Legally defined, sexual assault is any form of sexual contact imposed on you without your consent. It can range from unwanted intimate touching to rape. It can even involve situations where someone abuses a position of authority, power, or trust to make you agree to sexual activity.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your relationship with the perpetrator is. Whether it’s a complete stranger or someone you know, sexual assault is a crime. No one has the right to threaten or force you to have sexual contact with them. If it has happened to you, help and justice are available.
Sexual Assault Can Happen to Anyone
According to the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc., an average of 47.7% of Kentucky women and 19.6% of Kentucky men have experienced sexual violence. There are no barriers in terms of age, race, color, gender, or gender identification. It can happen to anyone.
Sexual Assault Can Happen Anywhere
Sexual assault is an insidious crime that can happen anywhere. From private homes to workplaces, university campuses, business parking garages, casinos, and more, there are very few places where it can’t happen.
At Schafer Law Office, we understand how emotionally difficult it is to initiate a sexual assault claim. That’s why we encourage you to reach out to us in any way that’s most comfortable for you, whether it be via phone, email, or video conferencing. Our sexual assault victim lawyer in Louisville will collect the information and file the claim that holds the perpetrator responsible. We can also direct you to various support resources that can help you as you heal.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Sexually Assaulted?
After such a traumatic event, it can be hard to know what to do, but to help ensure that your attacker is held accountable, you should call the police as soon as possible. To help them gather evidence, do not do any of the following:
- Take a bath or shower
- Wash your hands
- Comb your hair
- Take any alcohol or drugs to calm down
- Change or wash your clothes
- Clean up or otherwise disturb the area where the assault occurred
Sexual assault is a felony in Kentucky, so there is no time limit for reporting it or laying charges, but the sooner you notify the police, the easier it is for them to collect the evidence that supports your claim.
What If I Didn’t Fight Back or Report It Right Away?
Never blame yourself for sexual assault. Sex must be consensual, and just because you didn’t fight, scream, or immediately go to the police doesn’t mean that you consented.
There are many tactics that perpetrators use to compel you to have sex with them. They include but are not limited to:
- Giving you drugs or alcohol to impair your judgment
- Threatening to harm you or someone close to you
- Using a position of authority to coerce you
- Threatening you with economic harm (e.g., firing you)
They will also discourage you from reporting the abuse by:
- Making you feel as though the assault was your fault
- Telling you that no one will believe you
- Saying that they “did not mean” to do it
In fact, many sexual assault victims don’t report the attack right away. They want to wait until they feel safe in reporting. If this is how you chose to proceed, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Can I File a Civil Claim for Sexual Assault?
While sexual assault is a crime, you can still file a claim against the perpetrator in civil court, even if they’ve already been sentenced in criminal court. Compensable damages in a Louisville sexual assault claim include:
- Medical treatment you required after the assault
- Psychological and emotional trauma
- Counseling services
- Loss of wages or employment
You may even be able to sue a third party. If a business failed to apply reasonable security measures such as proper lighting in a parking garage or a co-worker was able to assault you because your employer did not complete a thorough enough background check before hiring them, they may be liable for damages.
When Should I Call a Sexual Assault Victim Lawyer?
We encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Although the District Attorney’s office will pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator, you can have a sexual assault victim lawyer appear on your behalf during the proceedings to assert your rights as a crime victim. Your lawyer can also help you prepare and pursue a civil claim.
We Fight for the Rights of Sexual Assault Victims
At Schafer Law Office, you can count on an experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer to help you receive compensation and justice. If you or someone you love has experienced sexual assault, please contact us at 502-584-9511 for a confidential and private consultation.