One option is to seek legal advice. A lawyer will need details like dates, locations, names, who else knew, who you have told, and any contact information of those involved. It is important to give as much detail as possible, but it is alright to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” It may also be pertinent to gather evidence. For example medical records, insurance billing copies, witnesses. They can work with you, and serve to educate you about the legal limitations, and options while representing you. Anticipate that the lawyer will ask you about how the abuse has impacted your life after the fact.

Within your legal options, there are many paths. Two options are criminal, and civil charges.

Criminal Charges

Criminal charges are a formal accusation made by a government authority (usually a public prosecutor or police) asserting that somebody has committed a crime. This charge may end in jail time. Consent being the dominant defense, it is often difficult for prosecutors to meet the strict "beyond a reasonable doubt" requirement for criminal conviction. According to the California Bureau of Criminal Statistics, from 1983 to 1988, of 15,373 arrests for rape, only 7,253 yielded convictions (1).

Civil Lawsuits

The civil justice system does not aim to determine the innocence or guilt of an offender. Instead, it seeks to determine whether someone is liable for the injuries sustained as a result of the crime. Civil suits are increasingly pursued by victims sexual violence to procure justice that the criminal courts may not provide. In civil suits, a lesser "preponderance of the evidence" requirement allows victims to recover in civil court even when their assailants have been acquitted, or have never prosecuted criminally (2).

We are not lawyers, and the information on this website does not constitute legal advice. We encourage you to contact a lawyer to discuss your complaint or suit.