Additionally, many victims want to do everything they can to forget the incident and move on as quickly as possible. Reporting the rape means that you can't shower or change out of the clothes you were wearing during the assault in order to preserve evidence. It means you have to subject yourself to an invasive examination after having just been violated. It means the police might look at you skeptically and ask accusatory questions, such as what you were wearing or how much you had to drink.
As a culture, we need to do more to encourage all people to take accusations of sexual assault more seriously and to end the culture of victim-blaming. When the first Cosby accuser made headlines, too many people were quick to accuse her of chasing money. It was only after dozens of other women spoke out that mainstream society accepted the reality that a formerly beloved television hero was, in fact, a sexual predator.
Who Can Be A Victim Of Rape?
Although 91% of rape victims are female, it's important to remember that anyone can become a victim. Unfortunately, many people still look at female-on-male rape as a joke. Men are also extremely unlikely to report sexual assault because of this common perception. Rape can happen in between any two genders and between any two age groups.
Child Sex Crime Victims
There is nothing in life more disturbing than a predatory adult taking advantage of a child. Far too often, these victims are scared to speak out for fear of repercussions. In 93% of child sex abuse cases, the predator is close to the victim. This includes family members, friends and acquaintances of the parents, and authority figures such as priests and educators.
The pain of being a sexual abuse victim as a child creates scars which may never heal. Many victims struggle with psychological ailments for the rest of their lives. As a society, we need to do more to hold these predators responsible for preying upon the most vulnerable among us.
Cultures of Complicity
In many cases, the institutions which employ these predators are equally culpable in the abuse. Many powerful people close to the predator go into denial, or worse, sweep evidence under the rug in an effort to protect public perception. We've all hear about the cover-ups of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. And more recently, all Pennsylvania residents are familiar with the institutional cover-ups of sexual abuse by Penn State University.
Resources For Victims
If you or a family member has been victimized, know that you don't have to go through this alone. There are many resources out there that can help guide you through this painful time:
In many rape and sexual assault cases, the negligence of a third party played some role in the incident. We believe it's important to hold these individuals and organizations responsible when a preventable sexual assault happens due to their negligence. Property owners and authority figures have a duty to keep premises safe and to reduce the risk of crime as much as possible. Examples of locations that need to be properly safeguarded include:
- Apartment buildings
- Bars and nightclubs
- Schools and universities
- Parking lots
- Places of employment
There are a variety of negligent acts which can occur before, during, or after the assault. Common examples include:
- Inadequate or incompetent security
- Inadequate lighting in outdoor areas
- Management attempting to cover up the incident to save face (e.g. University officials in campus rapes)
- Failure to perform criminal background checks on employees or tenants
- Failure to contact the police
Holding the perpetrator criminally responsible is the top priority in these cases. But like most crimes, in rapes and sexual assaults there are often several peripheral factors which allowed the crime to happen. It's important to ask ourselves how others could have stepped in to reduce the risk of such a heinous crime happening on their property or in their institutions.
Financial compensation won't erase the past. But the reality is that victims face a wide range of difficulties in the aftermath of a sexual assault. Many victims require extensive therapy, and not all of them have the financial means to afford it. Additionally, many victims have their professional lives affected. A successful lawsuit can help to punish those who could have prevented the crime, and to help victims more easily move on with their lives.
We understand the deep pain you're experiencing right now. The thought of filing a lawsuit may seem overwhelming, but it could also help you to recover more quickly. When you're ready to pursue your legal options, we'll be ready to listen.