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How Sexual Abuse Can Impart Lifelong Damage

September 17, 2021  ·  By HM&M

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Victims of sexual abuse face a specific type of distress as they recuperate from the horrific experiences they’ve endured. Often, the injuries they deal with are emotional and mental—and can impact them for the rest of their lives. 

In almost every case, victims of sexual abuse often suffer for years, blaming themselves for the criminal behavior of their abuser. This is especially true when the abuser was affiliated with a large, trusted institution, such as a diocese, church, Boy Scout troop, or medical organization. 

In instances where a large institution is involved, knows about the abuse, and fails to protect victims, victims could have grounds for a lawsuit. Each situation is unique, and an experienced attorney can tell you whether your experience would justify a lawsuit. 

If it does, the result of a lawsuit is often some type of compensation for a lifetime of medical intervention and distress imparted by the abuse. This might be hard to explain to someone who’s unfamiliar with the trauma a sexual abuse victim faces, so we break it down in this post. 

Sexual Abuse Victims Can Face Mental and Emotional Injuries For Years

According to RAINN, the world’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, the effects of sexual violence can include: 

  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse
  • Panic attacks
  • Self-harm
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders

This is a non-exhaustive list, and many of these conditions can be chronic. Additionally, these types of effects can be hard to see. Depression or panic attacks might not be visible to someone else like another type of injury, such as a broken bone. 

These mental and emotional injuries also have a number of “invisible” costs. Using the same analogy, breaking a bone might result in costs from an emergency room visit, an operation, equipment such as crutches, follow-up appointments, and physical therapy. But often, victims of sexual abuse who suffer from something like depression as a result might have a harder time quantifying their costs, though it’s not impossible to do so. 

In fact, a high-quality attorney calls on their own experience and mental health experts to help quantify the costs of such injuries. 

What This Means for a Lawsuit

Often, victims in sexual abuse lawsuits can be awarded compensation for their injuries. That’s why it’s so important for people to realize the lifelong impact of sexual abuse. Though the injuries may not be visible to someone else, that doesn’t mean they’re not life-altering. 

And, with the proper support—including steps like pursuing justice for what happened to them and earning compensation from the court—victims can overcome their horrific circumstances and lead full, happy lives. 

Do You Need to Discuss Your Abuse With an Attorney?

If you’re a victim of sexual abuse, you may want to discuss your situation with an attorney and determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit. You may be entitled to compensation for what you endured. 

Hurley McKenna & Mertz has the experience and resources necessary to get justice from the large and powerful institutions that may have failed to prevent or stop your abuse. Even if the abuse took place years ago, the law can permit you to seek damages from those institutions.

The first step is to reach out. Your consultation is completely free and confidential. 

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