Sexual assault is a very serious issue. Unfortunately, victims are sometimes hesitant to report their sexual abuse to law enforcement for one or more reasons: they’re afraid they won’t be believed, they feel ashamed about what happened, they feel the police won’t help them, or they do report it and grow frustrated because their case goes nowhere.
Whatever the situation may be, we understand the sensitivities involved with sexual assault cases and we know it can be difficult to speak up about what happened. Unwanted sexual contact is never okay, and if you’ve been sexually assaulted then you deserve justice and compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured.
One common misconception about sexual assault is that you must report it to the police immediately, or else you won’t be able to press charges. While it is best to contact the police as soon as possible after an assault, we understand that victims often feel as if they can’t come forward and tell anyone what happened. People can experience complicated and confusing emotions after enduring a traumatic experience, so if some time has passed since you were assaulted, please don’t let that prevent you from contacting a legal team who will fight for you.
What constitutes a sexual assault?
Despite what movies and TV might have you think, sexual assaults don’t only happen in dark alleys late at night, and anyone can be a victim of unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assaults happen in many different places and settings, including:
- In nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where potential victims are particularly vulnerable due to age, illness, or limited mobility
- In schools, universities, day care centers, or foster homes
- In the workplace
- At the doctor’s office
- At community clubs like Girl Scouts
It’s also critical to understand that the perpetrators of sexual assaults are often people known to you or close to you. There’s a misconception that the perpetrators are always strangers, but this is not true. Additionally, the term sexual assault includes unwanted touching, unwanted groping, and other unwanted sexual actions that happen against your will.
Who can be held responsible for a sexual assault?
While the perpetrator is clearly the person who deserves to be held responsible, there may be other parties who can be held responsible, including:
- The owner of the property where the assault occurred, due to negligent security and failure to provide a safe environment
- Anyone who failed to take action or discipline the perpetrator
- If the perpetrator is a police officer or a government official, then the relevant government entity may be held liable
What to do after a sexual assault
- If you’re able, get away from the perpetrator as soon as possible and move to a safe location
- Once you’re safe, call the police and tell them everything that happened
- In order to preserve any evidence, don’t take a shower or wash your hands
- While the incident is fresh in your mind, it’s helpful to write down all the details you remember
- Seek medical attention and get an STD test
- Contact a sexual assault lawyer who can help you hold your perpetrator responsible
- Take care of your mental health, whether it’s speaking with a therapist or joining a survivor support group
If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault or any type of sexual abuse, please contact us and learn how we can support you. You need an experienced Miami legal team who understands how to handle sexual assault cases and the sensitivities that are often involved. We look forward to hearing from you.