Sexual Assault LAwyers in Washington DC, Virginia & Maryland
Fighting for Sexual Abuse Victims - It's Never to Late to Get Justice!
Many victims of sexual assault will choose not to report the offense nor pursue legal action against their perpetrators for many reasons. This is not difficult to understand, as a sexual abuse experience can have long-term physical, mental, and emotional repercussions. At Ashcraft & Gerel, we completely understand. If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual violence, you deserve access to an experienced and compassionate sexual assault lawyer who is on your side.
As a sexual abuse victim, you may feel that you are on trial yourself. The other party may try to prove your partial or full participation in the crime or tarnish your credibility in an effort to weaken your case. At this point, you need all the legal support you can get. Our sexual assault attorneys in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC are prepared to hear your story, present you with options, and ensure that you get dedicated legal support at this most crucial time.
Most Sexual Assault Victims Know their Abuser
The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as sexual contact or conduct performed by one individual on another who has not stated any explicit consent. Therefore, rape is just one type of sexual assault. The act encompasses a variety of sexual activities such as touching, fondling, forcing another to perform sexual acts, attempted rape, and actual rape.
These assaults can take place anytime and anywhere. Sexual assault lawyers often discover through client testimonies that the abuse, in fact, took place in their homes, in their work cubicles, in the office pantry, or even in the house of the perpetrator. It is a myth to say that sexual offenses always take place in dark, unfamiliar places such as corner streets or alleys.
Statistically speaking, most victims personally know their offenders prior to the instance of crime. Despite this, you should know that you are still within legal bounds to take legal action even if you have been assaulted by someone you know, someone you work with, or someone more privileged than you are.
If you are confused about your position as a victim of sexual abuse, a trusted sexual assault attorney can help you legally and emotionally. At Ashcraft & Gerel, our sexual assault lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources needed to help you file criminal charges or a civil suit against your attacker.
Sexual Assault Affects All Types of People
The assumption that only women are victims of sexual assault is untrue. Although male victims are fewer in number than female victims, men are still subject to abuse. It is essential to remember that sexual assault is defined by the lack of explicit consent and the unfair use of force. A reliable sexual assault attorney will remind you that anyone can fall victim to these abuses.
The National Statistics on Sexual Violence reports that out of four women and out of six men, one will have experienced a sexual assault at least once in their lives. One out of 33 men will have struggled against attempted rape or actual rape at least once in their lifetime.
And in a report by the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), male college students are up to five times more likely to be a sexual assault victim than non-students. A higher number of transgender students are sexual assault victims.
No matter what gender you identify as, you can still file a complaint. Your legal representation can further discuss with you the many falsehoods surrounding sexual violence and what can be done about it.
Spousal Sexual Assault
There is a misconception that one cannot be charged for a sexual crime against their spouse. That is not true. In almost every state, the sexual assault laws have been extended to cover spousal sexual abuse. It can no longer be accepted at face value that a sex act between married couples did not involve sexual abuse. If the spouse refused to participate in the sex act and was forced to have sex under a threat or fear of bodily harm, this will be considered sexual abuse. If reported, the perpetrator can be charged.
Common Myths about Sexual Abuse
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of false claims surrounding sexual violence. The Office on Violence Against Women by the U.S. Department of Justice has put together a list of debunked myths about sexual assault.
If you are a victim, you may consult further with your sexual assault lawyer on these falsehoods.
Common myths include:
- An individual’s promiscuous dress or action will inevitably invite sexual assault: A person’s outfit or demeanor cannot inherently translate to a sexual invitation. Remember, an act qualifies as sexual assault if the victim did not explicitly state his or her consent to the act or force.
- A victim could have prevented sexual violence if he or she did not leave home: As already mentioned, an attack has nothing to do with location. Many victims have experienced assaults in their own homes. In fact, even if someone goes into another person’s house, this should not be construed as an invitation or consent to engage in sexual activity.
- If the individual drinks or takes drugs, he or she cannot cry foul over a sexual assault: The consumption of alcohol or drug use is not considered as a cause of sexual abuse. It is a criminal act for someone to use alcohol or drugs for the purpose of subduing and forcing the victim to engage in a sexual act.
- To prove sexual assault, a victim must exhibit hysteria: It is wrong to assume that simply because someone is quiet, he or she could not possibly be a victim of sexual assault. Different people react differently to sexual violence. Silence does not invalidate or disprove a person’s experience of abuse.
- For a sexual assault to be credible, it must be reported immediately to the authorities: The time it takes for a victim to file a report does not correlate to the validity or authenticity of his or her sexual assault claim. Many victims, in fact, choose not to report the attack because of trauma, fear of retaliation, or worry that they may lose their jobs.
Reporting Sexual Assault
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, victims of sexual violence may report their complaints at any time, whether it is directly following the incident, weeks or months later, or even years after the incident.
There are also parties that may be held liable in a sexual violence case other than just the perpetrator(s). In many cases, the offender works for the same company as the victim or is a student at the same university. Certain rules and limitations apply when determining whether an office or a school can be held accountable for a sexual assault complaint. This is why it is best to seek advice from your sexual assault attorney in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia.
An Employers’ Accountability for Sexual Assault
The perpetrator’s position in the company primarily determines your employer’s liability. If you were assaulted by someone who serves as the company owner’s proxy – for example, the company president – then the employer will be strictly liable for the offenses committed by your assaulter. This liability is also apparent if the assaulter is your immediate supervisor, and even more so if there is an established proof of unfair use of authority over you.
There will be some difficulty in establishing your employer’s liability if the offender is an employee or a customer, or if they are not your immediate supervisor. However, this doesn’t mean that your employer cannot be held responsible for negligence. Once it is proven that your employer had complete knowledge of the harassment or assault but failed to take necessary action, they will be facing serious legal consequences.
A sexual assault lawyer at Ashcraft & Gerel can help you examine the crucial points of your case and determine whether your workplace should also compensate you for damages.
An Academic Institution’s Responsibility for Sexual Assault
According to the Education Amendments of 1972, specifically under Title IX, sexual discriminations are prohibited on an educational program that is a recipient of federal funding. This sexual discrimination encompasses harassment, rape, and sexual assault.
The following are some of the highlights of the ruling:
- To qualify as discrimination, the harassment must be serious and persistent so that it already affects the victim’s education.
- A college or university determined to possess authority over the offender and the location of the offense will be held liable.
- There is a Supreme Court ruling that holds an academic institution responsible if it is proven that the school failed to respond necessarily and responsibly to the complaint.
- Furthermore, the Supreme Court requires a college or university that is the recipient of federal funding to pay compensation to the student-victim if there is an established proof of the school’s negligence and indifference.
A dedicated sexual assault lawyer will make you understand how you may be able to obtain compensation, not only from your assaulter but also from other parties held accountable due to non-action, negligence, or indifference.
Choose the Sexual Assault Attorneys Who Will Fight for You
A sexual violence case is almost always a sensitive struggle, not only for the victim but also for the victim’s family and witnesses. Therefore, it is important to choose a sexual assault attorney who possesses the legal knowledge, experience, and commitment needed in a sexual offense case.
Our sexual assault attorneys in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland will:
- Explain your options
- Be committed to your case
- Inform you of your rights
- Study the finer details of your complaint
- Be empathetic and compassionate when representing you
Reach Out to Ashcraft & Gerel
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we are committed to helping you regain what you have lost, one step at a time. If you are looking to file criminal charges or to seek compensation in a civil court, we are here to help. We are ready to listen to your story, present you with your legal options, and fight for your rightful compensation.
Call (800) 674-9725 to request a free initial consultation.
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