San Diego Sexual Abuse and Assault Attorneys
Experienced, caring attorneys protecting sexual abuse and assault victims of California
Victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse won’t hesitate to describe the ordeal as life-altering, no matter who the perpetrator may be. Anyone can become an attacker, even those we trust the most such as a teacher, coach, caregiver, religious leader – even a family member. Victims are often left with a lifetime of painful emotional, psychological, and sometimes even physical damage after a sexual assault. Ensuring these victims have their day in court and obtain justice is important to being able to move on with their lives.
At Taylor & Ring, our passion lies in seeking retribution on behalf of victims of sexual assault and abuse in San Diego. Our expansive knowledge of the law allows us to carefully guide sexual abuse and assault survivors through their legal options.
What is institutionalized sexual abuse?
Institutionalized sexual abuse is the behavior of an abuser who preys on a victim over whom he or she has power or authority. While this term conjures up thoughts of sexual abuse in prisons, group homes for children, or nursing homes, attacks are not limited to controlled environments. They can occur in a variety of circumstances – each just as damaging – and often times the victim and predator know one another.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that 51.1% of female victims reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance, while 52.4% of male victims report being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger.
Authoritative relationships that promote a shift in power dynamics to create sexual abuse victims can be found in every corner of our lives. Some of these relationships that turn violent include:
- School employees who choose their young victims by paying them extra attention, and engaging in inappropriate relationships with the intent to engage in a sexual encounter.
- Religious figures who sexually abuse or assault children under their supervision while hiding behind their religious institutions.
- An employer-employee relationship where pressure is placed on a subordinate to engage in sexual acts to further his or her career, simply to remain employed with the company, or to obtain some other preferential benefit.
- Parents, step-parents, and guardians who sexually abuse the children. Some of these situations may lead to the child entering the world of illegal sex trafficking against his or her will.
- Instructors or athletic coaches, such as Jerry Sandusky, who groom their prodigies intending to sexually assault them.
These predators are in positions of trust, making them all the more dangerous because they are less likely to be suspected early on. This permits the abusive behavior to continue for extended periods of time increasing the number of victims who will experience life-long damage. Bringing these attackers to justice is the single most important task for victims of sexual violence. It allows the victim to be heard, which helps to begin the arduous healing process.
Your attacker may not be the only party to blame. Negligent behavior of anyone who placed you in harm’s way to be sexually assaulted could also hold liability for the abuse you endured.
Sexual assault comes in many forms
Sexual assault statistics are almost unbelievable, which is what violent abusers count on. A sexual assault occurs in the United States every two minutes. Think about that for a moment. That means there are 720 men, women and children who experience sexual violence every day – that we know of. We can’t predict how many instances go unreported.
Assault, as defined by California sexual assault laws, is generally any form of unwanted sexual contact that the victim has not, or could not legally consent to. Age, mental or physical disability, or cognitive impairment can remove an individual’s ability to consent turning the act into an assault. Some examples of sexual assault are:
- Rape and attempted rape
- Sexual exploitation, including the taking of photographs
- Inappropriate or unwanted touching
- Any unwanted penetration of the victim
- Sexual abuse
- Any and all forced sexual acts
Keep in mind that sexual assault does not automatically equate to a physically forced confrontation. Encounters may be initiated through an assertion of pressure, manipulation, or aggressive coercion.
Paying attention to the signs of sexual abuse or assault
Many people may believe they would recognize the signs of sexual abuse or a sexual assault, especially in a loved one they know so well. What happens when your child or spouse is embarrassed, ashamed, or feels threatened by the perpetrator and becomes skilled at hiding the signs? It may not be so easy to pick up on, or he or she may portray events in his or her life that cause you to write it off as something more benign.
Educating yourself and your friends and family on what to be watchful for can make all the difference between stopping the abuse earlier, or someone becoming a victim at all. Remain vigilant and learn the signs:
- Paying more attention to an intended victim by showing preferential treatment, making him or her feel special, offering gifts or trinkets without reason, and paying compliments are all designed to endear the predator to his or her prey.
- Plying victims with drugs or alcohol, with or without their knowledge or consent, is a tactic used to make them more compliant. The predator may write off the event as being a mistake that both parties engaged in as a way to place equal blame on the victim. An attacker may also share drugs or alcohol with children as a means to giving them a false perception that they are on equal ground with the abuser, to minimize the illegality of it.
- Isolation is another strategy employed by abusers. Whether it’s an at-risk child who has an already fragile support system, or an adult in a romantic relationship with a partner who abuses him or her; systematically removing individuals in the victim’s life who could step in and recognize the violence is a goal to perpetuating the abuse.
How are abusers brought to justice in San Diego?
Not only in California, but across the country, there are avenues for sexual assault and abuse victims to reclaim their power by seeing their abusers brought to justice through both a civil and criminal suit.
- Criminal suits are brought by the state with the intent to punish the wrongdoer for his or her behavior through incarceration.
- Civil suits are intended to have the perpetrator compensate the victim for his or her ordeal.
Both punishments are intended to send a message to the attacker, and to society as a whole, that sexual assault and abuse are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
If you have been attacked, or your loved one or friend has disclosed an attack to you, it is extremely important to notify the police immediately to make an official report. As difficult as it may be, timely reporting is incredibly important in these cases to preserve as much evidence as possible to help prosecute your case on the criminal side. It will also be largely helpful in assisting with a civil case against the person who assaulted you so they can be punished for the significant harm he or she caused to you.
At Taylor & Ring, we want to be there as part of your support system throughout your case to provide you with the ability to heal and begin your life again. Our attorneys understand that fear and shame are two of the biggest hurdles to overcome before talking about an attack, and you will need a support system to help you come forward to bring your attacker to justice.
Pursuing compensation for a San Diego sexual assault claim
If you are a survivor of sexual assault and abuse, we can help you hold your attacker accountable by pursuing a civil claim to obtain financial compensation for you. Whether or not your attacker has been convicted of criminal charges, you are still eligible to file a civil suit for the sexual abuse or assault you endured. Compensation for losses and damages that you may be awarded include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning potential
- Punitive damages (if applicable)
California has expanded the statute of limitations on sexual assault
In 2018, California voted to extend the law on the statute of limitations for pursuing sexual assault claims. Survivors have 10 years during which to bring their attackers to justice through state and federal criminal and civil suits. Survivors of childhood abuse now have until the age of 40 to make their claims.
As of January 2020, survivors of sexual violence who discover a sexual assault-related injury or illness are entitled to file an action within five years of the date that the injury or illness was first discovered.
Talk to our knowledgeable San Diego sexual assault attorneys today
The compassionate San Diego sexual assault lawyers at Taylor & Ring are skilled at bringing sexual abusers to justice. We’ll protect your rights and stand by your side during the legal process. Our job is to secure the compensation you need so you can begin to heal. Talk to our lawyers today at 310-776-6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.