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Sexual assault is one of the most damaging experiences a person can endure. Victims who live through such a profound violation often suffer its consequences for years to come. Common after-effects include anxiety, depression, nightmares and panic attacks. Some victims have trouble establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.
Unfortunately, many sexual assault victims never report their abuser.
We hear you. We believe you. And we are ready to help. Our compassionate sexual assault attorneys will hold the responsible parties accountable and win the compensation you deserve.
You Are Not Alone
We know how hard it is to seek help after such a devastating experience. Suing the perpetrator or responsible institution is often the only way to hold them accountable for the damage they caused.
Our understanding attorneys and staff members will guide you through every step of the legal process, answer all your questions and allay your fears while we fight for your right to the compensation you deserve.
Examples of Sexual Assault
Victims of Larry Nassar
When more than 500 women accused Michigan State University physician and USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar of ongoing sexual abuse, we represented many of the women. We listened to them and held Nassar, MSU and USA Gymnastics accountable.
More Sexual Assault Examples
As shown in the following list, an act does not have to include physical contact or sexual penetration to meet the definition of sexual assault or abuse. Any sexual behavior that occurs without the consent and/or knowledge of the other person can be considered abusive. This also applies to situations where the consent is provided by a child (under 16), a person who is impaired by drugs or alcohol or an individual with cognitive impairment.
- Sexual contact with a child
- Forcing or coercing someone to partake in a sexual act
- Engaging in sexual acts with someone who cannot consent*
- Assault and battery in conjunction with a sexual act
- Unwanted and inappropriate touching of another person’s body
- Indecent exposure/exposure of genitals to a child
- Creating, displaying or disseminating child pornography
- Incest and all incestuous acts, regardless of consent
- Using drugs and/or alcohol to render someone incapable of resisting sexual contact
- “Grooming” a child or teenager to be receptive to future sexual abuse
*In Michigan, consent by a member of any of the following groups is not legally binding and does not absolve the other party of committing sexual abuse:
- Anyone under 16
- People under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Individuals with cognitive impairment
Who Are the Most Common Sexual Abusers?
The majority of victims are sexually abused or assaulted by someone they know. Abusers can be family members or trusted professionals. Examples include:
- Doctors or other medical professionals
- Athletic coaches
- Bosses or co-workers
- Religious or spiritual leaders
- Massage therapists
- Spouse or partner
- Babysitters or daycare providers
When the abuser has power or authority over the victim, it is harder for the victim to come forward with a formal complaint or accusation.
What Are the Most Common Settings for Sexual Abuse?
- Medical facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes
- Medical offices
- Elementary, middle and high schools
- Colleges and universities
- School sports programs
- Day care centers
- Massage facilities or spas
- Religious institutions
- Community organizations such as youth groups or after-school programs
- Sororities and fraternities
- Domestic situations
How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit?
In 2018, Senate Bill 872 extended the statute of limitations for all individuals to have 10 years to file a civil suit for damages. Childhood sexual assault victims can file suit until they are 28 years old, or until 3 years after the individual discovers his or her injury and its relationship to the sexual assault.
Contacting an experienced sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible will help ensure the most favorable outcome. Our highly qualified attorneys will protect your rights to the compensation you are entitled to while providing the support you need to get through this difficult time.
Why Should I File a Civil Lawsuit for a Criminal Offense?
While sexual assault is a criminal offense in Michigan, many victims choose to pursue civil lawsuits whether or not criminal charges have been filed against the alleged abuser.
Simply put, the purpose of a criminal case is to punish those who are found guilty of crimes such as sexual assault. While the abuser may be subject to jail time, probation and/or fines, the victim typically does not receive compensation in a criminal case.
In contrast, a civil suit often results in a monetary settlement for the victim when the defendant is held responsible for causing harm to the victim.
A settlement for a sexual assault case usually includes reimbursement for direct losses, including medical bills and psychological services, in addition to a significant amount for intangible damages such as pain and suffering, PTSD, and other long-term consequences.
Victims can also bring a civil suit against the institution that employed the abuser for failing to prevent the assault or abusive behavior, such as a university or religious organization.
Sexual Assault Victims in University Settings Can Rely on Our Experience
Sexual assault is the most prevalent crime on campuses across the country. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, 13% of all students (graduate and undergraduate) experience rape or sexual abuse. In addition, 5.8% of all students experience some form of stalking.
Sexual assault victims are further classified as follows:
Only 20% of female student victims ages 18 – 24 report their assault to law enforcement. Victims cite a variety of reasons for this, including:
- Fear they won’t be believed
- Fear of retaliation or negative consequences
- Feelings of shame
- Fear of facing their abuser
- Believed the police and/or the justice system would not prove helpful
- Fear of family members and other people finding out
We believe you. We will listen to your story and doing everything we can to help.
What is Title IX and How Does it Impact Sexual Assault Cases?
Enacted in 1972 and revised in 2020, Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including on the basis of sex stereotypes, in schools and school-related activities. The law includes sexual harassment such as stalking as well as sexual violence such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion or dating violence.
Under Title IX, schools have a legal duty to protect students from sexual assault and to offer clearly defined reporting options for victims of abuse. In addition, the law requires schools to respond to complaints and allegations promptly and investigate the allegations once a formal complaint is filed.
All public schools and any private schools receiving federal funds must comply with Title IX. Nonetheless, some courts have ruled that Title IX also applies to parochial schools that do not receive funding from the federal government.
Resources for Victims of Sexual Assault
Victims’ Rights Handbook
A guide to the rights of sexual assault victims is available from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.
24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline
If you need to talk to someone who understands your experience, 24/7 confidential help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673. Whether you need immediate crisis counseling, resource referrals or just a sympathetic ear, the hotline is there for you.
Put Our Experienced and Compassionate Sexual Assault Lawyers to Work for You
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused or assaulted, our compassionate lawyers can help you win the compensation you deserve. Like all of our clients, you will be treated like family, with the sensitivity and compassion befitting the horrors you have endured.
Sexual assault law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, confidential consultation from the privacy and safety of your home.
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