The emotional and mental scars left behind after a sexual assault can last a lifetime. At Thomas Law Offices, we believe victims of assault should have the opportunity to seek justice and hold their abuser accountable for their deplorable actions. While laws vary by state, sexual abuse typically involves unwanted sexual contact. If you believe you’ve been assaulted and are ready to take action, our team will be by your side every step of the way.
Survivors of sexual assault have the right to come forward with information about the incident to take legal action against the attackers. We understand what sexual abuse or assault can do to someone, which is why our Cincinnati sexual assault lawyers will handle your case with the utmost respect and dignity.
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Sexual Assault Statistics
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, instances of assault are not uncommon. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), someone in America is sexually assaulted every 92 seconds. On average, there are 321,500 victims of sexual assault or rape, ages 12 or older, each year in the United States. It’s important to note that sexual assault refers to unwanted sexual contact. Rape refers to nonconsensual intercourse through psychological coercion or physical force.
RAINN is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. They partner with more than 1,000 sexual assault service providers to carry out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure attackers are brought to justice. They provide the following data on sexual assault statistics:
- The majority of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30.
- Those between the ages of 12-24 are at the highest risk for sexual assault or rape.
- One out of every six women is a victim of rape.
- One out of every ten rape victims is male.
- Approximately 80,600 inmates experience sexual violence in jail or prison each year.
- Unwanted sexual contact in the military often goes unreported.
Victims of sexual assault in Cincinnati can seek guidance from Thomas Law Offices. We can examine your situation from a legal perspective and help you decide how to take action against the offender.
Factors Contributing to Sexual Assault
Cases of sexual abuse typically involve an inappropriate use of power. There are a number of factors that contribute to that power, including authority, age, physical size, and coercion. Your attorney will investigate your situation and determine which factors apply to your case.
When an individual holds a position of inherent advantage above someone else and sexually assaults them, they are using their authority to do so. An example would be if a teacher becomes sexually involved with a student, who may feel obligated because of the teacher’s role of power.
Age plays a role when minors are victimized by adults. The child is too young to protect themselves from the assault. Physical size is also a factor that contributes to sexual abuse between adults and minors, but it can be present if two adults are involved.
The final contributing factor is coercion. Children, inmates, and people with mental handicaps are vulnerable to sexual assault through coercion. Often times, the perpetrators create stories to explain their victims’ behavior and discourage reporting.
The Effects of Sexual Assault
The damage caused by sexual assault is not just physical. Victims are often left to deal with mental and emotional consequences that last for many years or even longer. Those who have suffered abuse may also develop unhealthy ideas about relationships, resulting in emotional distress and destructive behaviors.
According to RAINN, the likelihood that a person suffers from suicidal or depressive thoughts increase after sexual violence. 94% of women who are raped experience post-traumatic stress disorder two weeks following the incident. 30% of those women report experiencing PTSD symptoms nine months after the rape. People who have been sexually assaulted are also more likely to use drugs, experience problems with family, friends, and co-workers, and at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit abrupt changes in behavior, depression, low self-esteem, and promiscuous behavior. Professionals who notice theses behaviors have a duty to report them.
Sexual Assault Laws in Ohio
In August 2019, a priest was indicted on nine counts of rape in Cincinnati. As with any case involving sexual assault, the state laws apply when it comes to determining what happens to the attacker when victims come forward or evidence is discovered.
Ohio has a number of definitions for sex crimes and penalties. Your attorney will know which definitions apply to your case, so holding the abuser accountable is an easier process.
- Rape in the First Degree. This is defined as nonconsensual conduct based on the four factors we discussed above: authority, age, physical size, and coercion. Depending on the crime, punishments include up to $20,000 in fines and anywhere from three years to life in prison.
- Sexual Battery. The definition of sexual battery is similar to rape in the first degree, but it is a second or third-degree crime, so the punishments for jailtime range from nine months to eight years.
- Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor. A minor is a person who is 13 years or older, but less than sixteen years of age. The offender has to be at least 18 years old for this crime to apply. Six months to eight years of prison time is possible.
- Gross Sexual Imposition. This occurs when an abuser forces two or more persons to have sexual contact. Coercion is typically involved. Six months to five years imprisonment is possible.
- Sexual Imposition. This is similar to gross sexual imposition, but without threats. Jail time is anywhere from 60 to 180 days.
- Importuning. Importuning is soliciting a person who is younger than 13 years of age to engage in sexual activity. If this crime is committed, the abuser could face six months to eight years in prison.
If you plan to come forward with a sexual assault case, you’ll need to be aware of the existing statute of limitations that limit the time you have to take legal action. If you miss the time frame, your case will likely be dismissed without review.
In Ohio, the statutes of limitations change depending on the crime. For rape and sexual battery the victim has 25 years to come forward. Victims of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor or gross sexual imposition have 20 years. Sexual imposition has only a two-year time limit. You lawyer will know if any exceptions apply to your case.
Demand Justice with Thomas Law Offices
If you or a loved one was subjected to unwanted sexual abuse, you deserve support and justice. We can help you get the chance to move forward with your life without worrying about your past. Contact a Cincinnati sexual assault lawyer from Thomas Law Offices for a free, confidential discussion about your legal rights. The sooner you take action, the better the chances are of holding the perpetrator completely accountable for their actions.