Whether you’ve been sexually harassed, assaulted, or abused, it is only fair that you get your day in court and speak the truth about your ordeal at the hands of your abuser. Every sexual abuse survivor deserves to never live in perpetual fear of their abuser.
Too many sexual abuse victims carry the burden of shame and guilt when they should not. No one deserves to live like that. Thankfully, with the help of an experienced sexual abuse lawyer in Texas, you can hold your abuser accountable, bring them to justice, and make them pay for what they did to you.
Sex Crimes in Texas – Addressing Injuries of a Very Personal Kind
The terms sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual abuse often come up in the news regarding “Me Too” allegations against public figures and others in positions of power and prestige. Loose definitions of the three terms are as follows:
This often occurs in workplaces but can also happen at school, in public places, and anywhere else people interact, either in person or online. Sexual harassment can mean anything from unrelenting “catcalls” to unwanted sexual comments, jokes, and insults. Sexual harassment is often strictly verbal.
This may mean forced physical contact, with incidents ranging from unwanted erotic touching to full-scale rape. Aggressive behaviors like unsolicited self-exposure may be considered assault.
This covers a wide variety of ongoing behaviors, potentially including harassment, assault, and grooming aimed at eventual assault. These actions are often facilitated through power imbalances between:
- Adults and children
- Clergy members and parishioners
- Teachers and students
- Coaches and student-athletes
- Camp counselors and campers
- Doctors and patients
- Therapists and clients
- Nursing home care attendants and nursing home residents
For a free legal consultation with a Texas sexual abuse lawyer, call our toll-free line. We serve Houston, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Austin, and other cities in Texas.
For a free legal consultation with a sexual abuse lawyer serving Texas, call 844-349-9196
What to Do if You’ve Been Sexually Abused
Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse, including children and adults –particularly vulnerable senior citizens in nursing homes. Allegations of sexual abuse should be taken seriously, especially when they come from innocent young people or disabled adults who would ordinarily have no reason or impetus for making false claims.
It is equally important to take all sexual harassment, assault, and abuse complaints seriously. If you have been subjected to sexual abuse — whether recently or long ago — you may have come to realize that you suffer from psychological trauma, possibly including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional damage, and maybe even physical effects.
You should not hesitate to seek help, which may include:
- Reporting wrongdoing to an authority, such as a police department or a department chair of an organization
- Psychological therapy
- Medical evaluations
- Legal action against a perpetrator such as a teacher, coach, or doctor
Don’t Hesitate to Speak Out
Many people who have experienced sexual abuse suppress the memories until something makes those thoughts rise to the surface. Self-blame and self-hatred are common internal responses. Telling someone of their experience often brings relief and hope to many victims.
Furthermore, filing a damage claim or lawsuit may bring monetary relief. Financial resources can help pay for therapy, compensate for debilitating emotional distress, and otherwise offer pathways to rebuilding a rewarding life despite the indignity and pain of sexual abuse.
Texas Sexual Abuse Lawyer Near Me 844-349-9196
Sexual Violence Damages That You Can Claim
Sexual violence survivors often have to deal with the physical, mental, and psychological fallout. They often need medical treatment, psychological therapy, and medication.
If you are a survivor and are thinking of making an assailant pay for the act of sexual violence committed against you, you can file for one or more of the following damages:
- Cost of medical treatment – Victims can contract sexually transmitted diseases after an assault. Therefore, they’ll need the money to cover all past, present, and future medical costs required to help them heal. This also covers all psychological or psychiatric treatment costs.
- Loss of wages – Survivors who sustained injuries or ailments because of the assault may need a lot of time away from work.
- Loss of income-earning capacity – Sometimes, victims can be so traumatized that they cannot work optimally or in the same organization after sexual abuse.
- Battery and assault – Victims can claim damages for the injuries they sustained if they were physically battered before, during, or after they were assaulted (this is known as aggravated sexual assault).
- Loss of consortium – If the assault causes the victim to withdraw from interactions with their loved ones or impairs their relationship, they can file a claim for this.
- Mental anguish, anxiety, and depression – Women who are victims of sexual violence are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem, harbor thoughts of self-harm, become suicidal, or develop major depression.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder – Estimates show that 3.8 million American women have suffered rape-related PTSD (RR-PTSD).
These are just a few damages a sexual violence survivor can claim. And these claims can be filed against the accused and third parties who may have enabled the attacker in some way. A texas sexual violence attorney will likely give you a full list of the damages you may be entitled to and what you need to do to file the claim.
Should You File a Criminal or a Civil Sex Crime Charge?
In Texas, it is possible for someone who committed a sexual crime to face criminal charge and a personal injury or civil lawsuit simultaneously. The criminal charge is usually brought by the state prosecutor, while the civil lawsuit is usually filed by the survivor.
The civil lawsuit allows the survivor to get financial compensation for the injuries and trauma brought on by the incident. Under Texas law, the focus of a civil suit is more on the recovery of damages than punishment and jail time. It requires less “burden of proof” than a criminal case.
If your personal injury lawsuit goes well, you’ll receive compensation. Depending on the circumstance, the case may or may not go to trial. However, if you’re looking to get a sense of justice and send the accused to jail, you may have to forgo any chance of receiving financial compensation.
Your Texas sexual crimes attorney will be better able to advise you so you know whether to settle or move forward to trial.
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Who Is Liable in a Texas Sexual Assault Case?
Sexual abuse can be straightforward and simple or convoluted and complex. It depends on the peculiarities of the case in question. While the perpetrator is typically held responsible, there may be other enablers who can also be liable for your trauma and suffering.
These negligent third parties include organizations, people in authority, and anyone who could have done something to prevent the assault in the first place but didn’t. The organizations or entities don’t have to be outrightly complicit. They only need to be negligent to be liable too.
For instance, if a nursing home doesn’t train and monitor their staff, and one of them assaults an elderly citizen in their care, the entire organization can be liable. Another example is the catholic church’s enablement of an environment where priests have gotten away with child abuse crimes for years.
In summary, if an organization, a building, an office, a supervisor, or anyone with a duty of care neglects to perform their legal obligations to ensure that people are safe from harassment and assault, they can be named in a sexual assault lawsuit.
How Long Do You Have to File a Sex Crime Charge?
Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for a sexual assault case varies. According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 16, the statutes of limitations are as follows:
- Maximum of 30 years for a child sexual abuse personal injury lawsuit
- Maximum of 5 years from the day of the sexual assault for an adult
Therefore, if you’re an adult whose sexual assault occurred less than 5 years ago, you still have the opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit against all erring parties.
But if you were a child when the assault occurred, you have a 30-year window within which you can bring legal action against the offender. There’s also a rule allowing the official 30-year statute of limitations to begin counting from age 18.
If you want to know if your case is within the required window, speak to an experienced Texas sexual assault lawyer about it.
Our Experienced Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help
Our personal injury attorneys aim to bring about justice for people harmed by others’ wrongdoing, including victims of sexual abuse, such as children, student-athletes, and nursing home residents.
Attorney Tony Buzbee and our experienced trial lawyers bring significant knowledge, resources, and determination in the fight to deliver justice to vulnerable young people and adults who have been abused.
Schedule a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free line today or fill out our contact form to talk to our skilled Texas sexual abuse lawyers.