on a Sexual Assault Claim.
What is the statute of limitations? It is a statute prescribing a period of limitation for bringing actions of certain kinds. In California, adult survivors of sexual abuse had ten years from the date of the last act to file a civil action against the abuser to pursue damages. However, from January 2020 until January 1, 2023, it was stated by the California governor that the statute of limitations was extended. Victims of all ages can now bring their molesters to justice and file lawsuits during this period. From January 2023, there will be an allowance of upto 40 years or within five years after the discovery of the assault. If you have been a victim of sexual assault as a minor or an adult, you can now pursue action since it is in the law.
The victim should seek assistance from an expert attorney or lawyers to help in gathering evidence and file claims against their perpetrators.
Can you Claim Compensation After your Abuser has Died?
It is impossible to sue a dead person, but the victim can take the abuser’s estate to court. It may be impossible to sue the abuser’s estate if they have already been distributed; therefore, it is vital to act fast upon the abuser’s death. The answer to this question heavily depends on the circumstances and facts of the assault and death. There is a statute of limitations regarding cases of sexual assault, but it is advisable to consult expertise first. Earlier in the article, we had stated that one can su the institution in which their abuser works. In this case of the death of the abuser, then one can go ahead and sue the organization of the deceased as long as there is evidence to show that the assault took place in the course of their employment. The institutions will be held liable for their actions.
If you have suffered molestation and your molester has died, a claim can still be made against their estate.
Effects of Sexual Assault
The effects of sexual assault are both short-term and long-term. They can be grouped into three; physical, emotional, and mental.
- Difficulty walking
- Bleeding from the vagina or the anus. This may have long-term effects on the victim.
- Difficulty walking
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Sexually transmitted infections and diseases
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Hiv and Aids.
It is essential to know that after an incident of assault, the individual should rush to the nearest medical center. Also, if you are a third party in an assault, consider rushing the victim to the nearest hospital.
- Rape is a traumatizing event and, therefore, may e followed by sadness, uncontrollable crying, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, and the loss of energy.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD) whereby the patient may have sleepless nights, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and an uncontrollable thought process. They tend to live in constant fear of the unknown.
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts.
- dissociation, the victim may feel the need to push away everyone or everything as a coping mechanism
After one goes through a traumatic event such as rape and molestation, one should seek therapy and counseling. They should have full support and encouragement from who they are surrounded by.
After a sexual assault incident, the victim may develop a negative outlook on life and feel unworthy. They may seek other coping mechanisms like drug and substance abuse or engage in self-harm activities.
The emotional effects are:
- Anger and blame
- Loss of control
- Constant fear
- Self-blame and guilt
What to do After Being Sexually Abused
Sexual abuse is rampant, and cases are growing every day. The emotional distress and abuse that comes with it are troubling and have led to suicide among different victims. After sexual abuse, one should consider doing the following:
- Call and report. Several hotlines are available for the reporting of rape. Reach for your phone and call. You can also call 911 to report and give details. Details are vital to building your case, so as long as you are conscious, Take note of the street or uber you are in and even the details of your abuser. For example, he had sunnies and a hat. You should also contact someone you know and narrate the whole story as it may seem difficult. They are known as the first contact witness.
- Seek medical attention. After the rape, you will go through a forensic examination. You shall also be screened for pregnancy, HIV, and STIs to help prevent their occurrence.
- Preserve the evidence of rape. After you are safe, this is the second most crucial step of the process. Whether you have decided to sue or not, preserve the evidence. Do not shower or wash your clothes since it may eliminate the blood, semen, saliva, or hair that is strong evidence. It is essential to go to the hospital first because of the present evidence. Preserving evidence helps build a strong case against the perpetrator.
- You can decide whether to sue or not but most importantly, sue. It might not be immediately after the assault, but the statute limitation gives a window of upto 40 years. You may not be in the space to sue yet, but once you get there, you should sue. This is why you should preserve the evidence. It will give the lawyers something to work with for a great settlement value.
Justice being served is a part of healing for some victims. Suing the molester also ensures that they are kept behind bars, and there will be no more victims of their acts. Get support from Goodwin-Moreno Law Firm in California to help you with sexual abuse.