Sexual abuse of adults happens in a variety of settings. Any sexual contact between adults may be abusive unless all involved consent to the activity.
Many sexual assaults are easy to identify and a civil lawsuit provides an opportunity for justice in those cases. Often, another person or entity that allowed the assault may also be held responsible. For instance, an apartment complex should provide adequate security to its residents in order to prevent criminal assault.
Where there is unequal power or control, acquiescence may not be consent. For instance, individuals in positions of trust – such as mental health therapists, physicians, lawyers, clergy, police officers and others – should never make sexual contact with a person in their professional relationship.
If you feel uncomfortable about something that has happened, talk to a civil lawyer. Together we can explore whether the law provides a remedy for you.
Sexual abuse can have physical and emotional consequences. Medical treatment for injuries sustained in the abuse may be necessary, as well as treatment for medical conditions transmitted by the abuser. Emotional ramifications are often lifelong. A victim may require therapy for conditions like PTSD or depression.
Victims deserve to be fully compensated for medical expenditures and emotional damages caused by the abuse. The criminal justice system is only aimed at punishing the abuser and does little to help the victim and nothing to hold those who facilitated the abuse accountable. A civil lawsuit can help abuse survivors receive the compensation they need to move on with their lives.
Victims often assume that if their perpetrator has no money, then the victim cannot file a lawsuit. But there are often ways to hold perpetrators and enablers responsible despite this fact. Adult victims may sue their perpetrators and other people or companies who facilitate the abuse, including:
Victims have widely varying feelings about publicly sharing their stories. Some are so filled with shame and humiliation that they never come forward at all. Others want to bring public shame on the perpetrator and so they will seek media attention to shine a light on the conduct of the abuser and enabler.
There are ways to allow victims to make choices about privacy within the context of a civil case. Children’s cases are always filed using only the child’s initials rather than their name. But in some cases, even the adult’s name may be kept secret and the lawsuit filed using fictitious names to protect a victim’s privacy. Both choices have pros and cons that can be discussed with your lawyer.
Every employee of Koller Trial Law is trauma-informed and understands the need for extreme confidentiality.