No one should ever feel pressured into doing something against their will. Sexual coercion is considered a crime in California if a person is forced, tricked, pressured, or threatened into unwanted sexual contact. While the state doesn’t have a specific law criminalizing sexual coercion, the issue is addressed in other laws relating to sexual assault.
If you have been affected by sexual coercion, you can file a civil case. Through legal action, you can recover damages for the harm you endured.
What Is Sexual Coercion?
Anyone can commit sexual coercion, and anyone can also be the survivor of sexual misconduct. These wrongful acts occur in romantic relationships and those at work, school, a party, online, or between acquaintances, friends, or family. Saying “yes” while under duress is not giving consent freely. California notes that anyone under 18 cannot legally give consent.
There are many tactics perpetrators may use to coerce someone into sexual activity. Yet, regardless of the tactic used, sexual coercion is considered a crime in California. Saying “yes” because you were forced, tricked, pressured, or threatened is not the same as giving consent freely. What happened is not your fault.
What Are the Laws Related to Sexual Coercion in California?
Under California Penal Code § 261.6, consent is defined as “positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved.”
The keywords here are freely and voluntarily, meaning you have the right to choose what you do. The law also protects you from verbal or emotional pressure or manipulation.
You Can Pursue Financial Recovery After Enduring Sexual Assault
If you endured sexual coercion, you have legal recourse to seek damages for your physical and emotional harm. Financial recovery in your case could account for:
Medical Bills and Rehabilitation Costs
You deserve compensation for your necessary healthcare expenses, which may include:
- Blood tests
- Imaging scans
- Doctors’ appointments
- Psychological counseling
- A Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK)
We will consult with your healthcare team to learn about the extent of your trauma. Then, we’ll determine what you’re owed and pursue compensation accordingly. We don’t want your medical expenses to cost you anything out of pocket.
Lost Income and Job-Related Benefits
Your trauma may have caused you to miss time from work. This may make it difficult to support yourself. Compensation could account for your lost tips, bonuses, and income while you get back on your feet.
Pain and Suffering
Financial recovery doesn’t just extend to your financial losses; it can also account for your physical and emotional trauma. California generally does not cap how much you can seek for pain and suffering.
These are just some of the losses you can recover through legal action. It’s important to know that your civil case against the perpetrator is different than the criminal case against them. The criminal case against the perpetrator will not yield compensation. Yet, your civil case could.
You Have the Right to Partner with a Sexual Coercion Lawyer
You have legal rights as a sexual abuse survivor. Those rights include the ability to partner with an attorney who can support you throughout your journey to recovery. If you partner with a legal representative, they can support you by:
- Listening to you, answering your questions, and guiding you through the legal process every step of the way
- Filing your case within specific deadlines
- Gathering the evidence required to support your claim
- Accompanying you to any required meetings, such as interviews or hearings
- Representing you on a contingency-fee (no-win, no-fee) basis
- Protecting your rights while pursuing fair compensation on your behalf
Your lawyer will advocate for you through the legal process and everything it entails. While you focus on your health, future, and well-being, they’ll champion your legal rights. You deserve an advocate during this tumultuous time.
You Must Act Within the Statutory Deadline to Protect Your Right to Damages
A new law enacted in 2019 extends the time limit for survivors of sexual assault to file a claim under California’s statute of limitations. Adult survivors have anywhere from three to 10 years to file their lawsuits. Their filing periods depend on their age at the time of the incident, when they discovered the assault, and other varying factors.
An attorney can evaluate your case and determine how long you have to file your lawsuit. They can also manage everything your case entails, from communicating with the involved parties to pursuing what you deserve.
Our Attorneys Are Dedicated to Helping Survivors of Sexual Coercion
At Greenberg Gross, we understand the courage and strength it takes to come forward as a survivor of sexual assault. Our attorneys fight for justice and compensation by holding the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable for their wrongful and harmful actions.
We want to help you, too. Contact our team for a free and confidential consultation today to learn about your legal options.