Survivors of sexual abuse often feel the emotional and psychological repercussions of their traumatic experiences for years, and even decades. Often, they develop self-destructive coping mechanisms to try overcoming the psychological trauma of the abuse they suffered. Survivors of sexual abuse may develop feelings of shame, low self-worth, anxiety, depression, and other debilitating emotional responses to the crime committed against them.
Sexual abuse typically refers to an exploitation of a power imbalance between the perpetrator and their victim. As such, the victims of sexual abuse are often children, teenagers, or members of vulnerable populations, including disabled, incarcerated, or mentally ill people. If an adult takes advantage of their victim’s dependence on them, exploits their trust, or uses the authority they have over their victim to engage in non-consensual sexual activities, they have committed sexual abuse.
It is no surprise, then, that the majority of survivors of sexual abuse had a pre-existing personal relationship with their abuser. Abusers frequently hold positions of dependence, trust, or authority over a younger or vulnerable person, and use those positions to manipulate, coerce, threaten, blackmail, or use other reprehensible methods to persuade their victims to engage in sexual activity without their explicit consent.
In the context of sexual experiences, consent refers to a clearly understood, active, evolving, and revocable agreement between adults. Children are not capable of giving informed consent. Therefore, any sexual activity that occurs between an adult and a minor is sexual abuse. Even if a teenager has reached the age of consent but is still not the age of majority, they are unable to give informed consent to an adult who holds a position of trust, authority, or dependence. If an adult abuses their power over a teenager to engage in sexual activity, they have committed a form of sexual abuse referred to as sexual exploitation.
Common examples of figures who exploit the imbalance of power between themselves and minors or vulnerable people to engage in sexual activity include:
- Religious figures
- Sports coaches
- Camp counsellors
- Extra-curricular programme administrators
- Foster parents
- Family members
- Guards at juvenile detention facilities
- Staff at psychiatric facilities
- And more
People who were exploited, victimized, and abused by someone they trusted or depended upon often face a long and difficult road to psychological recovery. Overcoming negative emotions, traumatic memories, and debilitating mental health conditions in an attempt to regain the control that was taken from them can be a lengthy process, and an expensive one. Sexual abuse survivors who have the ability and wherewithal to seek treatment often incur substantial financial losses related to psychological counselling, psychiatric care, prescription medications, and other necessary medical expenses. Survivors often find themselves going to great expense to sufficiently address a crime committed against them years in the past.
Furthermore, sexual abuse survivors may incur financial losses related to reduced earning capabilities. This could happen if the emotional or psychological fallout from their abuse prevents victims from completing their education or vocational training. Unable to pursue higher educational opportunities or complete necessary training programs for those chosen career field, survivors may fail to reach their earning potential as a direct result of their sexual abuse.
For a number of reasons, many victims of sexual abuse choose to remain silent about the trauma they have endured. They may worry that speaking out against their abuser will be a re-traumatizing experience. They may be disheartened by the statistical likelihood of their abuser being held responsible for the crimes they have committed. They may believe their abuse took place too far in the past to begin pursuing accountability. Perhaps worst of all: many victims of sexual abuse think that, if they tell the story of the trauma they were forced to endure, no one will believe them.
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, our sexual abuse lawyers are passionate about bringing the perpetrators of these reprehensible crimes to justice. We believe the victims of sexual abuse, and have a history of advocating on behalf of sexual abuse survivors in the region. By working with our sexual abuse lawyers, victims may be able to recover financial compensation for the damages they have incurred or will incur in the future as a result of the abuse they have endured.
In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims. That means that, even if your abuse took place years in the past, you still have the right to pursue accountability and restitution. While no amount of money will be able to correct the wrongs committed against you or change the past, by working with our sexual abuse lawyers, you may be able to recover compensation for the financial losses you have sustained to begin rebuilding your life. If you are eligible to pursue a civil claim, depending on the circumstances of your case, our sexual abuse lawyers may be able to pursue compensation from both your abuser and the organization that employed them or introduced you to them.
That is because sexual abuse frequently takes place within the framework of a larger entity or institution who may have been aware– or should have been aware– of what was taking place within their organization. An organization’s leadership has a legal obligation to report sexual abuse committed by their staff or volunteers to the authorities and to remove the abusers from their positions. If an organization fails to do so, they in fact create ideal circumstances for the cycle of abuse to continue perpetuating itself in a consequence-free setting. By turning a blind eye to sexual abuse within their ranks, an organization’s leadership are likely putting even more potential victims in harm’s way, exposing them to a lifetime of emotional and psychological trauma as a result of their inaction. This negligence on an organizational level is referred to as systemic or institutional sexual abuse. Organizations guilty of institutional sexual abuse may be liable for damages incurred by the victims they failed to protect.
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we appreciate the tremendous amount of emotional fortitude required to speak about trauma from your past. If you wish to discuss your case with our compassionate sexual abuse lawyers serving all of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, consider contacting us for a free initial consultation. Our sexual abuse lawyers are standing by to listen to your story and advise you of any legal options that may be available to you.
Call Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers for a Free Initial Consultation
To learn more about how our sexual abuse lawyers may be able to help with your case, schedule a cost-free, no-obligation first meeting with our sexual abuse lawyers. During a free initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to go over the details of your case, ask any questions you may have, and receive the benefit of our legal advice.
Learn more about how Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to provide you with crucial assistance in your pursuit of justice by booking your free initial consultation. Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers, serving all of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.