Being sexually assaulted by someone you love or trust is extremely traumatic, confusing and emotionally shattering. How could the one person who is supposed to respect and protect you hurt you instead?
If you are a victim of intimate partner sexual assault, you are not alone. Feelings of fear, guilt and doubt about whether you were to blame for the assault can send you into an emotional tailspin. This part can be especially difficult if the intimate partner is a husband, sole provider or loving parent to the victim’s children.
Sexual Abuse in Intimate Relationships
We have represented hundreds of women and provided consultations to more than 1,000 potential victims. One thing we know is that victims of sexual assault by an intimate partner may be apprehensive to take action after the attack, struggling between:
• Concealing the incident
• Telling a close friend
• Calling a sexual assault help group or hotline
• Talking about the assault with the abusive partner or spouse
• Visiting an emergency room
• Seeking the help of a counselor
• Contacting a sexual assault attorney
• Going directly to local law enforcement or the court
When children are involved and taking action against the perpetrator could disrupt their lives, the situation becomes even more delicate and complex. Sadly, waiting to report sexual assault increases the likelihood and makes the victim susceptible to repeat occurrences of physical, verbal and emotional abuse.
Abuse is destructive and devastating no matter what form it comes in, but a recent study published by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) revealed that “sexually assaulted women had worse mental and physical health than women who had been physically but not sexually abused.” Many also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as higher rates of pregnancies, drug and alcohol use and thoughts of suicide.
What is Considered Sexual Assault?
Anytime unwanted sexual contact occurs, it is considered sexual assault under California law. “Sexual assault” is also used interchangeably with the phrase “sexual abuse.” It can happen to men or women, and can be threatening, forced, violent, silent or just plain nonconsensual.
Rape is a type of forced sexual assault. When a person in a position of power through strength or influence takes sexual advantage of another person, it is considered sexual assault. It may involve weapons or happen when the victim is unconscious, asleep or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The perpetrator can be a spouse, a former or current boyfriend/girlfriend or a first-time date. In any case, unwanted sexual activity or touching is never okay and against the law.
Don’t Let Sexual Assault Define You
As a passionate legal advocate for victims of sexual assault, Jessica Pride can help you regain your life, dignity and self-confidence. It takes enormous courage to come forward and Jessica holds all details of your case in the strictest of confidence.
If you are ready to talk about your experience, your action can help bring healing to your life. Please contact Jessica Pride at (619) 516-8166 to learn about your legal rights and where to go from here. All consultations are private with no cost and no obligation, so feel free to call just to talk.
Intimate Partner Sexual Assault is a Personal Matter
For many victims, sexual assault by an intimate partner is not always obvious, which is why the majority of first time offenses go unreported. Victims may not be aware that the relationship status is irrelevant in sexual assault. As long as the assault was non-consensual for the victim, it is considered a punishable crime.
Unfortunately, sexual assault often causes tremendous emotional distress and family disruptions, especially when it continues over a period of time.
Victims often suffer from:
- Shame, embarrassment or guilt
- Lack of confidence and dignity
- Mistrust or the fear to trust someone
- Extreme anxiety
- Concern over the children other family members
- Low self-esteem
- Unstable home for children
- Loss of work and income
Statistics On Intimate Partner Abuse
Statistics show that sexual assault by an intimate partner happens often, significantly impacting the physical and emotional health of victims and their families every day.
- According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. 25 percent of sexual assaults are committed by a current spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
- In the United States, studies estimate that between 40 – 52 percent of women experiencing physical abuse also suffer sexual abuse by their partner.
- A study by the National Institute of Justic (NIJ) study shows that “older children (aged 12 to 18 years) of sexually abused mothers showed more depression and had considerably more behavioral problems than children of mothers who had not been sexually assaulted.”
Intimate Partner Rape and California Sexual Assault Laws
Varying degrees of sexual assault and rape can occur within an intimate relationship, whether the couple is married or not.
According to California sexual assault laws:
- Consensual sexual activity requires that both partners are willing and able to cooperate or it is considered a crime.
- Spousal rape falls under the same umbrella as domestic violence in the state. They are both considered to be felonies.
- Spousal rape is viewed similarly to non-spousal rape, according to California Penal Code 262. Rape in any situation is firmly forbidden, leading to serious punishment for those convicted.
- A person accused and convicted of spousal rape can be fined, face up to eight years of imprisonment and be required to register a as sex offender.
Have You Experienced Sexual Assault by a Partner?
If you’ve been sexually assaulted by an intimate partner, your story matters. You may feel unsure about what happened or worry that you’re making a big deal out of it, or perhaps you wonder if you somehow brought it on yourself.
No matter how it happened, you are worth fighting for. You can simply start by having a private phone call with Jessica who can provide you with reliable advice in a confidential setting. You may also be entitled to compensation to help with treatment for healing of physical, mental or emotional pain.
Having fought on behalf of countless victims, Jessica Pride understands how to handle the sensitive nature of sexual assault cases:
- All details pertaining to your case are held in the strictest of confidence.
- Jessica works relentlessly on your behalf while providing one-on-one, compassionate support throughout the entire process.
- You will receive professional guidance about your legal options. Unfortunately, many sexual assault perpetrators do not face criminal charges due to the criminal court system, but they can be held accountable for their actions in civil court.
- Every effort is made to ensure your claim moves through the civil court system as quickly and quietly as possible.
- If you are located outside of California, Jessica can pursue your case with her nationwide legal network. No matter your location, your safety and well-being are most important.
- Clients take comfort in knowing they can personally call upon Jessica to address concerns, ask questions or simply when they need support.
Sexual Assault Should Not Be Tolerated
You may not have chosen to be a victim, but you can choose to be a survivor. You do have a voice, and we will help you find it again. Contact Jessica Pride at (619) 516-8166 and begin your journey of healing. All consultations are free, with no obligation.