A sexual abuse survivor has to deal with the trauma of what happened and may struggle with what to do next. While the survivor does not have to come forward, some may want to but fear the repercussions of these actions. If you want to bring charges against your abuser, an Omaha sexual assault lawyer from Welsh & Welsh will stand by your side and make sure your voice is heard.
We protect the rights of our clients in Nebraska and will always do so. We believe the stories of survivors and will take a stand against those who sexually abuse others. It doesn’t matter if the person is powerful or rich, we won’t be intimidated and will always fight for you to get justice.
Sexual Assault Defined in Nebraska
According to the Nebraska Revised Statute 28-319, sexual assault in the first degree applies to any person who doesn’t have consent and sexually penetrates another person who isn’t able to mentally or physically stop them, or if the person was 19 years or older and the victim is below the age of 16.
This crime is a Class II felony. It’s up to the judge to determine if the survivor suffered serious personal injury by the attacker when they’re considering the sentence.
There is a mandatory minimum 25 years in prison for those who are found guilty of sexual assault in the first degree more than once.
It’s scary to think about, but people are capable of sexual abuse no matter how upstanding or unassuming they seem to the community. Those who commit sexual abuse can share some similarities, but none are exactly alike:
- Men are more likely to commit sexual violence when they’re in a place where these crimes go unpunished.
- Rapists don’t have a typical profile. Should an attorney claim that the person accused of sexual abuse couldn’t have done it because they don’t fit a profile, their point is unsubstantiated. There is no profile for a rapist and the person needs to be judged on their actions, not how people perceive them.
- Sexual offenders may lie about how many people they’ve attacked.
- They rationalize their behavior.
When people undergo such a traumatic event, there may be certain changes to their personality or behavior that could signal they were assaulted. Knowing what those signs are could help someone recognize that their feelings are typical of what happens to survivors.
The Trauma of Sexual Assault
There are a lot of traumatic problems a survivor may have to deal with after an assault. Unfortunately, there are many kinds of injuries that they may have to deal with:
- Sexually transmitted diseases. They may have contracted an STD from the assault, which will need medical attention and care.
- Unwanted pregnancies. It’s possible for a survivor to have an unwanted pregnancy. They have an emotional and difficult decision to make. They can terminate the pregnancy, have the baby and go through the adoption process, or keep the baby.
- Bruises, abrasions, lacerations. The survivor may have injuries that will require time and treatment to recover from.
- Additional assault injuries. This could include broken bones or other injuries that occurred because of the attack.
- Psychological Trauma. Physical injuries aren’t the only outcome of an attack. The survivor may also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. These often require a professional to help the person deal with their trauma. There’s also no time limit on how long this kind of treatment would be needed.
It’s incredibly difficult for anyone to deal with the trauma of an attack and what can happen after. But those who were attacked can get help.
You may be wondering if someone close to you has been assaulted. There are a few ways you may be able to tell that someone is dealing with trauma. The sooner the survivor gets the help they need, the sooner they can start to heal.
How to Recognize Symptoms of Sexual Assault
A survivor may exhibit certain signs that could indicate someone has assaulted them. Not everyone shows the same symptoms, and it’s not the same for all age groups. Adults, teenagers, and children who have been assaulted may share some similar characteristics, but there are also signs that correspond with their age group that are strong indicators of abuse.
The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) is an important public resource that provides information and data about sex offenders across the country. They list the following as possible ways survivors will present signs of sexual abuse:
- Adults. They may feel anxiety, depression, anger, or guilt following the attack. Survivors may have flashbacks, appear frightened when something reminds them of the assault, have a poor self-image, and struggle with their close relationships.
- Teenagers. At this age, survivors may also develop depression and anxiety. They may also stop maintaining hygiene, develop eating disorders, be afraid of getting close to people, and abuse drugs and alcohol. In extreme cases, teenagers may be suicidal or self-harming.
- Children. Young children may have issues with sleeping, suffering from nightmares, changes in eating habits, mood swings, portraying sexual images in art, thinking their body is dirty, and may exhibit adult knowledge or language.
