Being a victim of sexual assault usually leaves survivors with a feeling of being utterly helpless and powerless. While the criminal courts will handle incarceration and other forms of punishment, you can take back some of your sense of power by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. By filling a lawsuit against the perpetrator, you can seek financial compensation for the damages that were inflicted upon you. The Scarborough sexual assault lawyers at Preszler Law Firm are here to help you do just that; our skilled sexual assault lawyers assist clients who have been victimized by their partners, family members, acquantances, priests, teachers, employers, or strangers by handling all of the legal aspects of the personal injury case and maximizing their compensation.
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Defining Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a broad term that includes rape, incest, and other forms of sexual violence and molestation. Specifically, it is the act of using force, coercion, or threats to intentionally touch another person sexaully or to use force, coercion, or threats to engage in sexual acts against their will. If you are questioning whether or not you have been the victim of sexual assault, the answer is most likely yes. The sexual assault lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can help you decide what your next step should be. In the meantime, the following are a few examples of sexual assault:
- Unwanted and intentional sexual touching, grabbing, pinching, or stroking of the victim’s genitals, buttocks, or breast
- Unnecessary and intentional touching of a minor’s genitals, buttocks, or breast even if consent is given, because minors cannot consent to any sexual act by an adult
- Using force to engage in intercourse
- Making threats or using blackmail to get the victim to perform oral sex
- Forcing the victim to touch the genitals of the perpetrator
- Exposing one’s genitals to a minor
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Sexual Assault: An Ontario Epidemic That No One Is Talking About
In the past 15 years, doctors have treated nearly 53,000 victims of sexual assault right here in Ontario, according to Global News. While this number seems staggeringly high, the fact is that it does not represent the true number of sexual assault victims; most victims of sexual assault are never treated by doctors and do not seek the assistance of law enforcement. Only 6% of sexual assaults are reported to the police, according to SexAssault.ca.
Who Are the Victims of Sexual Assault?
Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, regardless of sex, age, and ethnicity. However, women are much more likely to be the victim of a sex crime than men. 80% of sex crimes are committed against women, and one in four North American women will be the victim of sexual assault at some point in their lifetime. Children are also more likely to be victims than adults. While children make up a relatively small part of the population, 60% of sexual assaults and sexual abuse victims are under the age of 17. Minorities are also more likely to be victimized. 57% of aboriginal women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes.
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Who Are the Perpetrators?
It should come as little surprise that men, who commit all violent crimes at a much higher rate than women, are almost always the perpetrators of sexual assault. Moreover, the victims of sexual assault almost always know who the perpetrator is before the sexual assault occurred. 80% of assailants are family members, friends, partners, family members, or spouses of their victims, and 80% of sexual assaults occur in the home of the victim.
What You Can Do for Justice
Most sexual assault cases are never reported to the police, as earlier discussed. When the perpetrator is held accountable, their punishments vary from essentially nothing to a handful of years in prison or probation, depending on the evidence available to prosecute the defendant and the severity of the crime. Victims of sexual assault are often left feeling as though justice has not been served, and for good reason. You have the right to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator for damages even if law enforcement did not follow up on your report, the criminal court did not find the defendant guilty, or you still have not reported the incident to law enforcement.
Being Compensated for Your Damages
About 11% of women experience physical injury during sexual assault. While victims of sexual assault may or may not be physically injured, the emotional and psychological injuries are always there, and are almost always the most traumatic aspects of the sexual assault. Victims often struggle for months and years with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders that need to be addressed by mental health professionals including therapists and psychiatrists. These treatments are expensive and time consuming. Additionally, victims often suffer in their professional lives, losing out on job opportunities, having to quit highly demanding jobs, or being passed over for promotions all due to the trauma they suffered at another person’s hands. As a victim of sexual assault, you can file a lawsuit for the following:
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Future medical expenses including therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of joy of life
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
Punitive damages can be pursued, as well, as a form of punishment for the defendant. Courts are typically hesitant to agree to punitive damages in personal injury cases, but if the judge believes that further punishment is deserved, they may decide that the defendant should pay additional punitive damages to you, the victim, which are not the same as fines paid to the court.
Call a Sexual Assault Lawyer Today for Proffesional Help
It takes tremendous courage to reach out for help following a sexual assault. Whether the incident occurred last week or last year, you have legal options for compensation. The compassionate sexual assault lawyers at Preszler Law Firm are here for you in your time of need. Call us today at 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a free consultation.