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Why Does Sexual Violence Often Go Unreported?

Published on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:14 am in Title IX.

Sexual assaults are a horrific crime that a large amount of people have unfortunately experienced. About 23 million women and 1.7 million men have suffered from rape or attempted rape during their lifetime. This is an unacceptable and terrible thing. While we cannot undo what was done, the lawyers at Thomas Law Offices can offer legal options. You can make a stand with a sexual assault claim. We believe in advocating for survivors and making sure you get the justice you deserve.

With high numbers of sexual abuse, some may wonder why sexual violence can go unreported. But there are a few reasons that prevent survivors from raising their voices and accusing their abusers. It’s important to understand the precarious situation they are in and to think about what could be keeping them from speaking up.

What Can Prevent a Survivor from Speaking Out?

When someone has been sexually assaulted, they may not want to come forward and make a report. Unfortunately, there are a few reasons for this.

Sometimes, the survivor’s partner is the one who committed the assault. According to the 2016 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), one in four women and one in nine men were assaulted by an intimate partner. This includes physical violence, contact sexual violence, and stalking. The survivors often struggle with issues such as physical injury, feeling unsafe and afraid, and need help.

When someone is in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to speak out for several reasons. They may be too scared to speak out in fear of retaliation—such as more violence or worse. If there are children involved,  this may also add concern that if they speak out, violence could be taken out on the child. There may also be emotional confusion because the survivor may also remember the better qualities of their abuser and think that this was a minor hiccup.

There’s also the fear of speaking with police. The survivor may worry about the police making the report either not believing them or somehow blaming them for what happened. A survivor may also make a report but fear that nothing will come of it.

A survivor may not even know how to come forward in the first place. About 8.5 million women are raped before the age of 18. A child may not even understand what’s happening to them—or they may not know who to trust. If someone close to them is the assaulter, it could be that this person has power or some way to manipulate them into staying quiet. Whether it’s through threats, coercion, or the abuser has taken advantage of child’s ignorance about what is and isn’t normal behavior, the abuser can convince the child to not speak up.

The bottom line is sexual assault is never the fault of the survivors. They don’t have to report what happened if they’re not comfortable doing so. However, survivors shouldn’t feel like their voices won’t be heard or believed.

Thomas Law Offices Will Help You Seek Justice

Thomas Law Offices is here to help you. We understand how difficult and scary it can be to come forward, but we will stand beside you. We will help you hold your abuser accountable for their actions.

About 52 percent of women and 17 percent of male survivors experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. They may need professional help to deal with the trauma and find ways to live a healthy life after their ordeal. But these sessions can be tricky because they can be expensive and the survivor may require help for an indeterminate amount of time. The professional may also offer treatment that includes medication, which the survivor will need to find a way to afford.

Our lawyers will do everything we can to help you seek damages for what you’ve been through. Your settlement will help you get the care and the help you need so you can begin to recover.

Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation. Our understanding lawyers will meet with you to discuss your case in a judgment-free and safe environment.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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