Sexual assault and sexual abuse is a major problem in every society in the world, and the United States is no exception. Almost 18%, or sixty million, women are the victims of sexual assault, abuse or attempted sexual assault (15% completed, 3% attempted). About 3% of men have experienced sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in their lifetime as well; however, 90% of victims are female, making this crime almost exclusively sex-based.
Nearly half of assault occurs at or near the victim's home, by a perpetrator known to them. Yet another 48% of attacks happen either commuting from work or school or while running errands, at the workplace, or at school. Over half of all victims are young adults, aged 18-34
, and 82% of all victims are between 18-64.
The consequences of sexual assault or sexual abuse can be devastating. The majority of victims suffer from PTSD - one third of victims reporting symptoms nearly a year after the event. A high percentage of victims contemplate or attempt suicide, and the percentage of rape victims who incur moderate to severe distress is higher than for any other violent crime. The experience of a victim can affect their entire lives
: rape victims are more likely to become addicts, experience issues at work or school, and report problems with their closest relationships to friends and family.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted or sexually abused, there are two ways to pursue justice through the law: a criminal action, and a civil action. Criminal proceedings will be initiated by the State, but you can retain a personal injury lawyer to recover monetary damages to help you, the victim, in the face of such a traumatic incident.
What should you do if you or your loved one was sexually assaulted or sexually abused?
First, you should call the police and seek medical treatment for your injuries. At a care provider can administer a sexual assault exam, or "rape kit," to preserve evidence that may have been left by the perpetrator which will be crucial in both criminal and civil actions. This should be done immediately following the event if possible, as certain types of evidence can degrade or disappear by showering, changing clothes, etc.
A member of law enforcement will also be called in for further documentation of evidence, and will ask you for a statement which will commence the investigation into the crime committed.
You should also ask your healthcare provider about testing for pregnancy and a screen for any potential sexually transmitted diseases. Your healthcare provider will also refer you to counseling services for victims of sexual assault.
Next, you have two actions against the perpetrator: criminal, as defined about, and civil. A criminal action will result in prosecution of the defendant and potential prison time. A civil action exists to compensate the victim by suing the perpetrator or other responsible parties.
What are your options?
Sexual assault victims may be completely devastated after the attack - physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is an event that has the potential to impact their entire lives, and it can take a long time for a victim to heal from that trauma. While a criminal action can result in prison time and "justice served," it won't help to compensate the victim for all that they've lost.
In this case, you have the ability to retain a compassionate attorney who will fight judiciously to help reclaim some semblance of restitution - be it for economic damages (wages lost, medical and psychiatric treatment costs), emotional pain and distress, and/or to punish the ones responsible for the pain you've suffered.
In a number of situations, it may not just be the actual aggressor at fault. There a few cases where third parties may also be liable or partially responsible for the harm caused:
Apartment Complexes & Retail Stores - in cases where the assault took place in an apartment common area or on retail store property, the management of either can be found negligent or partially responsible for the attack if it is foreseeable that such attacks will occur and security was lax or conditions made it easier for such crimes to occur, e.g. poor lighting.
Employer - there are two instances where the employer may be at fault: either when the employer himself is responsible for the assault, or when your employer has negligently hired or failed to supervise the employee who was responsible for your assault.
In the first case, the employer is not only criminally and civilly liable for sexual assault, but they have violated Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, and you need to contact the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission to file an administrative charge.
In the second case, an employer can be held liable if they knew or should have known of the perpetrator's history of aggravated sexual assault or sexual violence and they did not take appropriate steps to safeguard your wellbeing, effectively setting up an unreasonably dangerous workplace.
School - the above cases for employers can also apply to schools that negligently hire teachers who go on to perpetrate sexual assault, and/or fail to take action when they knew or should have known that such crimes were taking place.
Texas has a deadline from when the crime took place to filing a civil action against any and all responsible parties, this is known as the Statute of Limitations. This deadline depends on the facts of the case and the age of the victim at the time of the offense. Victims can have a time period after the assault in which to file a civil action that is as short as five years, so time is of the essence in commencing action against those responsible.
Bring Justice to Those Responsible
Contact us today to bring justice to all of those responsible for this crime. A lawyer can help secure monetary damages to go towards putting your life back together and punish parties who may have been complicit in what happened to you. While criminal actions will put the perpetrator behind bars, a civil action is all about helping the victim recover from such a traumatic incident. Contact the Dr. Shezad Malik Law firm at 214-390-3189 or contact us via email. Handling sexual assault and sexual abuse cases across Texas.
Our consultation is free and no-obligation. There are no up-front costs to hire us – our fee comes from the final settlement or verdict.