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Being sexually abused is always traumatic. Survivors of abuse often require years to process and overcome feelings of helplessness, anger, or shame. Additionally, the perpetrators of sexual abuse often go unpunished.

Thankfully, working with a compassionate injury attorney to hold the abuser financially accountable through a civil lawsuit might help a survivor move forward. A Tacoma sexual abuse lawyer is dedicated to making offenders acknowledge and pay for their actions.

Consequences of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse could be any forcible sexual contact or sexual activity without consent. It includes rape, inappropriate touching, child molestation, sexual battery, sexual performances, or other sexual actions.

Lewd abuse often has a deeper impact on survivors than other crimes. Strangers sometimes commit sexual assault or abuse, but the perpetrator is often a trusted friend or family member. This betrayal of trust could magnify the survivor’s shame and prevent them from acknowledging what happened. Victims of sexual assault or abuse often experience substantial trauma, including:

  • Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulty maintaining intimate relationships
  • Underperformance in school or at work
  • Social isolation
  • Estrangement from family members

Sexual abuse also could lead to unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and gynecological problems. These consequences are not the survivor’s fault, but society often pressures survivors to overcome the issue without acknowledging its cause. Survivors sometimes internalize this pressure, often making the condition worse. Working with a Tacoma attorney to file a sexual abuse lawsuit could help a survivor shift responsibility back where it belongs – on the abuser.

Damages in Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

After being sexually abused, a victim can often file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the losses they suffered due to the defendant’s actions. Damages could include payment for medical care, therapy sessions or counseling, reduced earning capacity, and more.

For instance, a survivor could also seek compensation for the emotional trauma they have experienced. The damage that sexual abuse inflicts is often substantial, but challenging to prove and quantify. A Tacoma attorney is adept at showing how sexual assault limited a survivor’s ability to maintain meaningful relationships, feel comfortable in daily life, or thrive at work.

Can an Institution be Held Accountable for Abuse?

Tragically, institutions often employ people who use their authority to perpetrate sexual abuse. When the abuser is an employer, coach, teacher, group leader, camp counselor, or clergy member, the institution or organization that put them in a position of responsibility could even be liable for a survivor’s damages. Similarly, people who experienced sexual abuse in foster homes, skilled nursing facilities, and other facilities could hold the relevant licensing agencies responsible.

Timeframe for Bringing a Legal Action

After being abused, a survivor usually has three years to bring a lawsuit against their abuser. If the abuse happened repeatedly, the last abusive encounter starts the three-year clock.

Sometimes people who suffered sexual abuse as children do not remember it until many years later, or they might not connect the abuse to the problems they experience as adults. The Revised Code of Washington §4.16.340 acknowledges this reality and allows people who suffered sexual abuse as children additional time to pursue a lawsuit. For instance, someone who suffered abuse when they were under 18 has three years from the date when they discovered that the abuse caused an injury to bring a lawsuit seeking damages against the perpetrator.

Call a Tacoma Sexual Abuse Attorney for Compassionate Guidance

All survivors of sexual abuse deserve a strong advocate to stand up for them and demand justice for their suffering. A Tacoma sexual abuse lawyer could be that advocate.

Coming forward and admitting what you experienced is challenging. However, if you want your abuser to be held accountable, bringing a legal action could be a step in the right direction. Call today to discuss your situation with a dedicated attorney.