Sadly, sexual assault or abuse cases in our college and university campuses continue to make headlines nationwide. Sexual abuse cases on college or university campuses are more frequent now than you can imagine despite relentless efforts by law enforcement officers to curb this immoral crime. Alcohol and drug use is the main contributing factor to the high rate of sexual abuse on various college campuses.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse on your college campus, you should consider retaining the services of an attorney. Having a reliable attorney in your corner is a step you cannot regret in your pursuit for justice after falling into the hands of sexual predators on your college campus.
Attorneys at Sex Crimes Attorney can help you seek the justice you deserve if you are a victim of campus sexual abuse wherever you are in California. Apart from protecting your interests and legal rights during these stressful and emotional moments, we will also offer you helpful resources to help you on your road to healing and recovery.
Understanding Sexual Abuse
According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), sexual assault or sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual act with another person, including those where a victim is a person legally incapable of consent. Typically, a victim is legally incapable of consent if:
- They are under the influence of alcohol or other illegal drugs
- They have a severe psychiatric disorder (insanity)
- They are below 17 years of age (minors)
Generally, sexual abuse can occur in many ways, especially on our college campuses, where we expect to be safe. Below are common forms or types of sexual abuse you ought to know:
- Sexual battery
- Rape or attempted rape
- Unwanted touching or fondling
- Sexual coercion
- Forcing another person to commit particular sexual acts like oral sex without their willful permission or consent
Reasons Why Sexual Abuse is More Common in Our College Campuses than Other Crimes
Typically, nearly 2/3 of students on various campuses nationwide will experience sexual assault in one way or the other, with not more than ten percent of them reporting it to relevant authorities. There are higher chances that you are likely to be abused sexually than robbed on most college campuses as a student.
Generally, several factors can put you at a high risk of falling into the hands of a sexual predator on campus, including newfound freedom. Since you can now make most of your life decisions, your friends can pressure you to engage in activities you would otherwise not engage in while at your parents' house, for example, drinking alcohol and attending night parties.
The need to fit in and peer pressure can also make you engage in unwanted sexual acts with strangers despite feeling unsafe and uncomfortable. It is during these kinds of activities that most sexual abuse cases occur.
General Factors that Puts Your Child at Risk of Sexual Abuse in Their College Campus
Several factors elevate the risk or chances of your child falling into the hands of a sexual predator at their college campus. As you might beware already, alcohol and drug substance use is the primary contributing factor to most of these sexual abuse cases we hear about on our college campuses nationwide because alcohol affects a person's ability to consent.
According to research conducted in 1998, about 23 percent of male participants acknowledged using alcoholic beverages or other unlawful drugs to convince women to engage in sexual acts with them. Generally, alcohol and illegal drug use elevate the risks of being a victim of sexual abuse and increase the sexual predator's courage and the severity of the sexual attack.
Based on the same research, men who engaged in heavy drinking were more likely to commit a sexual abuse crime than those who were sober or did not participate in heavy alcohol drinking. Apart from drug substance use and alcohol, other factors that increase the chances of falling in the hands of a sexual predator while on your college or university campus include:
- Their residential status
- Dating violence
- Their age and the current year in school
- Their race or ethnicity
- Sorority membership
- Misogynistic mentality or ideology
- Their grooming behavior
- Sensation seeking behaviors or need to fit in with the campus culture
- Other prior maltreatments or victimizations, especially in past relationships
All of the above factors, individually and together, generally put you at higher risk of being a victim of sexual abuse while on your college campus. It is upon the Department of Education and Higher education institutions to implement tough regulations within their university campuses to end this annoying sexual abuse culture once and for all.
Potential Perpetrators in a Campus Sexual Assault Case
In most cases, perpetrators of sexual abuse know their prey (victims). Generally, 8/10 rapes cases (not only on college campuses) happen by an abuser or perpetrator familiar to the victim as either an acquaintance, relative, or perhaps a previous romantic partner.
According to reports from university students, approximately thirty-one percent of perpetrators of sexual abuse were people recognizable or known by the survivors because:
- Thirty-three percent of these perpetrators were former romantic partners
- Twenty-five percent of the perpetrators were friends
- Thirty-five percent of campus sexual abuse victims identified their abusers as classmates
- Five percent of undergraduate students blamed their teachers for sexually abusing them
Typically, sexual abuse cases do not happen the way we see in the movies, where the abuser or perpetrator is a random guy loitering in a hidden parking lot or hiding in a dark corner. It is wise to be vigilant on your college campuses, even when hanging around with people you call friends, not only strangers.
