San Antonio Sexual Abuse Lawyer
San Antonio Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Every single year, thousands of children and young adults are sexually abused by therapists, doctors, teachers, camp counselors, clergy members, and so many other authority figures. Sexual abuse may be a one-time event for many, but it can cause life-long physical and mental health issues. A victim may struggle to go to work, maintain healthy relationships, eat, sleep, and just live. If you have experienced sexual abuse, please know that you can seek justice with the help of a San Antonio sexual abuse lawyer at Janicek Law.
The compassionate sexual abuse lawyers at Janicek Law can help victims of sexual abuse (and their families) file civil claims in order to seek justice and compensation from the institutions that failed to protect them. Walking through the legal process alone and without proper support can be re-traumatizing for many victims. Our legal team recognizes that and will support you the best we can because we truly have your best interests at heart. Call us today at 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse is a large, overarching term that describes non-consensual sexual encounters or sexual acts committed upon another person. Listed below are common examples of sexual abuse.
- Indecent exposure, which is when someone intentionally shows their genitalia to another person without their consent.
- Taking, distributing, or showing pictures/videos of a sexual nature without someone’s consent.
- Any kind of unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature including molestation, groping, and fondling.
- Sexual violence such as forced penetration in the mouth, anus, or vagina.
- Incest, which is any sexual activity that occurs between family members.
- Forcing someone to perform sex acts upon the perpetrator.
- Engaging in any kind of sexual activity with someone below the age of consent (age 16 to 18, depending on the state).
- Engaging in any kind of sexual activity while the victim is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Unwanted sexual encounters or activity within the workplace, such as sexual harassment.
- Stealthing, which is when a sexual partner removes their condom during intercourse without the victim’s consent.
- Voyeurism, which is when someone watches someone in their home or hotel room without their consent in order to receive sexual pleasure. Voyeurists commonly do this by placing hidden cameras throughout a person’s home or room.
Not only can sexual assault cause major physical harm to the victim, it can cause lifelong emotional harm as well. Luckily, a victim of sexual assault can pursue justice through civil or criminal sexual abuse lawsuits.
How Common is Childhood Sexual Abuse?
Tragically, child sexual abuse cases are very common in the United States. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) states that more than 57,000 children were victims of childhood sexual abuse in the fiscal year of 2016 (April 2016-March 2017).
It’s important to remember that this large statistic is likely an underestimate because many cases of child sexual abuse go unreported for years. That’s because many children do not remember the sexual violence for years (a side effect of trauma) or they do not understand what sexual assault is until they are much older.
RAINN also states that of all sexually abused victims under the age of 18, the majority (66%) are between the ages of 12 to 17. Additionally, 82% victims of sexual abuse under the age of 18 are female.
How Common is Adult Sexual Abuse?
The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that more than 460,000 victims experience sexual assault on an annual basis in the United States. Again, this statistic is likely an underestimate due to the fear, shame, and confusion that victims experience. These complicated emotions make it incredibly difficult for a victim of sexual abuse to seek help and justice.
According to RAINN, the age group that endures the most sexual violence is 18 to 34, with approximately 54% of sexual assault cases occurring to people within that age bracket.
Common Types of Sexual Abuse Cases
Sexual abuse can occur in a variety of settings between a variety of people. Generally, there is a clear power imbalance between the victim and the abuser. Sexual abuse cases commonly involve the following parties:
- Priests/other clergy members and parishioners (clergy abuse)
- Adults and children
- Therapists and clients (this can include massage therapists, mental health therapists, physical therapists, etc.)
- A family member and a child
- Doctors and patients
- Teachers and students
- Coaches and student athletes
- Scoutmasters and Boy Scouts
- Camp counselors and campers
- Uber/Lyft drivers and passengers
- Nursing home staff members and nursing home residents
If you were a victim of sexual abuse in one or more of these scenarios, San Antonio sexual abuse attorneys at Janicek Law want to protect your legal rights and hold your abuser accountable.
Long-Term Effects of Sexual Abuse
Many victims of sexual abuse carry their trauma with them for the rest of their lives. Not only will many of these victims suffer emotionally, but many will also suffer various physical ailments. That’s because many mental health experts believe that “the body keeps the score.” In other words, the body stores trauma which can manifest into countless physical health issues.
