Sexual abuse, especially when it’s at the hands of large institutions such as a diocese, church, Boy Scout troop, or medical organization, often involves more than one victim.
According to RAINN, perpetrators of rape are often serial criminals. That means the odds of a sexual abuse offender repeating sexual abuse or other crimes is high. However, victims have the power to stop this cycle.
By speaking out and seeking justice for what happened to them, victims can raise awareness and stop the institutional cover-ups that often allow abusers to continue their horrific crimes. However, we recognize that this isn’t an easy path.
RAINN also reports that only 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. This is often because victims feel intense shame, confusion, denial, and fear about confronting their trauma, so they may not always feel comfortable coming forward. And in many unfortunate instances, the institutions created to help victims actually fail them. Consider these examples:
- In recent news, the FBI was found to have botched an investigation into predator Larry Nassar, who sexually abused more than 100 members of USA Gymnastics.
- Multiple Catholic dioceses knew about ongoing sexual abuse and failed to remove pedophile priests from parishes.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created a hotline to report sexual abuse, but allegedly used the service to protect the Church from potential lawsuits that could have resulted in financial losses.
- The Boy Scouts of America failed to protect tens of thousands of children from known sexual offenders, and were even accused of trying to prevent those victims from filing claims.
However, victims hold incredible power in their ability to speak up and hold their abusers accountable. With the help of an experienced attorney, victims can not only gain justice and take a powerful step in healing from their trauma, they can raise enough awareness to stop abusers from repeating their crimes.
Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim is an Act of Bravery
If your sexual abuse occurred at the hands of an institution that failed to protect you or take action against an abuser, you could file a claim to seek justice for your experience.
Though coming to terms with your abuse is incredibly difficult, the act of filing a claim is a selfless act of bravery. By raising awareness of the crimes committed against you, you shine a spotlight on the offending institution and abuser—forcing them to take action to protect future potential victims.
In most cases, sexual abuse victims can also raise this awareness while maintaining anonymity in the court. This layer of protection can help victims avoid public scrutiny, while still stopping the potentially ongoing abuse.
Reporting Abuse Holds the Institution in Question Responsible
As mentioned, filing a claim against an institution that failed to protect you forces it to reckon with internal shortcomings, poor management, public scrutiny, and more. Organizations involved in a lawsuit are often put in the spotlight and have no choice but to make sweeping changes to remain afloat.
By speaking out, you could be kickstarting a massive overhaul in an institution that prevents future potential victims from ever being in your position.
You May Find That You’re Not Alone
Though facing sexual abuse can be an incredibly isolating feeling, speaking out about your experience may actually show you that you’re not alone. Though it’s never positive to see multiple victims of sexual abuse, our experience shows that sexual abuse in a larger institution often involves more than one victim. There is power in numbers, and one victim speaking up can encourage others to take a stand, too.
Not only can this lessen the burden of seeking justice, it can put additional pressure on the courts and organizations in question to institute sweeping changes that protect people and prevent future abuse.
Take the First Step in Stopping Abuse
If you’re a victim of sexual abuse and you want to seek justice, you’re making a brave decision. At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, you’ll be treated with the respect and discretion you deserve—and we’ll offer you a free consultation to determine your rights.
Contact us today to learn more.