Justice for Sexual Abuse Survivors: How to Bring Peace and Healing
Sexual abuse survivors often find that they don’t get justice in the criminal court system. Learn more about how you can find justice in the civil court system.
Sexual abuse is an atrocity that is horrifyingly common in our society. One in every six women will be sexually assaulted or raped. With those statistics, you will certainly know people in your life who are sexual abuse survivors.
When you find out someone you know has been sexually abused, it can be difficult to know what to say. How do you offer comfort and help that person find healing and justice? Read on to learn more about how you can help in that situation.
Listen to Sexual Abuse Survivors
If you are someone looking for a way to support survivors of sexual abuse, the first and most important thing you can do is listen to survivors. Only about 23 percent of sexual abuse survivors actually ever report their abuse. This is due in large part to the fact that no one, from the criminal justice system to members of their own families, seems to believe that a victim was, in fact, abused and that it was not their fault.
If someone tells you they have been raped or sexually abused, take their word for it and tell them you believe them. Defend them against people who say that they are making it up or that it was somehow their own fault. The victim has already had to suffer through surviving the abuse; they shouldn’t have to fight a battle to convince people it happened, too.
Facilitate Psychological Support
Another crucial step in supporting sexual abuse survivors is to do what you can to make sure they get psychological support. Sexual abuse is an attack on the mind as much as it is on the body; it’s about power and taking it away from the victim. Rape and sexual assault survivors need professional psychological support to move past the trauma of the incident in a healthy way.
Sexual abuse victims are more at risk for a wide variety of mental health issues, including PTSD, depression, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, and anxiety. They are also thirteen times more likely to commit suicide than non-survivors. So do everything you can to help the survivor get the support and counseling they need, and make sure they know there’s no shame in needing help.
Get the Separate Legal Representation
You can also help a sexual abuse survivor by making sure they get separate legal representation during any court cases. A lot of times, especially in the immediate aftermath, a victim isn’t thinking clearly. They may not think to call a lawyer when they report to the police, or they may worry about how they will afford it.
But making sure a sexual abuse survivor has a lawyer on their side can help ensure that their abuse does not go unpunished. The lawyer will help make sure the case reaches court and that defense attorneys don’t run roughshod over them during the trial. Survivors deserve to have the best defense they can during court proceedings.
Get the Right Defense
Sexual abuse survivors have a long, hard battle ahead of them, both in the criminal justice system and in the mental health arena. They deserve all the support and justice that can be found for them. You can be an important part of that by starting with these little steps.
If you need representation in a sexual abuse case, reach out to us at the Law Offices of Steve Boyd and John Elmore. We will do everything we can to help you find justice, and we won’t charge a legal fee unless we win your case. Contact us today to start seeking justice.