Surviving the trauma of withstanding sexual abuse can have profound, long-lasting, adverse impacts on a victim’s overall quality of life. Sexual abuse is a devastating violation that is often be accompanied by acts of emotional or physical violence.
Sexual abuse is typically committed within the context of a power imbalance between the perpetrator and their target. Whether the perpetrator is a teacher, parent, or trusted community leader such as a member of the clergy, societal structures maintaining the power imbalance may lead to the silencing, and even shaming, of the survivor of sexual abuse.
The Canadian Criminal Code explicitly states that sexual abuse is an indictable offence that could result in the perpetrator’s imprisonment. If a person exploits their position of trust or authority to engage in sexual activity with someone in their care, or if they use their victim’s dependency upon them to force or coerce their target into sexual contact, they have committed sexual abuse.
If you were sexually abused, even if many years have passed since the violation took place, you may be able to pursue legal action against the people or entities responsible for causing you harm. Our Ontario sexual abuse lawyers appreciate the how difficult it can be discuss sensitive subject matter. At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to understanding the unique needs of every case, and are standing by to listen to your story and offer legal advice.
To schedule a free initial consultation with our sexual abuse lawyers serving Ontario, contact Preszler Injury Lawyers today.
The Context of Sexual Abuse
Because the nature of sexual abuse typically depends on a power imbalance, perpetrators often target vulnerable members of society such as children, the elderly, or people living with physical or mental disabilities. Children are not able to give informed consent. Furthermore, teenagers who have reached the age of consent but not the age of majority are not considered capable of giving consent to an adult in a position of trust, authority, or dependence.
Perpetrators often use tactics that include shaming, threatening, and blackmailing victims in order to maintain silence about the abuse they have endured. If the victim is a child, they may not fully understand the extent of this violation until much later in life.
When perpetrators are trusted leaders within a community, their victims might be afraid of speaking out against them, for fear of public backlash or disbelief. Moreover, speaking out about sexual abuse may re-trigger the trauma of the abuse itself. These are just some of the reasons sexual abusers sometimes continue carrying out this heinous crime without the people around them knowing.
Some examples of authority figures who often exploit their position of power to abuse the young or vulnerable people in their care include:
- Members of the clergy
- Sports coaches or teammates (e.g., hockey players and coaches)
- Foster parents
- Camp counselors
- Psychiatric hospital staff
- Guards at detention facilities
- Babysitters and other caregivers
- And more
The impacts of enduring sexual abuse could be long-lasting and all-encompassing, adversely affecting a victim’s overall quality of life. No two cases of sexual abuse are the same, and people process trauma in unique, individual ways. However, some common emotional responses to being subjected to sexual abuse include:
- Insomnia or other sleep disorders
- Heightened need for control
- Minimizing or denying the experience
- And more
Sadly, survivors of sexual abuse frequently develop diagnosable anxiety, depression, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. Persistent feelings of shame, fear, low self-worth, and distrust of others, as well as other adverse emotional effects often lead to various forms of self-harm. There usually include substance abuse, alcohol use disorder, self-harm, and unfortunately, suicidal ideation or attempts.
Financial Impacts of Sexual Abuse
In addition to the overwhelming emotional and psychological repercussions of being victimised, survivors of sexual abuse often face substantial financial ramifications, as well. It is not uncommon for survivors of sexual abuse to incur untennable financial losses.
The costs of psychological therapy, psychiatric care, prescription medications, and other forms of necessary treatment can be overwhelming, especially when coping with trauma over the course of decades. Depending on when their abuse occurred, survivors might find it impossible to complete education or vocational training. Because they are unable to take advantage of educational opportunities, the abuse to which they were subjected could contribute to a reduced earning capacity and a failure to reach their potential.
No one should be forced to withstand such substantial monetary losses because of someone else’s repugnant, criminal actions. By working with our Ontario sexual abuse lawyers, survivors of sexual abuse may be able to recover the damages they have incurred as a result of the trauma with which they have been forced to live. To learn more, call 1-800-JUSTICE today and schedule your free initial consultation with our sexual abuse lawyers serving Ontario.
How Our Lawyers May Be Able to Help Survivors of Sexual Abuse
In this province, there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims. That means that, even if your abuse took place many years in the past, you may still be able to file a civil claim against your abusers and, depending on the circumstances of your case, against their employer or the organization that introduced you to the perpetrator.
If an organization becomes aware that one of its employees, members, volunteers, or other affiliates has committed sexual abuse, they have an obligation to report the crime to the authorities and take immediate disciplinary action. If the organization’s leadership fails to do so, they, essentially, allow the cycle of abuse to continue perpetuating itself in a consequence-free environment.
By turning a blind eye to sexual abuse within their ranks, an organization’s leadership are likely putting even more potential victims in harm’s way, exposing them to a lifetime of emotional and psychological trauma as a result of their inaction. This negligence on an organizational level is referred to as systemic or institutional sexual abuse. Organizations guilty of institutional sexual abuse may be liable for damages incurred by the victims they failed to protect.
Contact Our Ontario Sexual Abuse Lawyers Today
Our sexual abuse lawyers serving Ontario are committed to helping victims throughout the province find the peace, accountability, and financial restitution to which they are entitled. To receive the benefit of personalized legal advice about options that might be available to you, schedule a free initial consultation with our Ontario sexual abuse lawyers by calling 1-800-JUSTICE.