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9 Reasons People Don’t Sue for Sexual Assault

According to statistics, millions of people will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. There is no excuse for this crime, and victims can seek financial compensation in a lawsuit. Unfortunately, many victims never speak up and therefore never get the justice they deserve. At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, we have worked with many assault victims. Below, we list the most common reasons people delay picking up the phone and calling our Atlanta sexual assault attorneys.

They Fear No One Will Believe Them

Around 70-90% of all sexual assaults are not reported, and probably the number #1 reason is fear of not being believed. We wish society was more understanding. Fortunately, our law firm has had tremendous success suing on behalf of sexual assault victims. We have seen many juries award compensation to victims, so there are people who maintain an open mind about whether the defendant is guilty.

They Were Drunk During the Assault

Sometimes sexual assault happens when someone is drinking. A fraternity party is a common example. Some victims feel a sense of responsibility, as if they deserved to be assaulted while drunk. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Getting drunk is not a form of consent—in fact, it’s illegal to engage in sexual conduct when someone is incapacitated.  

They Don’t Know the Identity of Their Attacker

It’s difficult to sue someone if you don’t know their identity. Most sexual assault happens between people who know each other: about 3 out of 4. But that still leaves a large number (1 in 4) who are attacked by a stranger.

Of course, you should still report the attack to the police, including whatever description you have of the attacker. The police can search for the person.

You should also realize that you might still sue a business or school for negligent security, even if you don’t know the attacker. A hotel, apartment complex, and university must provide adequate security. If you rent an apartment that has no locks on the doors or windows, then the owner is responsible if someone breaks in and attacks you.

They Aren’t Sure They Were Assaulted

This is another side effect of being drunk or high. Some people pass out and, when they wake up, their underwear is off, or they feel pain in their groin, but they have no memory of an assault. They suspect someone raped them but aren’t 100% sure.

You can still go to the hospital to have a rape kit performed. This kit collects fluids and hairs from your body. You might find that you were sexually assaulted, in which case you can pursue criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.

They Can’t Find an Attorney

Not every lawyer is prepared to bring a civil lawsuit for sexual assault. These cases are different from run-of-the-mill car accident or pedestrian accident cases. The legal team at Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys knows how to fully document sexual assault cases and use all legal mechanisms for seeking compensation.

The Assault Happened Years Ago

We are just now finding out about sexual assault that happened in the 1980s in the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts, and other organizations. Victims stayed silent for decades, or they reported the incidents and no one believed them.

Generally, Georgia gives victims two years from the date of the assault to bring a civil lawsuit. If you were a minor, then you get five years from the date you become an adult (turn 18). So a child victim could have until 23 years of age to sue. See 9-3-33.1(b)

Please call our firm as soon as possible. We can analyze whether you have enough time to file a lawsuit.

The Victim is a Man

Both men and women can stay silent out of a sense of shame. But men often feel an especially strong sense of shame when they are the victim of sexual assault. Some report feeling that the assault made them “less of a man.” But let’s be clear: men can be assaulted just like women can. Being assaulted says nothing about your masculinity.

Some men are sexually assaulted as part of hazing rituals when they try out for sports or a fraternity. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. You did not consent to being sexually assaulted when you tried out for a football team. We strongly recommend that anyone who was assaulted contact our law firm to discuss their legal options.

The Perpetrator is a Family Member

Family sexual abuse happens more than people imagine. Many celebrities have been assaulted by family members and bravely came forward to document their abuse. Oprah Winfrey claimed she was sexually abused as a child by a cousin. Author Maya Angelou wrote a classic memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, about abuse perpetrated by her mother’s boyfriend.

Accusing a family member of abuse will invariably lead to tension, and some family members might disbelieve you. But an adult who abuses a child could do so again.

The Perpetrator is a Boss or Coworker

Sexual assault happens in the workplace. The #MeToo movement has helpfully brought the issue of sexual harassment to greater public attention. But harassment is more than words or quid pro quo solicitation. Many men and women are outright sexually assaulted in the workplace.

No one has a right to put a hand on you without your consent. Still, many workers stay silent because they need their job. They might also fear that their coworkers will choose to believe their boss’ denials over your accusations. Being isolated at work is terrifying.

Unfortunately, a boss who assaults you will probably assault someone else. The only way to make it stop is to seek a remedy from the legal system.

Call Our Atlanta Sexual Assault Lawyers to Discuss Your Case

We offer a sympathetic ear to anyone who is the victim of sexual assault. In a confidential meeting, we can go over the facts and discuss your legal options. We have sued perpetrators, as well as businesses for failing to provide adequate security. Call our law firm today, (404) 529-3476.

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