Victims Forum

Trial Lawyer Care – Lip Sync Challenge

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, trial lawyers pledged to do what they do best – give voice to the voiceless. They promised to provide free legal services to any family who applied for help from a newly created federal fund. Trial Lawyers Care was the nonprofit organization that made those free legal services possible.

Trial Lawyers Care (TLC) counseled 4,000 families. More than 1,100 lawyers provided free legal help to more than 1,700 families who applied for financial help. Lawyers provided a combined total of more than 100 years of service on these cases.

Today, Trial Lawyers Care continues to ensure its goal of making legal representation available to those in need, from disaster relief and detained immigrants to our military heroes and special forces, those who need their rights protected will have effective representation.

With life-altering subjects, many of the TLC participants have decided to show a different side of our profession – while advocating on behalf of our clients, we take a moment to have fun with our team and our respected colleagues.

The Simon Law Group kicked off the #TrialLawyersCareLipSyncChallenge. For each firm who creates and posts a Lip Sync Challenge video, The Simon Law Firm would donate to the Los Angeles Trial Lawyer’s Charities (LATLA).

Since its founding in 2006, the LATLA donated:

  • Over 550,000 pounds of food;
  • Over $120,000 in college scholarships;
  • Over $100,000 to youth sports;
  • And over Over $4,000,000

Without further adieu, here is our firm’s submission. Comment below and let us know what you think!

Pride_Law_Firm_Challenge from Jessica Pride, Sexual Assault At on Vimeo.

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
September 27, 2018

Thousands of Migrants Report Sexual Abuse While in Custody

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency policy prohibits sexual abuse. Although abuse is illegal regardless of your citizenship, migrant victims of sexual abuse often live in fear and helplessness after the trauma of their assault. Because of this, many do not know where to find help and suffer in silence.

If you have experienced sexual assault as a migrant or while being detained by ICE, you can achieve justice and find healing. You are not alone and you have rights, no matter your legal status. Our compassionate team of advocates are here to provide legal recourse for you if you have been a victim of sexual assault. The Pride Law Firm is available to answer any questions you have, free of charge and completely confidentially at (619) 516-8166.

Knowing Your Rights as a Migrant

Migrants and detainees often do not know they have rights that protect them against sexual abuse. Many are also unaware that state and federal laws have harsh penalties for sex offenders. Because migrant women are often unfamiliar with U.S. laws, it is common for them to avoid reporting sexual abuse at all.

What rights do migrants and detainees have against sexual abuse?

Sexual contact of any kind between detainees and staff is illegal. State and federal laws are in place to protect women and children in detention centers. Additionally, detention facilities are required to act swiftly upon being notified about abuse and provide effective intervention and treatment for victims.

Understanding your rights as a detainee is the first step towards ensuring your safety. Immigrant women who have been sexually assaulted or fear sexual assault have the right to:

  • Report it safely and confidentially to authorities.
  • Immediate protection from the attacker and a referral to a medical examiner.
  • Appropriate housing to prevent further sexual assault.
  • Transportation if the victim’s safety is a concern.
  • Collection of evidence and referral to a community facility for treatment when possible.
  • Reproductive health services such as access to pregnancy testing, counseling, HIV testing and care.
  • Security in the form of a same-sex chaperone for medical treatment.
  • Receive a copy of medical records at no cost and have their medical information kept confidential and maintained separately from detention records.

Detainees who know their rights may still need help naming their perpetrators. Knowing your rights is sometimes not enough to give victims the confidence they need to stand up for them. You may find that working with an experienced sexual assault attorney makes this process much easier and provides significant comfort, security and protection.

Challenges to Reporting Abuse for Migrants

Victims who hesitate to report abuse may already be in danger or unaware of their rights.

Tragically, those in detention are often fleeing violence and persecution in their home country. Many are asylum seekers, living in fear of deportation without access to lawyers. Guards may readily take advantage of a detainee’s vulnerability.

Thousands of women and children have experienced abuse while in custody. Because they feel they have nowhere to turn and do not know how to report sexual abuse, perpetrators are getting away with the crime.

“On top of feelings of shame and the victim-blaming that all survivors face, detainees who are sexually abused by staff are faced with the horrifying prospect of having to report the assault to their rapist’s colleagues and friends.” – Jessee Lerner Kinglake, Just Detention International

Underreported Sexual Abuse at Detention Centers

In addition to fear and isolation, cultural barriers and a lack of resources are key factors in the underreporting of migrant sexual abuse.

