What is Legally Considered Abuse?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Many types of behavior could be considered sexual abuse. Typically, sexual abuse includes any sexual behavior or act that is forced upon a child, woman, or man without consent. Abuse is an act of violence and often a betrayal of trust. Sexual abuse is a pervasive problem and is especially devastating when the victim is a child. It often leads to fear, shock, depression, sadness, and anxiety.

Through therapy and support networks, survivors of sexual abuse try to cope and heal. Unfortunately, in many cases, personal, legal, and societal barriers exist that prevent victims of sexual abuse from reporting the abuse and receiving the help they need. In the following paragraphs, we look at some of the conduct that constitutes abuse

The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is committed to helping victims get the assistance they need and fighting for the legal rights of victims and their families. Call our law offices at (814) 826-3586 for a free and confidential appointment.

Types of Sexual Abuse and Assault

Sexual abuse occurs in many forms. However, abusive conduct can be categorized into four types of behaviors.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal sexual abuse occurs when spoken or written words are used to evoke, express, or imply unwanted sexual conduct or contact. This type of abuse is prevalent in workplaces and other areas of life where people gather. Often, crude humor is giving a pass even though it could constitute sexual abuse. Because of the fleeting nature of verbal abuse, proving that it occurred is challenging. Some common forms of verbal sexual abuse include explicit jokes, ridiculing physical features, descriptions of sexual acts, inappropriate or lewd text messages or emails, unwanted sexual or romantic advances, and phone calls. If you experienced any of this conduct, contact our experienced sexual abuse attorneys.

Covert Abuse

Sexual abuse could occur without your direct knowledge. For example, a coach could be taking unobserved photographs of players in the locker room or shower. Media stalking and cyber harassment could also constitute sexual abuse. Just because the victim is unaware of the conduct does not make it any less abusive.

Visual Abuse

Visual abuse occurs when an individual is exposed to unwanted sexual images and content. Some common examples of visual sexual abuse include uninvited exposure to pornographic or explicit photos, flashing, or performing sexual acts while another non-consenting person is present. If you are a victim of visual sexual abuse, you should preserve any images that could be used as evidence against your abuser. These will help a sexual abuse attorney build a civil case against your abuser.

Physical Abuse

Sexual abuse is often physical. If a person is subjected to non-consensual sexual touching or fondling, they are a victim of sexual abuse. This type of abuse includes a wide range of behavior, including touching, tickling, rubbing, sodomy, oral sex, licking, intercourse, groping, and any other unwanted or uninvited sexual contact. It is critical to understand that consent in this situation is more than just the absence of the word “no.” When an individual abuses their position of power, such as a coach or priest, a victim that does not say “no” does not imply consent. Furthermore, when the victim is a child, consent is not a defense.

States Are Making it Easier to File a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse

Over the last few years, there has been a surge in public and political support in helping victims of sexual abuse find redress through civil lawsuits. While criminal courts are available to prosecute sexual offenders, civil lawsuits allow victims to seek financial compensation from their predator and, if circumstances allow, the institution or organization that permitted the abuse to occur. High-profile lawsuits have been brought against organizations such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.

This groundswell of attention has prompted a movement in holding abusers and their organizations accountable, both criminally and civilly. Because victims of abuse commonly find it difficult to acknowledge or disclose abuse, especially if they were young children at the time, states across the country have been revisiting their statutes of limitations.

A statute of limitations sets the time limit for when a civil claim must be filed in court. Because it could take years or decades for a victim of child sexual abuse to disclose the abuse, many victims were barred from filing civil claims because they missed the deadline. However, over the last three years, fifteen states across the county have amended their statutes of limitations to provide victims of childhood abuse additional time to file a lawsuit. Vermont actually removed any deadlines. Other states, such as California, increased the time a person had to file a lawsuit from the age of 26 to 40.

In addition to increasing the time a victim had to file a lawsuit, a number of states enacted look-back windows. A look-back window is a set period of time where a victim of abuse could file a lawsuit even if their state’s statute of limitations previously barred their claim. You should speak with our experienced sexual abuse attorneys regarding the statute of limitations and look-back window in your state.

Contact Our Sexual Abuse Attorneys for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Sexual abuse is traumatic and victims are often affected for their entire lives. Survivors of abuse struggle with relationships and trust. They also suffer from depression and other psychological disorders. The staff and lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin represent victims of sexual abuse and aggressively pursue their predators. A civil lawsuit often provides emotional closure and the financial means to get the treatment and therapy a survivor requires. If you or someone you love was a victim of sexual abuse, schedule a confidential appointment by calling our office at (954) 800-7933.


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