Reasons Why Most Campus Sexual Abuse Cases Go Unreported
If you are a victim of sexual abuse on campus, you should report your case to the Title IX office within your campus or the nearest police post. According to the Department of Education (DoE), every school should have an office for responding specifically to sexual abuse cases.
However, most students who are victims of sexual abuse on campus find it difficult to report their cases to relevant authorities for the following reasons (but not limited to):
- Embarrassment or shame
- Fear of being blamed
- Fear of retaliation
- Feeling like their case is not serious enough to qualify or to justify this type of report
- Feeling of guiltiness
- Fear that these officials will not believe their cases to be true
- Concerned that these officials will not take the necessary action to investigate their cases
- The urge to let go or suppress this memory
Generally, several reasons can prevent you from exercising your Title IX civil rights after falling into the hands of a sexual predator on your college campus. Some victims of sexual abuse on their college campus make efforts to report their cases, only to realize that the necessary procedure for making these reports is strenuous and complex to abide by during those stressful moments.
There are many reasons why victims of campus sexual abuse fail to report their cases to relevant authorities in most cases. It is often a combination of many reasons that make most victims of campus sexual abuse shy away from reporting their cases.
The Responsibility of Schools in Ending Campus Sexual Abuse Culture
Universities and colleges can curb or end sexual abuse cases on their campuses by ensuring procedures and policies in place are clearly understood by students. If relevant supportive policies to address sexual abuse cases are not in place, the university management must implement them as soon as possible as required under Title IX.
Title IX or Title 9 is a section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that protects students in secondaries, universities, and colleges from discrimination based on gender identity, race, sexual orientation, or skin color. That means you can sue your school for monetary damages if you are a survivor of any form of sexual abuse on your college campus.
Generally, each school has the legal responsibility of ensuring students are safe from sexual predators to give them a conducive environment to study. According to Title IX, schools must have a program to respond to sexual abuse reports effectively and promptly. Below is what schools can do to prevent sexual abuse cases on campuses:
- Offer relevant courses that students can take per semester or annually to educate them about sexual abuse, warnings signs, consent, and prevention measures
- Create basic safety rules and guidelines that students can follow to ensure they are safe while on their campuses
- Ensure all students are aware of the current university or college policies, particularly those addressing sexual abuse
- Create or implement better procedures and policies to make it hassle-free for victims of campus sexual abuse to report their cases
- Provide "safe places" to victims of sexual abuse to allow them to disclose their experiences confidently to someone discreet and understanding
Helpful Steps to Take in the Aftermath of a Sexual Abuse Incident in Your Campus
The physical and mental trauma of being abused sexually can leave you stressed and confused. If you are a victim or survivor of campus sexual abuse, you should take the following steps right after the incident:
Ensure You Are Safe
After falling into the hands of a sexual predator, the first step you should take should be to protect your health and safety. It is natural to be shocked and confused following a sexual abuse incident, but you have options. To ensure you are comfortable and safe, you should consider calling your family member or friend to come over and give you the company you need to cheer up.
Seek Medical Attention
Although it is up to you to decide what actions to take in the aftermath of a sexual abuse incident, it is wise that you seek medical attention for the following reasons:
- The doctor can know whether or not you have an unseen internal injury and offer the necessary treatment
- The doctor can determine whether or not the perpetrator was infected with an STI (sexually transmitted infection) for proper medical care to lessen or prevent any chances of developing the infection
- The doctor can collect DNA samples of the alleged perpetrator
Ensure you speak with a reliable medical provider immediately after the sexual abuse incident, even if you feel okay for the above reasons.
Process Your Experience
The desire to avoid talking or addressing a sexual abuse incident is common among most victims or survivors of this traumatic event. However, you have to be ready to process the incident to heal from this whole situation because healing cannot happen overnight. That means you have to go through it and feel it because you cannot go over it or under it.
If possible, you should consider sharing your experience with your best friend to help your process the trauma. Seeking the services of a therapist can also help you cope with your emotions and feelings during these stressful times.
Speak to an Attorney
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse on your college campus, it is wise that you talk to an attorney to know your legal options. Your attorney will investigate and research to know prevention measures or programs your college has in place to curb and end rampant sexual abuse cases on campus.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the better because they will need ample time to investigate your case and gather evidence from eyewitnesses to build your compensation claim against the perpetrator or the school for violating your Title IX rights.
Filing a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator for sexual abuse can provoke feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. However, it is the right step to take if you are a survivor of sexual abuse on your college campus to receive the monetary damages you deserve and put an end to this persistent immoral culture on our campuses.