Victims may feel angry and hurt, yet hesitate to file a complaint. These conflicting feelings are normal and a part of processing a deeply traumatic event.

Jessee Lerner Kinglake, communications director of anti-sexual violence group Just Detention International, explained, “On top of feelings of shame and the victim-blaming that all survivors face, detainees who are sexually abused by staff are faced with the horrifying prospect of having to report the assault to their rapist’s colleagues and friends.”

While it is difficult, reporting sexual abuse is important for protecting yourself or other victims.

Reporting Migrant Sexual Abuse

If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse at a detention center, we grieve your losses with you. We are here to enforce the laws and regulations in place to protect you and your loved ones against this horrible violation.

Please follow these tips to help ensure your safety against assault at a detention center:

  • Report sexual harassment or abuse to the appropriate authorities. A detainee should be able to call 911 from any phone in the facility without charge.
  • Keep a record of everything that happened with as much detail as possible, including the sexual act, time, location and all who were involved.
  • File a complaint that includes the information detailed above. *Be sure to make a copy of the complaint before submitting it.
  • Submit a report to The Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Instructions for how to do this are here.

Other abuse survivors have fought for their rights and won. Their stories are listed below (be advised, the following stories are explicit).

Abuse Survivors Share Their Stories

Countless migrants have reported instances of sexual assault at detention centers, but few have received justice without taking legal action. The following stories of migrant sexual abuse resulted in successful convictions of their perpetrators.

migrant sexual abuse

Maria left the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center in Texas. After packing her belongings, officials escorted her to a van where she met the driver, a male guard named Donald Dunn. Not long after leaving the location, the driver pulled the van to the side of the road and attacked Maria.

“He grabbed my breasts … He put his hands in my pants and he touched my private parts,” she said. “He touched me again inside the van, and my hands were tied. And he started masturbating.”

An investigation found that Dunn had assaulted as many as five women. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating the detainee’s civil rights and received a 10-month sentence in federal prison.

A 19-year-old woman identified as E.D. was staying in a family detention center in Pennsylvania with her 3-year-old son when a male guard sexually assaulted her.

“I didn’t know how to refuse because he told me that I was going to be deported,” the young woman explained. “I was at a jail and he was a migration officer. It’s like they order you to do something and you have to do it.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer faced charges for the abuse. The 40-year-old guard, Daniel Sharkey, later pled guilty to institutional sexual assault and is now facing time in prison.

“Frankly he had sex with her against her will,” explained E.D’s attorney. “Her desire was to see him put away for a long, long time because of the damage that he did to her.”

Ending Migrant Sexual Abuse

For many in our country’s immigration detention system, detention is associated a loss of rights, liberty, and separation from loved ones. Vulnerable detainees in the network of jails across the nation often experience sexual abuse.

Furthermore, most migrant victims do not realize that reporting sexual assault is the safest path to ending the abuse. The civil courts can help a victim receive the justice she and her family need.

With an experienced law firm, assault victims have access to resources and help in their fight to reclaim their rights. Jessica Pride is a sexual assault attorney who supports and fights for women and children suffering from institutional sexual abuse in ICE detention centers across America.

migrant sexual assault

Contact the Jessica Pride Team

If you or a loved one were sexually abused at a detention center and are ready to take the next step, contact The Pride Law Firm today. What has happened to you wasn’t your fault. We want to assure you that you are not alone.

Our compassionate team is here to listen to your story while maintaining strict confidentiality.

We have more than ten years of experience fighting on behalf of sexual assault survivors and helpful, free resources to help you during this time. To find out how Jessica can help you, call us today at (619) 516-8166. We are happy to offer a free consultation to discuss your concerns and legal options.

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
September 26, 2018

Airline Sexual Assault

Airline sexual assault usually takes the form of unwelcome touching, a felony that can land offenders in prison. But even with such steep consequences, criminals are undeterred and often go unpunished. It is not uncommon for victims to navigate the problem with little help due to a lack of support.

What options do passengers have to protect themselves from airline sexual assault?

Sexual assault attorney and victim-advocate Jessica Pride shares her own tips for plane ride safety. Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
September 4, 2018

sexual assault at music festivals

Sexual Assault Rampant at Music Festivals

Music festivals are meant to be spaces for people to relax, make new friends and enjoy music. The harsh reality is that many people attend with the expectation that they will not be safe in these environments.

