Many sexual abuse survivors do not report incidents of abuse when they happen. Often, they will wait years before they begin to talk about what they have silently endured. Others will live-out their entire lives, never telling another soul about the trauma they experienced.
Sexual abuse occurs at all ages and through different stages of life. In the United States, it is estimated that one-in-four girls, and one-in-six boys will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. Similarly, many adults will experience sexual abuse at work, and choose not to report those crimes because they are afraid they will lose their jobs. For fear, many of these crimes will go unreported.
It is estimated that a mere six percent of abuse survivors will ever come forward to tell their stories, and often, the statute of limitations for taking legal action will have expired. To combat this, some states are working to change these statutes.
Regardless of whether or not legal action can be pursued, it is important that survivors choose to come forward, as it will help them to appropriately deal with the emotional and physical effects of the sexual abuse.
There are many reasons why sexual abuse survivors refuse to tell anyone about what has happened to them. One common reason, is that they do not want to be perceived as victims. In denial, or unable to face the fact that the abuser was/is someone they know, they remain silent. This is particularly true when the abuser is a parent, a close relative, or a person held in high regard within their community.
Fear is another reason an abuse survivor will remain silent. This could be fear of physical violence at the hand of the abuser. It can also be fear of not being believed or of encountering feelings of outrage and betrayal from friends and family who might not believe the truth.
When sexual abuse survivors finally find the courage to come forward, they do so, seeking relief from the physical and emotional trauma caused by the abuse. In coming forward, some will experience severe anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and others even attempt suicide.
Survivors need a great deal of emotional support to overcome these feelings, and they turn to medical professionals to help them regain their self-esteem, so they can move forward with their lives.
What to Do After Getting Help
Once the survivor has begun addressing the emotional and physical issues, they can take further steps in bringing closure to this chapter of their lives by bringing their abuser to justice. By speaking to a qualified sexual abuse attorney, the survivor can determine whether or not legal action can be taken to obtain financial compensation from the perpetrator.
The pain and anguish suffered at the abuser’s hand should not go unpunished – compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the abuse should be pursued!
The lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm provide free consultations to survivors of sexual abuse, and work tirelessly to help those victims regain the peace of mind they deserve.
For more information, call (800) 522-7274, toll-free.