Being aware of these signs could help someone recognize that another has been sexually assaulted and possibly start getting them on the path to recovery.
What Factors May Influence Sexual Assault?
It’s common for people to wonder who would do something as terrible as sexual assault. While there isn’t an exact profile for a sexual abuser, there may be a few common factors across cases.
- Age. Predators may target those that are younger because they won’t be able to defend themselves or won’t understand what’s happening.
- Size and strength. It can be common for an attacker to use their bigger size and strength to sexually abuse someone smaller.
- Using fear tactics or lies. A predator may use threats or lies to prevent the individual from coming forward and telling someone. When the predator coerces the abused individual, they could be too scared or feel that they can’t reveal what’s happening.
- Authority. Predators in positions of power may use their authority to take advantage of someone with less power.
- Lack of a support Individuals who don’t have a strong support system may not have someone they can confide in if they were attacked. An abuser may see this and start to target that individual.
Even if none of these factors were present in your case, your traumatic experiences will still be taken seriously and you will be treated with the respect you deserve. We will investigate your case and hold the attacker responsible for their actions.
Omaha Archdiocese Sexual Assault Accusations
Unfortunately, those in trusted positions of power can abuse those with less power than them. Sexual assault can occur in the workplace, schools, and college campuses. It’s not always evident that a person is sexually abusing others because the community is taught to trust leaders or those in respected jobs. This also reaches into religious communities.
In November 2018, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha released the names of 38 people associated with the clergy, including priests, who were accused of sexual misconduct. Since the accusations were credible, a state prosecutor requested for the names to be released.
The allegations date back to 1956, although reports were made in 1978. The church is sorry for the pain and suffering the survivors went through. Currently, no one in the archdiocese’s ministry has allegations of sexual abuse.
Coming forward can take time. Survivors from this time may have felt that they didn’t have the support needed to say what happened to them or were afraid they wouldn’t be heard. But that is changing, and survivors have people that can help them.
What Resources for Survivors Does Nebraska Have?
Survivors may feel alone or scared—but they may have support that they don’t know about. Nebraska has a vast network of resources for sexual assault survivors all over the state. These resources are full of kind, understanding people who are ready to provide help with empathy.
Resources like the NSOPW also list out rights that survivors have. Knowing these rights may help people feel more comfortable coming forward. It takes a lot of courage to speak up, but these resources are here to give survivors a strong foundation.
Survivors have the following rights:
- To be treated with respect and dignity.
- You don’t have to answer any questions about orientation or history (including sexual and medical).
- You can decide if your conversations are confidential.
- You don’t have to report the attack to the police if you don’t want to.
- You can have an advocate or counselor come with you to meetings with law enforcement, doctors, and legal teams.
- You decide if you want someone you trust and are comfortable with to stay with you in an examination room.
- You can ask questions about any aspect and can expect answers. This could be from medical tests, treatment and medication, and also applies to police reports.
- You are a survivor, and your relationship to the offender has no effect on this.
Our lawyers in Omaha understand these rights and will always follow them should you decide to speak out.
Sexual Assault Losses
The losses that a survivor has after an attack can be expensive. But they can seek compensation for these damages. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted, your lawyers can help you recover the following losses:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Treatment for psychological purposes
- Costs of terminating the pregnancy
- Costs of having the baby
- Punitive damages
When a survivor has to deal with the financial cost of these losses, they can feel overwhelmed and it can be much more difficult for them to recover. But they don’t have to deal with them on their own. Welsh & Welsh will do everything possible to get you the compensation that you need so you won’t have to worry about financial struggles.
Welsh & Welsh Is Here to Help You
If a sexual assault survivor wants to come forward and bring their abuser to justice, it takes a tremendous amount of courage. They need to know that they will be treated with respect and will be taken seriously. Survivors can expect this from Welsh & Welsh.
Our legal team will do everything possible to bring the abuser to justice. While it won’t undo the trauma of what was done, it may help to know that this person is being held accountable for their actions. If you’ve been abused and want to come forward, get in touch with us today.