Sexual abuse is one of the most life-altering experiences a person can endure. Even when there are no physical scars, the emotional trauma can be deep and devastating. The effects of sexual abuse can range from sleep disorders, eating disorders, depression and sexual issues to substance abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, and even suicide. It is estimated that there are 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the U.S. today. Due to fear, shame or denial, a large number of these sexual abuse cases have never been reported.
In Wisconsin, the age of consent is 18. Any sexual activity involving a person under the age of 18 is considered sexual abuse. Adults who are mentally or physically disabled or otherwise not deemed able to consent can also be sexual abuse victims. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere – home, school, church, day care centers, residential care facilities for the elderly or disabled, even a doctor or therapist's office. Offenders are sometimes persons in positions of trust or power – a boss, teacher, coach, bus driver, caregiver, babysitter, counselor or clergy. In fact, only 10% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by strangers. In instances where the sexual abuse was committed by someone who works for an organization – a school, a company, a medical facility, or religious organization, for example – in some circumstances, the organization can also be held liable.
If you or your child has been a victim of sexual abuse, damages can be recovered for the physical and/or mental injuries suffered. In recovering sexual abuse damages, you need a personal injury attorney who is as compassionate as he is aggressive in pursuing your case. Cabaniss Law achieved a $550,000 trial verdict for a client who had been sexually abused by her stepfather between the ages of eight and fourteen.