Sexual abuse is a broad term covering a wide variety of sexual offenses. In simple terms, this abuse refers to unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact. It can include groping, molestation and rape. Virtually any type of unwanted sexual contact would be covered in this category.
Sexual abuse is truly a crime of opportunity. Contrary to popular belief - it is not ordinarily an offense that is committed by complete strangers. It is typically performed by someone who the victim knew very well or someone that they trusted.
Sexual abuse commonly occurs in the family home, by family members or close friends. It can also be committed by extended family or by neighbors. They are often victimized in their own home, or in the home of someone that their parents trusted.
Sexual abuse commonly occurs in nursing homes. The elderly are especially vulnerable due to their fragile nature, both physically and psychologically. They may not have friends or family to complain to, or their complaints may be easily dismissed as "wild hallucinations" or fragments' of their imagination.
Sexual abuse can also occur in the workplace. Although women are more likely than men to be victimized in the workplace, men can be victims as well. In these cases, victims are usually victimized by someone who is in a position of power and authority. These types of cases are often unreported because the victim fears losing their job and their livelihood.
The most disturbing types of sexual abuse are directed towards children and pubescent adults. These types of abuse are nearly always committed by a relative or someone who was entrusted to care for them. Aside from occurring in the home - child abuse can take place in a daycare setting, at a preschool, or in any type of elementary, middle or high school setting. Children can also become the prey in settings involving church groups, and youth groups or they can be victimized by priests and the clergy. Young boys and girls have also been taken advantage of by their coaches and Boy Scout leaders.
Unfortunately, history has proven that in many cases of child sexual abuse - other adults have been aware that it was taking place but they decided to ignore such activity as opposed to reporting it. This has happened in a great number of churches and even some schools. When these organizations fail to take the necessary action to stop such crimes against children - and execute the appropriate disciplinary action against the perpetrator - they are in fact condoning it.
Sexual abusers are known for having multiple victims. If they are not stopped, they usually continue selecting new victims. In many cases, their crimes escalate as they perfect their crime. Furthermore, many people who were victims of sexual abuse as children grow up to be the abuser as well. The only way to put a stop to the vicious cycle is to everything within legal means to bring the abusers to justice.
In the United States, sexual predators are criminally prosecuted. This means they can be sent to jail and be forced to pay heavy fines. What about the victims who they left emotionally scarred in their wake? Victims can file a civil lawsuit against their attacker, and in some cases against other adults or organizations who knew the abuse was going on, but swept it under the rug. If you or someone you love was sexually abused - a personal injury attorney can help. Although your physical injuries might have healed, a settlement could certainly help with counseling or anything else that would heal the psychological damage that was done.
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