Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Attorney
Sexual abuse cases are some of the most difficult and painful that any client can experience. However, the Philadelphia injury attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices, promise to fight for our clients no matter what their cases entail. Sexual abuse cases are no exception. If you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse, we know opening up feels difficult or impossible. We promise that if you work with us, we will ensure your case is heard and you are treated with justice and compassion.
Sexual Abuse Statistics
Because of the stigma attached to sexual abuse and its highly personal nature, these crimes were not openly discussed for decades, even centuries. Yet they are more common than most of our clients believe.
According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, of the 23,000 responders to a recent university study, one in five had been sexually abused during college. Of those students, 28% identified as transgender. The study showed that sexual assault rates are higher among students who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. No one is exempt, though; the study found that people across genders, orientations, races, religions, and disabilities were affected.
You do not need to be a college student to be sexually abused. Anyone can be a victim, even and perhaps especially children. In 2012, 80% of the sexually abused children reported in Pennsylvania were girls. Of all substantiated reported abuse cases in Pennsylvania, 54% involved sexual abuse. Thirty-three children died from abuse, sexual or otherwise, in Pennsylvania during 2012. Additionally, the incidence of substantiated sexual abuse increased 1% between 2011 and 2012, indicating that the problem will continue to be prevalent.
One of the most tragic parts of sexual abuse cases is how often they go unreported. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), only 32% of rapes across the United States are ever reported, and only two rapists of 100 will see a single day of jail time. In the last five years, 68% of sexual assaults, on average, were never reported.
Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Abuse
In many cases, victims will not report sexual abuse out of fear, or because of the social stigma attached to being a sexual assault victim. Children and teens are especially vulnerable. Perhaps the perpetrator has threatened them or their family, or they fear they will not be believed. In other cases, the victim may unconsciously repress incidents of sexual abuse. If you suspect sexual abuse in a loved one, or suspect you, yourself, have repressed it, look for these signs and symptoms.
- Unexplained nightmares or sleep problems
- Refusal to eat/changes in eating habits
- Mood swings
- Sudden avoidance of certain places or people
- Physical signs such as bruising, trouble swallowing, or marks
- Thinks of their body as “dirty” or “bad” and expresses this
- Seems depressed/cries or becomes angry more frequently
- Suddenly has toys, money, or gifts and will not tell where they came from
- Speaks of sex in an unusually mature way/engages in mature sexual behavior
- Increased, seemingly unwarranted anxiety or fear
- Anger and depression
- Fear of or loss of interest in sex
- Avoidance of certain people or places/communicates the desire not to see them
- Sleep problems
- Compulsive eating, dieting, or similar behaviors
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
Additionally, note that some adults and children may be unable to communicate experiences because of disabilities or other vulnerabilities. In these cases, look for the above signs, as well as regressive behaviors, resistance to doctors’ exams, difficulty walking and sitting, or refusal to deviate from routine.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been sexually abused, contact the injury lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices. We will fight for you.