Helping Victims of Sexual Assault Speak Up to Say, “Me Too”
“Me too” has been trending the internet this week. The phrase signifies those who have been sexually harassed and want to share their own experiences and to de-stigmatize speaking out.
FindLaw’s definition of sexual assault “generally refers to any crime in which the offender subjects the victim to sexual touching that is unwanted and offensive. These crimes can range from sexual groping or assault/battery, to attempted rape.” Sexual assault cases occur more often than we think and is often overlooked or unreported due to embarrassment or not knowing the severity of the act.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, there are many things you can do to protect yourself. Here are a couple things to keep in mind if you are ever in this terrible situation.
1 Try and prevent being in a potentially harmful situation. Take control of the things that you can. Don’t walk alone at night or in sketchy places. If someone is looking at you, do not make eye contact and do not fuel the fire by responding to anything they say to you.
2 Get anonymous help. If you feel that you have been touched in an unwanted sexual manner and want advice on what to do, the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline has attendants standing by 24/7 to answer your calls, Their number is 800.656.HOPE (4673)
3 Call the police. Even if you don’t want to press charges, the police are a great source of immediate protection and comfort when there is no one else around. In the event that you decide to press charges in the future, the event will be documented and will be a great help to proving your case. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the person who committed the sexual abuse against you.
4 Consult an attorney. Speaking to a lawyer may seem like a last resort but, on the contrary, an attorney can be a great resource and source of comfort. An attorney can tell you about what constitutes sexual assault, give you resources to overcome the traumatic experience, and let you know how others have dealt with cases like these, what the outcomes have been, and if pressing charges would be a good choice given your particular circumstance.
Benefits of pressing charges against the perpetrator:
- Sense of justice to achieve recourse against the perpetrator.
- Repayment of any medical bills incurred as a result of the event.
- Bring closure to this traumatic event in your life.
It’s not easy for our victimized clients to come forth and taken action, but once they do, a huge weight is lifted from their shoulders and they are able to continue with their lives knowing they helped prevent someone else from this crime.
If you or someone you know is going through these tough times, don’t hesitate to call someone for advice and help. Please know that Hickman Law Office is always here to take your call and advise you on your rights to justice.