Victims of sexual abuse are often left with emotional and psychological damage that can last a lifetime. Dealing with the aftereffects of being sexually abused is not only painful for the victim, but can also be emotionally taxing on their loved ones. Unfortunately, many victims do not speak out against their perpetrators due to many different fears. If you or a loved one has endured the pain and suffering of sexual abuse, here’s why it’s critical to speak up.
Reasons Why Victims of Sexual Abuse Do Not Speak Out
There are so many reasons why victims of sexual abuse are reluctant to speak out. Here are the most common fears victims have about blowing the whistle on their perpetrator:
- Feelings of shame
- Fear they will not be believed
- Fear of being responsible and blamed for the abuse
- Fear of punishment
- Sharing the experience is too emotionally painful
- Fear of being ostracized
How Can Survivors of Sexual Abuse Protect Themselves?
Survivors of sexual abuse can protect themselves from further harm by knowing their rights. Speaking out against the person who committed the heinous act of sexual abuse will hold them accountable for their actions and prevent the abuse from happening to other victims.
Victims also have the legal right to pursue a civil suit against any organization in which the abuse may have occurred. For example, victims may be able to file a civil suit against:
- Foster care institutions – victims who have been sexually abused by foster care parents, children of foster parents, or friends in their social circle.
- Churches – victims who have been sexually abused by clergy members
Parents of minor children who have endured sexual abuse may also file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of their child. In the state of California, there is no criminal statute of limitation for sexual assault of a minor. However, there is a civil statute up to 26 years old.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Victims of Sexual Abuse
One of the most devastating experiences anyone can be forced to endure is sexual abuse. Not only is this a traumatizing experience, but the emotional and psychological damage in most cases is also irreversible. When trust has been broken through the act of sexual abuse, many victims are left confused, vulnerable, and alone while also not knowing where to turn for help.