Cambridge Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a deeply traumatic crime that often carries adverse effects for survivors many years after the offence takes place. Because of social stigmas and the manipulative underpinnings at the root of the crime itself, many cases of sexual abuse go unreported. A 2014 study showed that that about 10% of Canadians have been the targets of childhood sexual abuse, but at least 93% of cases never reached the attention of police or social services.
In instances of childhood sexual abuse, perpetrators can include parents or older family members, teachers, members of religious organizations, community leaders, camp counsellors, and other adults who have authority over children. Adults can also be the victims of sexual abuse; the crime has been reported in nursing homes, within the context of abusive spousal relationships, and other relationships based on an imbalance of power.
If you have experienced sexual abuse, there may be financial restitution available to you. This may help recover the costs of medical bills, psychological treatment, income lost due to the abuse, and more. Contact our Cambidge sexual abuse lawyers today to speak through the specifics of your case, and see how we might be of help to you.
Defining Sexual Abuse
The term sexual abuse refers to a pattern of sexual assault. In accordance with federal law, this refers to any sexual activity to which all involved parties do not consent. This encompasses violent sexual behaviour, such as rape, as well as unwanted kissing, touching, and other forms of intercourse.
Sexual abuse may also encompass a range of non-contact offences, such as voyeurism, verbal harrassment, or exposure. At the root of many sexual abuse cases, there is an imbalance of power in which the perpetrator wields social, financial, emotional, and/or physical control over the survivor. In cases of childhood sexual abuse, this is often a parent, grandparent, older sibling, or teacher abusing their position of trust and authority to violate a child.
In situations where sexual abuse is committed by one adult upon another, the perpetrator is frequently in a position of power over their victim. This may be one spouse who wields financial control over another, a representative of a religious organization who uses their status to elicit sexual acts from a vulnerable member of their congregation, nursing staff at psychiatric hospitals, guards at correctional facilities, and others.
Why Do People Not Come Forward Right Away?
Sexual abuse is not always cut and dry. Horrific acts of sexual violence may intertwine with acts of care. The perpetrator may be beloved by a broader community, which may isolate the survivor and at times even make them doubt the validity of their own experience. Especially in cases of childhood sexual abuse, the survivor may not be aware that their experience constituted sexual abuse until many years later.
It should also be noted that repressed memories and denial are common psychological coping mechanisms, which may allow a survivor to move forward with their lives.
Ongoing Effects of Sexual Abuse
Whether or not an individual has acknowledged the abuse, and whether or not they have come forward with a formal case, such a trauma may have profoundly adverse effects on a survivor.
Symptoms commonly associated with the trauma of sexual abuse include:
- Chronic depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Panic attacks
- High stress levels
- High blood pressure
- Substance abuse
- And more.
No Statute of Limitations
Precisely because the truth of sexual abuse is often silenced by perpetrators, there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases in Ontario. This means that a survivor may seek legal recourse for abuse wrought against them at any point in time, even if the sexual abuse took place many years ago.
Call Our Cambridge Sexual Abuse Lawyers Today
Our Cambridge sexual abuse lawyers respect the courage it takes to come forward with a sexual abuse claim. We are committed to compassionate, sensitive service, and are dedicated to helping our clients understand their legal rights. If you or someone you love have been the target of sexual abuse at any point in time, contact us today through our online booking form, or by phone at 1-800-Justice, and schedule a free initial consultation with our team at Preszler Injury Lawyers.