The issue is worldwide. According to a study in the UK, 30% of women said they had been sexually harassed and 10% had been sexually assaulted.

Articles regarding sexual assault at music festivals have become a part of an annual news cycle, with the problems reaching beyond the acts of assault. Surrounding issues involve the lack of security, protocol and support in venues that entertain hundreds of thousands of people over a span of several days. Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
August 21, 2018

Center for Community Solutions Inducts Jessica Pride as Board President

On May 23rd, Ms. Pride was inducted as Board President of Center for Community Solutions, a San Diego nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to social change.

Jessica Pride is renowned for her success as a supporter and legal advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. Jessica found her true calling while seeking justice for sexual assault victims. She tirelessly devotes her time to working with organizations designed to support and defend assault victims, including CCS and other associations.

In her work with CCS, Jessica participated as a volunteer and supporter of the nonprofit for over seven years. Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
July 27, 2018

‘What Were You Wearing’ Exhibit Addresses Myth Behind Sexual Assault

photo: The Spectrum

Perhaps as old as the act itself is a question survivors of sexual assault are often asked:

“What were you wearing when you were attacked?”

A traveling art installation seeks to answer this question – with clothes. The “What Were You Wearing” exhibit displays the outfits of 18 rape survivors to show what they were wearing at the time they were assaulted. Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
April 12, 2018

Woman Alleges Rape by La Jolla Restaurant Owner

A Job Interview Gone Awry

An anonymous woman from La Jolla, California claimed she was drugged and raped while on a job interview on the night of April 27, 2015, at La Jolla restaurant Voce Del Mare.

It all started when the woman was looking for a hostess job on Craigslist and answered a job posting. She arrived at the interview at 9:30 p.m. and was greeted by the restaurant owner, Daniel Dorado. During the interview, Dorado offered the woman some wine, and she agreed to a glass.

Sipping the wine was the last thing she remembered.

Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
March 30, 2018

Jessica Pride Forms AAJ Sexual Assault Litigation Group

Jessica Pride is an experienced sexual assault attorney and the managing partner at The Pride Law Firm. She has dedicated her legal career to helping victims of sexual violence become survivors of a criminal epidemic that the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) says occurs every 98 seconds.

Ms. Pride has settled several high-profile cases for her clients in excess of seven figures. She has won The Daily Transcript’s Top Attorney Award, was named a Top 40 under 40 Professional by San Diego Metro Magazine and was recently selected from over a hundred applicants to speak at the International End Violence Against Women conference on the civil legal resources available to assault victims.

About AAJ Litigation Groups

Litigation Groups are made up of plaintiff’s lawyers through the American Association for Justice. These groups provide critical tools for colleagues to share resources, knowledge and experiences amongst their peers. Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
February 16, 2018

Male Figures Accused of Sexual Assault in 2017: A Timeline

male celebrities accused of sexual assault

Many prominent male figures in show business, the media and politics are falling swiftly from grace as countless women (and men) come forward with accusations of sexual assault. What began as one report from several A-lister starlets has now become an unceasing flow of new allegations almost daily. The public has seen an instantaneous surge of sexual assault and sexual misconduct allegations alike, ousting one male celebrity after the next from positions of power and influence. After decades of being stifled, accusers are sharing their stories and demanding answers.

The slew of sexual assault allegations began on October 5th, when the New York Times published an article revealing several women’s accounts of being sexually assaulted by media mogul Harvey Weinstein. Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
December 21, 2017

TIME Names The Silence Breakers as 2017’s Person of the Year

silence breakers 2017 persons of the year

credit: TIME Magazine

 

TIME has released its choice for 2017 Person of the Year, and it’s more than one person. A group of women  – straight faced and dressed in black, who have come forward in recent months with harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault – adorns the glossy cover. They are named by the magazine as “The Silence Breakers.”

Pictured are celebrities Taylor Swift and Ashley Judd, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu and Mexican immigrant strawberry picker Isabel Pascual, whose name is changed to protect her identity. The cover also includes a faceless, nameless woman with only her sleeved right arm in the frame.  Her anonymity as an act of solidarity for other victims who are fearful that exposing their identity could endanger themselves or their families.

The photo alone speaks loudly about the indiscriminate truth of sexual assault. The Silence Breakers could not vary more Continue reading

Jessica Pride by Jessica Pride
December 19, 2017