Sexual abuse cases have been prime fixtures in the headlines in recent years. More and more individuals have been coming forward to share their experiences and seek justice. While some cases like those involving forcible rape are fairly obvious, others are a bit more complex. Sexual abuse covers a wide range of criminal actions of varying levels of severity. Here’s what you need to know about this important issue and what it might mean for you if you choose to take your case to court.
What Constitutes Sexual Abuse?
There are several offenses that fall under the category of sexual abuse:
- Sexual assault – This type involves forcing or even just attempting to force someone to commit a sexual act against their will. For sexual assault to occur, it does not matter whether the act was actually completed. It is more about the intention of the attacker in the situation.
- Rape – In cases of rape, the victim is forced to engage in sexual activity without their consent. To qualify as rape, the sexual act must be completed, not just attempted.
- Child sexual abuse – Sexual abuse involving minors falls under a class of its own. Children have not yet developed the mental capacity to determine whether or not they consent to a particular action. In these cases, the attacker is taking advantage of the child’s lack of understanding to force them into sexual behaviors.
- Sexual harassment – Typically associated with the workplace, sexual harassment can actually happen anywhere. This designation involves making comments or actions of a sexual nature to the extent they make the victim feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Grooming – This is a unique category that most commonly relates to human sex trafficking. The attacker in this type of scenario does not actually force sexual acts on the victim. They instead, prepare the victim to be provided to a client for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity. Even though the groomer isn’t the one committing the sexual act with the victim, they are still facilitating the abuse.
How Is Consent Determined?
With many sexual abuse cases from many years ago coming to the forefront these days, the question of consent is often raised. While this may seem like a black-and-white issue, it is not in actuality. Of course, in some cases, it will be very clear that the victim said “no.” In other cases, the situation can be a bit murkier. This is often the case when drugs or alcohol are involved. While under the influence, the victim may no longer have the presence of mind to make decisions regarding sexual acts. They realize after they have sobered up that they did not really mean to give consent. Courts must examine both parties’ sides of the story to determine what actually happened in the case.
Why Do You Need an Attorney in Sexual Abuse Cases?
When you are accusing someone else of sexual abuse, you may think the accused is the one who truly needs legal representation. While that is undoubtedly true, you need to have your own representation as well. Throughout the court proceedings, the defendant’s legal team will attempt to discredit you in any way possible. This can be incredibly challenging and emotional. Working with a lawyer can help you prepare for the rigors of cross-examination during the trial so you can handle yourself with grace under pressure. The more prepared you are, the better you will be able to present your case in a coherent manner. Thus, being able to communicate clearly and effectively to the judge and jury is incredibly important.
Andrew Pickett Law Is Here to Help
If you have been the victim of any type of sexual abuse, my firm will be more than happy to evaluate your case. We’ll work closely with you to uncover exactly what happened in your case so that we can advocate on your behalf in the courtroom. We can guarantee that we’ll do everything in our power to help you get the justice you deserve. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case in greater detail (321)-503-4014.