Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Have You or a Loved One Suffered Sexual Abuse?
Ask an Abuse Lawyer for Legal Advice
Sexual abuse refers to any unwanted sexual activity, often occurring by use of force or coercion on one party by another. This may include any kind of abuse of a sexual nature, including rape. The majority of sexual abuse is perpetrated by a family member or acquaintance and the victims of this abuse can result in lifelong damage including physical, financial, emotional, and mental. Sexual abuse is a particularly devastating kind of abuse, and victims often struggle to make a full emotional recovery and can suffer debilitating physical consequences as well.
If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For additional support and resources, contact The National Sexual Assault Hotline here. Abuse victims should remember that they are not alone, and seek help from available resources both to hold their abuser accountable and also to pursue a physical and mental recovery. If you or a loved one have suffered sexual abuse, you might be eligible for legal compensation. Contact a sexual abuse lawyer to learn more about your options for legal recourse as well as to discover resources for recovery.
What are the Statistics on Sexual Abuse?
The data collected on sexual abuse reveals a disturbing correlation between abuse and youth. The majority of sexual abuse and rape victims experience the abuse beginning before the age of 18, and are often abused by a family member or acquaintance. Unfortunately, many of these instances of abuse are not reported. Let’s go over some important sexual abuse-related statistics:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the estimated lifetime cost of rape as a population economic burden was nearly $3.1 trillion in 2014, including $1.2 trillion in medical costs, $1.6 trillion in lost work productivity, $234 billion in criminal justice activities, and $36 billion in other costs such as property loss or damage.
- Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).
- More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance; for male victims, more than half (52.4%) reported being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger according to the NSVRC.
- An estimated 13% of women and 6% of men have experienced sexual coercion in their lifetime according to the NSVRC.
- 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact according to the NSVRC.
- The self-reported incidence of rape or sexual assault more than doubled from 1.4 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2017 to 2.7 in 2018 according to the NSVRC.
- According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 11 million women reported their first rape prior to age 18. For men, 1.5 million men first experienced rape prior to age 18.
Who is Responsible for Sexual Abuse?
Anyone can perpetrate sexual abuse, though there is often a factor of authority, power, age, or another element of coercion at play. While sexual abuse is generally perpetrated by someone who knows the victim, it may occur between strangers as well. Above all, it is important to remember that the only person responsible for sexual abuse is the perpetrator themselves. Regardless of how the victim was behaving, speaking, dressing, etc. before the abuse, full legal responsibility lies with the perpetrator. People that might be responsible for sexual abuse include:
- A stranger. While it is not the most common, it is not entirely unheard of for strangers to commit sexual abuse against each other. Parties, clubs, and other social settings are all environments where a stranger may obtain access to their victim, but sexual abuse by a stranger can occur anywhere. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), only 7% of perpetrators of sexual abuse were strangers to the victim.
- An acquaintance. It is unfortunately not uncommon for acquaintances such as friends of friends, coaches, teachers, doctors, and anyone else who falls into a category which the victim is vaguely in contact but not on an intimate level of relationship with to perpetrate sexual abuse. According to RAINN, 59% of sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement were perpetrated by an acquaintance.
- Family members. According to RAINN, 34% of the perpetrators of sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement consisted of family members of the victims. This percentage could include spouses, significant others, and non-spouse relatives.
Do You Have a Claim for Sexual Abuse?
If you or a loved one have been sexually abused, you might be eligible for compensation through the legal system. Contact a sexual abuse attorney to discuss your situation and the next steps to take pursue legal recourse for the incident. Depending on the nature of you or your family member’s injuries due to the abuse, your attorney may identify possible claims for:
- Medical expenses. Injuries resulting from sexual abuse can include both physical injuries, sexually transmitted infections, and psychological wounds.
- Lost wages (or impairment of earning capacity) as a result of hospital stay-time, or, for the loved one of a sexual abuse victim, the necessity to temporarily or permanently extricate themselves from work in order to provide care.
- Lifecare expenses, such as life support or ongoing medical expenses for chronic injuries.
- Vocational rehabilitation.
- Pain and suffering, for both emotional and physical distress.
To learn more about the legislation surrounding sexual abuse or to discuss your eligibility for a claim, seek legal counsel from a sexual abuse attorney. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, you do not have to attempt recovery on your own. Contact a sexual abuse attorney to learn more about the resources available to you.