01/06/2018 by John Tamming 0 Comments
The Hardest Step – When a Survivor of Sexual Abuse Comes Forward
There are a hundred reasons why people don’t claim for sexual abuse. Some are solid reasons, some are rooted in myths.
THE FIRST CALL
For the sexual abuse survivor, that first call or visit to our office is never an easy one. We know that. You have been thinking about “doing something” for years and have put it off. We have acted for survivors throughout Grey, Bruce and Simcoe counties. We are known for our hard work on these cases but, ahead of that, we are known for our empathy.
We will meet with you. We will understand where you are coming from. We will also address your fears.
SOME FEARS AND MYTHS PUT TO REST
There are a dozen reasons why people don’t claim for sexual abuse. Most do not stand up:
- It happened a life time ago.
- I don’t remember exactly all the details.
- No one will believe me.
- They will think I consented
- It will just pull me down again.
- The police refused to lay charges.
- There is no way I could go to trial.
Let us put your mind at rest.
First, over half these claims involve abuse that happened years ago. The courts are used to that and do not expect perfect recall of facts. That said, you do need to have remembered much of the abuse your entire life; the courts will not help you if your entire case is based on something called “recovered memories”. But if you have always recalled the substance of the abuse, even if many details are vague, and if you are a credible witness, more often than not your case will succeed.
Second, if you were a child at the time, you cannot at law, have consented to the abuse. That is legally not possible.
Third, the police have to prove that the abuse happened “beyond a reasonable doubt”; in a lawsuit, we only have to prove that the abuse “likely” happened. That is a lot easier done. Just because the police choose not to charge does not for a moment mean that you don’t have the right to sue for compensation anyway.
A PRACTICAL WORD OF ADVICE
To be honest, a lawsuit is not for everyone.
For some, a lawsuit is a chance to confront the abuser or the institution that permitted the abuse to happen. For others, it is too painful and, no matter what level of counseling we offer in the process, for them it is often better not to proceed.
In all these cases, we insist that our clients obtain counseling. It will help you emotionally and it will help the case.
Let us help us help you get the facts you need on the law and on what is and is not doable. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, contact a lawyer to see how we can help you. We are in your corner.