College is supposed to be some of the most enjoyable and transformative years of your life. However, sometimes incidents do occur. Some of the most shocking of these is sexual assaults. You may be here because:
- A loved one or you, are or have been sexually assaulted, abused or raped
- At this point in time you are not sure of your legal options and rights
- You want to see those who enabled and allowed this abuse to happen be brought to justice
Our team of attorneys and staff are here to help.
Those who allow sexual assaults and abuse to occur on college campuses must be held accountable.
"Thank you." I didn't know where to go, the Abuse Guardian team really helped.
In recent years, the media has slowly caught on to what young women across the United States have known for generations - sexual assault on college campuses is a serious and widespread problem.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 5 female college students have experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.
The culture of college binge drinking creates many situations in which a victim of sexual assault is unable to give legal consent.
If you were involved in a sexual experience you didn't give consent for or were too incapacitated to remember, keep in mind that it's not your fault. It's never okay for someone else to engage with you sexually if you're not in the right state of mind to consent.
Struggles Faced By College Rape Survivors
Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in the United States, and this is even more pronounced on college campuses. According to a study by the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), only 20% of female student sexual assault victims between 18-24 report to law enforcement and only 32% of nonstudent females the same age file a report. There are many reasons why survivors are hesitant to report these crimes:
- Reported to campus officials instead of the police
- Thought the police and others would not believe them
- Didn't think there was enough evidence of the crime
- Knew the perpetrator and didn't want to get them in trouble
- Fear of retaliation from the perpetrator and/or social circle
- Believed the matter was too personal to go public
It's understandable if you're hesitant to take legal action after being sexually assaulted. It may feel like you're reopening old wounds when you'd rather just move past this difficult experience. But the people who commit these crimes often move on to other victims, especially if they've gotten away with it in the past. It's important for the criminal justice system to prosecute college rapists the same as any other sex offender, and for civil sexual assault attorneys to hold negligent parties responsible for either enabling, downplaying, or covering up these heinous crimes.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Title IX is a federal law which prohibits sexual discrimination in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. This definition of discrimination includes rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Schools with federal funding may be held legally responsible when a sexual assault occurs on campus or in one of its programs or activities if the school was aware of the sexual misconduct or did not do enough to prevent it.
Examples of university negligence which could result in liability under Title IX include:
- Admitting a student athlete with a history of sexual misconduct
- An administration not taking complaints of abuse seriously
- Covering up sexual assaults by star athletes or coaches
- Insufficient security measures to prevent violent crimes
- Falsely representing crime rates in campus geographical area
- Encouraging sexual assault survivors not to report crimes, to transfer schools, or take leaves of absence
Every school has a legal duty to provide a safe campus environment for their students and to properly investigate accusations of sexual assault. But too often, victims of these crimes are interrogated or even blamed themselves. If you're struggling to find justice within your university's disciplinary system, a victims' rights lawyer can help you hold your assaulter and your university liable for what you've been through.
How Filing A Lawsuit Can Help
If you've been the victim of a campus sexual assault, it's normal to struggle with the question of legal action. But criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits provide a variety of benefits not just for you, but for other survivors and college students throughout the nation. If more victims begin to speak out, these universities will be forced to reevaluate how they handle allegations of sexual assault. Slowly, but surely, we can begin to eradicate college campus rape culture if we fight back hard enough.
The civil court system is often a more reliable way to seek justice for victims. In civil trials, the standard of proof is "more likely than not" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt". Many victims are afraid of not being believed, or that there isn't enough evidence to find a conviction. But even if the criminal courts fail you, a lawsuit can help to hold both perpetrators and universities liable for the harm they've caused. A criminal conviction does greatly increase the chances of winning your lawsuit, but it is not necessary.
A successful lawsuit can help provide the financial compensation survivors need while recovering from a sexual assault, including damages for:
- Medical treatment for physical injuries
- Psychiatric treatment for psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
Our firm seeks to achieve all possible forms of justice for rape and sexual assault survivors. This means that we can help you with the process of filing a report with the police and also with filing a lawsuit against both your university and your attacker. Rapists and sex offenders need to be punished and taken off the streets so that they can't hurt other victims, and universities need to be held accountable when they fail to protect their students from sexual assault.
Our experienced sexual assault survivors' attorneys will gladly listen to your story in a free consultation and will only ask for payment if and when we win for you.