Rachel, a high school senior, was told by a teacher to “work it out” with the fellow student who raped her in the band room after school. Maricruz, an immigrant farm worker in the Salinas Valley, was fired by her employer for reporting a rape committed by her supervisor. And for the Riverside third-grader who was molested repeatedly by a classmate, the fear of his attacker prevented him from saying anything to any authorities for more than a year.
Even though more 207,000 people each year report being sexually assaulted or abused, victims of this crime repeatedly confess to a feeling of utter isolation in the midst of their trauma. It’s this feeling that keeps thousands more victims silent and thousands more sexual crimes unreported. Whether they don’t know the resources they have, are afraid of reprisal, or feel too much shame to come forward, the outcome is silence. And it allows perpetrators of sexual crimes to continue victimizing others while victims remain locked in a sense of helpless loneliness.
Jessica Pride is a San Diego attorney who understands the pain that these victims go through. That’s why she is committed to helping them overcome the shame and silence. Along with doing everything to bring perpetrators of sexual crime to justice, she offers a wealth of resources to victims to show them their rights and let them know they are not alone.
If sexual activity occurred without your consent, it is considered assault. It does not matter:
- What your gender is
- What your attack’s gender is
- Whether the attacker is related to you, or in a position of authority
- How much you had to drink
- What you were wearing
- Anything about your sexual history, past or present
Sexual assault happens to all kinds of people, not to certain kinds of people. And certainly not just to you.
Someone is accountable for the wrong done to you, and it may not be only the perpetrator. Other people who may be held accountable are:
- Property owners who are aware of dangerous conditions or persons on their property, but take no action to prevent it.
- Companies that employ supervisors who pressure employees into unwanted sexual encounters.
- Parents who host a party where they watch underage drinking occur and an intoxicated teen is raped.
The criminal court justice system can and does sometimes fail victims of sexual assault. But that is not the end of the road. Jessica helps victims like you prosecute your case in civil court, to make sure that the person who violated you is held financially accountable for the damage they caused.
There is Hope — and Help
Coming forward about your situation does not mean you have to become a “spokesperson,” or be in the public eye at all. It simply means finding the resources you need to recover your life, while also helping protect others from being attacked the way you were. Here are some local resources that Jessica Pride recommends to sexual assault victims, who don’t know where to turn:
- Center for Community Solutions — This is the go-to local place for victims of sexual assault.
- San Diego Trauma Therapy — Offers psychological counseling and therapy for victims suffering from various forms of post-traumatic stress disorder related to rape and sexual abuse.
- Women’s Resource Center in Oceanside — They are dedicated to providing the highest quality supportive services, counseling, shelter and education to female victims of abuse.
For students, UC San Diego and other local college campuses offer on-site locations for sexual assault victims to seek help.
The websites for the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County District Attorney offer fact sheets that define “assault” and “consent,” highlight the penalties for cases of rape and abuse and offer resources for victims and first responders.
Recently, a number of smartphone “apps” have been developed to give sexual assault victims quick, easy access to help, and even coordinate with GPS to help emergency services find you quickly.
All of these resources and more can be found on the Resources page on this site are vital to understanding what your rights are, as a victim of sexual assault.
Shape Your Story
Jessica is committed to helping people like you break free of their “victim” status, and change their story from victimization to triumph. Don’t remain silent—there is hope, and help, for you.
If you or someone you know has been hurt by sexual assault, check in every month to our Victims’ Forum, to read stories that offer both sympathy and hope for your situation.
And if you need help right now, contact Jessica Pride for a confidential consultation. There is no cost.