For that reason, you need an attorney to gather the necessary evidence that can support and prove your compensation claim for the best possible outcome. To lessen your options on your search for a dependable attorney, you should consider your prospective attorney's:
- Accessibility and availability
- Cost of services and terms of payment
A reliable campus sexual assault attorney will protect your interest during the claim process to receive the justice you deserve if you are a survivor of sexual abuse on your college campus.
Tips that Can Help You Move Forward From the Experience of Campus Sexual Abuse
A reliable attorney will not only offer you legal representation on your case, but they can also offer you the advice you need to move forward and heal from the experience of campus sexual abuse. The following are some of the helpful steps you can take to heal and move forward from an incident of campus sexual abuse experience:
- Utilize the available school resources that can help you feel safe again while on your campus. For instance, you can seek the help you need from your college by asking about tutoring or counseling services, or perhaps you can consider changing your current dorm or class schedule
- Educate your peers on ways to curb campus sexual abuse cases and how to protect themselves
- Figure out ways you can become involved in your college or university to share helpful information about sexual abuse and educate other comrades on the common risk factors that put them at risk of sexual abuse
How to Know if You Have a Viable Compensation Claim Under Title IX for Being Sexually Assaulted on Campus
As mentioned above, if you are a survivor of sexual abuse on your college campus, you can sue the perpetrator or the school for monetary damages. For an award of significant compensation on your campus sexual abuse case, a dependable and confident attorney will advise you to sue the university or college instead of the perpetrator.
Your college can be liable for your damages if they have violated your Title IX civil rights, including protection against any form of sexual abuse or harassment. Your university or college officials could violate your students' rights under Title IX if they received your complaints about the campus sexual abuse case. However, they acted with deliberate indifference when addressing your unique case. For instance by:
- Failing to provide you with your deserved accommodation
- Failing to provide you with your deserved academic accommodations
- Allowing professors to make fun of your case
- Failing to enforce a "no contact" rule to keep the perpetrator away from you
- Failing to address continuing retaliation or harassment
- Dragging out, or by being reluctant in following up on your campus sexual abuse complaint or report
If that is the case, you could have a viable Title IX violation claim for sexual abuse on your campus. Your attorney will guide you on the process of filing this claim for adequate monetary compensation that you deserve for being a victim of sexual abuse on your college campus.
The Time Limit for Filing a Title IX Violation Claim as a Victim of Sexual Abuse in Campus
If you are a victim of sexual abuse on your college campus, you should take the necessary steps to seek justice on time. Generally, you have up to 180 days from the date you were sexually assaulted on your campus to file a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education (DOE).
Once you file your complaint, the DOE should send you a receipt electronically acknowledging that they have received it within two weeks. If you do not receive feedback on the complaint within that time frame, your attorney can help you file a civil lawsuit against the school for violating your Title IX civil rights.
Typically, you have up to two years from the date of the sexual abuse incident to file a civil lawsuit against your college for violating your Title IX rights. This time limit is legally known as the statute of limitations, and it is available to ensure cases are filed on time while the necessary evidence is fresh to make the judgment on the case.
If you fail to file your civil lawsuit within this time frame, you could lose your right to sue the school, even if the alleged perpetrator is guilty of the offense at trial in the criminal justice system. To avoid missing your chance of seeking the justice you deserve for a sexual abuse case, you should talk to an attorney as soon as you can to begin the investigation while the evidence is still fresh.
Types of Damages in a Campus Sexual Abuse Case
When you file a civil lawsuit against your college for violating your Title IX rights, you typically demand them to pay you damages or/and take particular actions on the case. If everything goes in your favor on the Title IX lawsuit against the school as a survivor of sexual abuse on your campus, you will receive the following types of damages:
The court will award you economic damages for current and future possible losses you could incur due to the sexual abuse injury, for example:
- Medical expenses
- Mental health care expenses
- Lost income and possible lost future earnings
In a Title IX lawsuit, non-economic damages are also available for losses which you cannot attach a dollar figure, for example:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Lack of sleep or nightmares
Apart from the above possible types of damages, a Title IX civil lawsuit against your college as a victim of sexual abuse will also typically result in recommendations for the appropriate cause of action if you win your case, including:
- Changes to your university or college sexual abuse reporting and investigation rules and policies
- Mandatory sexual education for university employees and students
- Taking appropriate action against all perpetrators of sexual abuse on campus
Find a Campus Sexual Abuse Attorney Near Me
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse on your college campus, you could be eligible for damages in a civil lawsuit against the school or the perpetrator. We at Sex Crimes Attorney can help you maneuver the confusing legal justice system to achieve the compensation and justice you deserve.
We invite you to call us at 888-666-8480 to discuss your campus sexual abuse case with our understanding and confidential attorneys wherever you are in California.