Sexual assault is any sexual activity that is nonconsensual. According to a sexual assault lawyer, most sex assault cases are not reported because many victims do not know that what happens to them is a sexual assault before the law. Other victims fear that the court might not believe them because they don’t have any evidence. Most of the cases go unreported because the victims are afraid of public scrutiny. Crimes of sexual assault and rape are taken seriously because in most cases, they are about gaining control over the victim. However, people fail to know that it is usually not the victim’s fault to be sexually assaulted.
Once you report such cases, you are not only helping the victim but also others from being sexually assaulted by the accused, because chances of them doing the act again are high. Sice it is not easy to discuss sexual matters with the police, you can request a police officer of the same sex to report to them that you have been sexually assaulted and file charges against the perpetrator through the help of a sexual assault lawyer.
1. Criminal And Civil Claims
The burden of proof in the criminal court for a sexual assault crime is high. The case can be prosecuted in both criminal and civil court and it must be proven without a reasonable doubt. After the perpetrator is sentenced in criminal court, you can take them to civil court who will charge them to compensate you. The court orders the perpetrator to cater for;
- The medical bills that accrued to your treatment resulting to the assault
- Pay you if you lost your employment or failed to get wages at your workplace due to the case
- Pay for any bills of physical trauma and emotional counseling since the victim has to go through counseling
- Any other damages and expenses that occurred due to the assault. If they caused any damage of property or other related damages.
According to a sexual assault lawyer, depending on how and where the assault happened, you can also sue a third party for the assault. If for example the assault happened at work, you have the right to sue the employer for failing to do a background check on the perpetrator. If the assault happened in a building or in a business, you can sue the owners for failing to provide enough security for the residents, or failing to provide enough lighting.
If you are married, you can also sue the perpetrator on behalf of the spouse. This is because sexual assaults can be a cause of anger, fear and loss of sexual intimacy between couples, and this can affect their relationship. According to Michigan statutory rape laws, if an adult is found to be engaged in sexual activities with someone who is below the Michigan age of consent, he/she will be accused of commiting a crime.
2. Characteristics Of Sexual Assault And The Victims
- Most of the sexual assault crimes go unreported
According to a sexual assault lawyer research, about 78% of these crimes are not reported to the police. Another big percentage shows that the crimes are reported long after they have taken place and not immediately. Victims have different reasons for not reporting these incidents and some of them claim that it did not seem important to be reported, the crime was considered a personal matter, fear of being victimized by the society, and they thought that the police could not help.
- Privacy and confidentiality
This contributes to one of the reasons sexual assaults go unreported. Most of the victims consider the assault a personal matter that the police should not be involved in, because of fear of being publicized. These victims also hardly seek help from formal or informal support. Unlike other crimes like robbery, the victim is likely to share the incident with people closest to them only. This could be a family member, neighbor or friend.
- There is a high risk group
Comparing the statistics, it is evident that some groups are more vulnerable to sexual assaults than others are. Women have the biggest percentage of being the victim of sexual assault. They represent more than half the number of sexually assaulted people. They can also fall victim of such crimes more than once. Some of these women had a similar encounter when they were young, and sexual assaults perpetrators for young children are committed by close relatives. Few males fall victim for sexual assault, they have a high percentage for the cases of young children. Women with disabilities is another disadvantaged group. Others are single, separated or divorced women, and women who are unemployed and have low income.