Lastly, many victims of child sexual abuse will often grow up and struggle to maintain healthy relationships, whether that’s romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships, etc.
A victim of adult or child sexual abuse may experience the following physical health issues:
- STI’s (immediately following the sexual encounter)
- Genital pain, bruising, tearing, and/or bleeding (immediately following the sexual encounter)
- Long-term fertility issues
- Gastrointestinal health issues (IBS, frequent stomach pain, digestion difficulties, overall poor gut health)
- Frequent headaches
- Musculoskeletal pain such as back pain, muscle aches, joint pain, etc.
- Cardiopulmonary issues such as chest pain, irregular heartbeat, heart disease, shortness of breath, etc.
- Weight issues on both ends of the spectrum, such as being overweight or underweight
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep problems such as insomnia or excess sleeping
Adult and child sexual abuse victims often experience the following mental health issues:
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic anxiety, depression, or both
- Personality disorders
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Eating disorders
- Body image issues
- Somatic disorders (unhealthy focus/obsession on physical symptoms which causes immense anxiety)
- Confusion about sexuality and gender
- Suicidal thoughts, desires, and behaviors
Lastly, many victims of adult and child sexual abuse have a life-long struggle of maintaining healthy relationships. Listed below are some examples of relationship issues:
- Entering into multiple abusive relationships that may have verbal, sexual, emotional, financial, or physical abuse.
- Struggling to trust anyone.
- Hypersexuality (AKA: sex addiction), which is when someone is obsessed with sexual fantasies, urges, behaviors. Many people also compare this issue to just having a really high sex drive.
- Hyposexuality, which is when someone has very little interest in sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors. This issue is frequently compared to having a low sex drive. Some hyposexual people may also wonder if they are asexual.
- Panic attacks and flashbacks during sexual activity.
- Believing that your partner is somehow trying to hurt you even though they’re not.
- Feeling unloved or unworthy of love.
- Feeling unsafe even in a safe and healthy relationship.
- Being overly attached to your friend/partner.
- Being very emotionally distant from your friend/partner.
Damages for a Civil Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
If you were sexually assaulted, a San Antonio sexual abuse lawyer can help you recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical expenses if you suffer from physical health issues related to your sexual trauma.
- Medical expenses associated with a psych ward hospitalization.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress and mental health disorders.
- Mental health counseling expenses.
- Lost wages if your sexual trauma has caused you to miss work.
- Loss of earning capacity if your sexual trauma/mental disorders prevent you from accomplishing all your job duties.
- Loss of consortium if your sexual trauma prevents you from having a normal, healthy relationship with your partner/spouse.
Texas Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse
Because of the long list of long-term effects that sexual trauma has on the body and mind, Texas has recently expanded its statute of limitations. Additionally, the state extended its statute of limitations due to the fear, shame, and confusion that often prevents victims from speaking up about their abuse. But the statute of limitations for criminal and civil cases are different. If the statute of limitations hasn’t expired for you yet, please consider contacting sexual assault lawyers for legal help.
A sexual abuse victim of 18+ years has 5 years from the day the abuse occurred to file a civil action. Meanwhile, a child sexual abuse victim has 30 years from their 18th birthday to file a civil action. In other words, the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims expires on their 48th birthday.
The criminal statute of limitations is 10 years from the day the sexual assault took place (for victims over the age of 18 years old). Meanwhile, people under the age of 18 at the time of the abuse have 20 years from the day of their 18th birthday to file a criminal case.
The San Antonio sexual abuse attorneys at Janicek Law will carefully examine the facts of your case and help you determine if you still have time to file a civil claim.
Call a San Antonio Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Janicek Law Today
If you suffered sexual abuse as a child or as an adult, you can pursue legal action through a civil lawsuit. Every single sexual abuse lawyer at our law firm believes that abusers should be held accountable for their actions, no matter how much time has passed. Our compassionate team of attorneys will protect your legal rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve. To start an attorney client relationship with us, call 210-366-4949 today. We offer a free case evaluation to all new clients.