Sexual abuse is devastating for victims and is a major problem in our society. When you turn on the news each day, you are likely to see stories of sexual assault and they often involve celebrities, people society looks up to.
However, we want everyone to understand that this is not just a problem for famous or wealthy people. Sexual assault happens all the time.
Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. recognizes that victims of sexual assault can have deep emotional scars that last a lifetime. When you need a Staten Island sexual assault attorney, call us today so we can work on securing the compensation you deserve.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault in New York is prosecutable under Penal Code Sections 130.52 – 130.70, Forcible Touching and Sexual Abuse Offenses. Many people do not understand that sexual assault includes many things that can happen to someone, all of which are detrimental to a person’s physical and emotional well-being. Sexual assault includes:
- Any unwanted or non-consensual sexual act performed on someone or in which someone was forced to perform.
- Any unwanted sexual touching over or underneath the clothing.
- Exposure to or being forced to watch sex acts or pornography.
- Someone exposing themselves to you.
- Sexual harassment, including making inappropriate sexual comments.
Essentially, sexual assault is a broad term that can reference any sort of unwanted sexual contact with another person. Generally, rape is thought to be the most serious sexual assault charge. First-degree rape occurs when a perpetrator has forcible sexual intercourse with someone who is unable to consent due to age or physical helplessness. Under New York Penal Code Section 130.35, first-degree rape is a Class B felony.
Criminal sex acts occur when someone who is not legally capable of consenting or is forced to consent is penetrated orally, anally, or vaginally. Forcible criminal sex acts are punishable under Penal Code Section 130.50.
Other types of sex assault charges include:
- 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-degree sexual abuse
- Aggravated sexual abuse
- Persistent sexual abuse
- Forcible touching
- Female genital mutilation
- Facilitating a sex offense by giving the victim a controlled substance
- Sexually motivated felonies
Where Does Sexual Assault Occur?
Most people think of sexual assault and rape happening in a dark alley with the perpetrator being a stranger. However, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says that In eight of 10 cases of rape, the victim knows the perpetrator.
Sexual assault can happen in the:
- Schools and universities
- Healthcare settings
In many cases, sexual assault happens in the victim’s own home or in the home of someone they know and trust. The victim can be a close acquaintance or even an intimate partner. We want to stress that sexual assault can be committed by a person’s partner or spouse if the acts are not consensual.
How Often Does This Happen?
The “Me Too” movement has shown us that sexual assault is a major problem in this country and it pervades all aspects of society. One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped during their lifetime. That is a staggering number.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN):
- An American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds.
- A child is sexually assaulted in our country every 9 minutes.
- Hundreds of Americans are affected each day by sexual violence.
- Only 25 out of 1,000 sexual perpetrators are imprisoned for their crimes.
- Each year, 60,000 children experience substantiated sex abuse.
- Among Americans aged 12 and up, there are more than 433,500 sexual assaults or rapes each year.
- 17.7 million American women and 2.78 million American men have been raped since 1998.
Victims of sexual assault often develop serious emotional and psychological problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many victims say that their personal and work lives are permanently affected due to an assault. It is vital that victims get the help and counseling they deserve.
Past Sexual Assaults
At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. our sex assault attorneys understand that it can take time for a victim of sexual assault to come forward with allegations against their abuser. Recognizing this, the state of New York passed the Child Victim’s Act in 2019 that extended the amount of time that victims have to report their abusers to authorities (the statute of limitations). This extension applies to sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual molestation, and rape, raising the criminal statute of limitations by five years for victims “seeking redress for physical, psychological or other injury caused by child sexual abuse to age 55.”
This groundbreaking legislation helps victims by:
- Giving survivors of child sexual abuse until age 28 to press felony charges or age 25 to press misdemeanor charges against the predators who abuse them.
- Allowing survivors of child sexual abuse until the age of 55 to bring a civil action against their abusers so that they can collect monetary compensation for their past traumas.
- Permitting claims against private and public institutions and eliminating the previous requirement to give notice of claims. This applies to entities such as school districts and state or local municipalities.
- Training judges to better handle child sex abuse cases.
An Attorney Can Help You Now
Whether a sexual assault has recently occurred or you are just discovering that a sexual assault happened to you in the past, let us help. We recognize that these cases can become complicated, but Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. will be by your side, fighting to secure the compensation you deserve, which could include the following:
- Compensation for needed counseling
- Pain and suffering damages
- Lost wages and benefits
- Punitive damages against those responsible (including anyone who covered up the assault)
Even if too much time has passed to hold your abuser accountable in criminal court for the offenses against you, it may still be possible to hold the person financially responsible with a civil action.