It is not uncommon for victims of child sex abuse or molestation not to tell anyone about the sexual abuse. Victims may keep this horrible secret with them until adulthood. Some do not come forward because they are afraid of their abusers. For instance, a coach who is molesting a teenage boy on his football team may tell the boy that he will hurt his sister if he tells anyone. Out of fear and love for his sister, the teenage boy stays silent. Others may not come forward because they block it out of their memory and deny that it ever happened.
Some victims are not physically threatened by their abusers, but are often silenced by extreme feelings of guilt. Abusers often form complex, emotional bonds with their victims. For instance, a teacher may pay extra attention to a victim who comes from a broken home and tells the child that the sexual behavior they engage in is what people do when they love each other. Though the child may be uncomfortable with it, she may go along with it and believes the abuser because he is so nice to her.
Devastating Effects of Child Sex Abuse or Molestation
Many victims encounter problems when they enter into adulthood. Many have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships or experience sexual dysfunction. Some may turn to drugs and alcohol resulting in addiction issues. Some are chronically depressed or suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
As difficult as it may be, it is important for victims of child abuse to come forward. They need help and support in order to start the healing process. There are many support groups that victims of sexual abuse can turn to.
In addition, victims of child sex abuse have civil legal rights against their abusers. Even though years may have passed, they may still have rights against them. The law governing when victims of child sex abuse can sue is the statute of limitations, and it varies from state to state in the context of victims of sex abuse.
In Pennsylvania, if victims of sexual abuse were under the age of 18 when the abuse occurred, they have until their 30th birthday to file suit.
On the other hand, in New Jersey, a child sex abuse victim has 2 years to sue their abuser after they discover the injury and its relationship to the sex abuse. A 35 year old who was sexually abused by a teacher when he was a child may be able to file a lawsuit against the teacher/school. The 2 year clock starts ticking when the victim discovers that he suffered damage which was caused by the abuse.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sex abuse, contact Brian Kent, an experienced sex abuse victims civil lawyer in NJ and PA. Mr. Kent handles child molestation, sexual assault, sex abuse, and priest/clergy abuse cases. Mr. Kent also works with attorneys nationwide and can handle sex abuse matters in other states on a case by case basis. 800.220.7600
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