If you have been sexually abused, you should first make sure you are safe. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Next, you should seek medical attention and consider reporting the abuse to the authorities.
You can seek crisis resources and further advice on what you should do if you have been sexually abused by calling the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at 800-656-4673 or speaking to someone online at online.rainn.org.
Victims of abuse may also take civil action against their abuser to recover damages related to physical injuries and mental and emotional suffering. You may wish to seek legal advice and representation. An attorney with our firm can tell you more about your options.
What Is Sexual Abuse?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), sexual abuse is any type of forced or unwanted sexual activity, including
- Touching or fondling
- Threats and coercion
- Rape and forced oral sex
- Taking advantage of those not able to consent (i.e., children, the elderly, and those with physical and mental disabilities)
Sexual abuse can happen to children and adults. Sadly, perpetrators are often people the victim knows, trusts, and even loves, such as a family member, friend, teacher, religious leader, or medical provider.
What Should You Do if You Are the Victim of Sexual Abuse?
According to Psychology Today, reporting abuse can be difficult for victims for various reasons, including personal feelings, societal pressure, and legal hurdles. However, remember that abuse is not your fault and that resources are available to help you physically, emotionally, and legally.
If you suffered a sexual assault, Planned Parenthood recommends that you:
- Get to a safe location and contact a trusted friend or loved one for help.
- Take measures to preserve physical evidence. You do not have to go to the authorities immediately. However, if you decide to report abuse to the police, the doctor or nurse who provides you with medical treatment can collect evidence from your body and clothing. If you can, do not shower or bathe, use the bathroom, brush your teeth, or comb your hair. If you must change clothes, bring them with you to the hospital or medical facility.
- Get medical help. You should seek treatment for your sexual abuse injuries. In addition, you may need to get tested and treated for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Seek support. Abuse victims can experience post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and fear. You may need help from a therapist, counselor, or crisis-support service. If you do not know how to obtain assistance in your area, contact RAINN.
- Consider going to the police. Sexual abuse is a crime. If you or someone you love is a victim, consider contacting your local law enforcement agency. We understand this can be a difficult decision, but it is the only way to bring the abuser to justice. Filing a police report also creates an official record for any civil action you decide to take.
- Get legal advice. Consider consulting with our attorneys about your legal options.
How Can Our Attorneys Help You Seek Justice?
You have the right to pursue monetary damages for losses related to your abuse. This may include compensation for:
- Emergency transportation and treatment
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Medical procedures
- Prescription medications
- Therapy and counseling
- Lost wages, benefits, and earnings
- Personal property damages
- Temporary housing or relocation
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering and mental anguish
- Any other economic or noneconomic losses stemming from abuse
An attorney with our firm can help you take action against your abuser or a third-party whose negligent actions led to your abuse, such as a company, government entity, school, or church. We will:
- Obtain physical data, police reports, witness statements, expert testimony, and other available case evidence
- Assess the value of your sexual abuse case and pursue fair compensation for your injuries and losses
- File your insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits
- Handle phone calls, emails, meetings, and other communications with insurance agents and opposing attorneys
- Work tirelessly to secure the compensation you need to get back on your feet
The statute of limitations in your state will dictate how long you have to pursue financial recovery for sexual abuse. Our lawyers can tell you more about the laws in your area and help you get started before time runs out.
Call Greenberg Gross for Help if You Have Been Sexually Abused
Our firm specializes in helping victims of sexual abuse, assault, and violence. We represent survivors and their families pursuing justice against individuals, institutions, businesses, and corporations. We do not back down from tough cases and prepare every case as though it is heading to trial.
We do not want to add to your stress with legal fees. We take cases on contingency, meaning we charge nothing upfront and only get paid if we secure awards for you. Call our offices today to learn more about working with our sexual abuse attorneys. We take cases nationwide. Contact us today for a free consultation.