Sexual abuse is one of the most heinous crimes a person can endure, especially when the abuse was committed by people they knew, loved, and trusted. In cases involving a privileged or powerful person sexually abusing those who do not share that privilege or power, perpetrators often get away with their crimes longer than abusers who are not shielded from the law by their equally powerful peers.
But no matter who commits these awful acts, many facts surrounding sexual abuse are often lost in the pain sexual abuse brings. For many sexual abuse survivors, trying to understand how this could happen and what to do about it imparts new waves of confusion, shame, and pain.
However, sexual abuse survivors have nothing to feel ashamed of. It takes bravery to confront a sexual abuser, and there are some surprising aspects of pursuing justice after being victimized by sexual abuse.
1. Sexual Abuse Is Never the Survivor’s Fault
Let us be extremely clear: sexual abuse is always the fault of the abuser, never the survivor. Many survivors may look for ways to rationalize the event(s) for various reasons. Some may do so as a way to make sense of the incredibly confusing and painful abuse. Others may do so in an attempt to move past the abuse and look for ways to prevent it from happening again, like dressing more conservatively or drinking less. What a victim wore or how much they drank is never an excuse for their abuser’s decision to violate their body and wellbeing.
This is the first thing a survivor must realize when pursuing justice through the legal system, no matter who tries to place the blame elsewhere.
2. Millions of Men Are Sexually Abused or Assaulted Annually
There’s no question that women experience sexual abuse and rape at staggeringly higher rates than men. Still, one in six men are sexually abused or assaulted as either boys or adults—and the number is likely much higher when taking into account unreported abuse, as well as acts of noncontact events such as verbal threats.
Western perceptions of masculinity (as well as feelings of shame, pain, and confusion) play a significant role in men remaining silent instead of confronting their abusers through a lawsuit.
And, in many cases, such as the ongoing Boy Scouts of America and Mormon Church sexual abuse lawsuits, many men may not know that others in their lives have been subjected to heinous sexual abuse, too.
Men (and women) may feel isolated in living with their sexual abuse. However, they are far from alone.
3. Transgendered People Are at a Higher Risk of Sexual Violence than Those of Other Genders
An increasing number of children, teens, and adults do not identify as male or female. TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students are at elevated risk of sexual abuse compared to college-aged males and females.
According to RAINN, 21% of TGQN college students have suffered sexual abuse—that’s 3% higher than non-TGQN females and 17% higher than non-TGQN males.
TGQN people have the same rights in a court of law as binary people, and an experienced sexual abuse attorney can help survivors understand what happened to them—and what they can do about it.
4. You Are Not Alone
Living with the pain of sexual abuse can be one of the most isolating and confusing situations a human can endure. But know this: you are not alone, and you have options for confronting the past and seeking justice and compensation against your abuser.
They never had a right to your body, mind, and spirit—and you have the resources to get the justice you deserve.
Trust Hurley McKenna & Mertz to Represent You and Your Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Whether you’ve lived with the pain of sexual abuse for years or were recently harmed, know that you have every right to seek justice and compensation. Our team has helped thousands of sexual abuse survivors take this step towards healing and justice by providing compassionate and experienced representation, and we’re ready to provide you with the same expertise and commitment.
When you’re ready, reach out to us for your free consultation. There’s no pressure or payment; we’re here to answer questions and help you plan for your journey ahead.