There are an estimated 80,000 reports of child sexual abuse made each year in the United States. Mental health professionals tell us that that the numbers of cases of child sex abuse that go unreported are far greater. The reasons for this are complex and varied. A few of the main reasons concern a child’s fear and anxiety of not being believed. Confusion and shame over the incident may also lead many to not report sexual abuse. Many state laws do not adequately protect children from sexual abuse and make it very difficult to come forward to authorities. Many child sexual abuse victims are re-victimized by the legal process and their families’ own disbelief. Most will try to bury the incident and attempt to forget the ordeal. This often leads the victim into a spiral of self-destructive behavior including drug and alcohol abuse, further abusive relationships, and an inability to trust friends and family members. Through it all, these people—still youngsters or now adults—remain in this kind of “necessary denial” about what happened and what it means in their lives.
So it is that those who’ve suffered sexual abuse as a child often don’t confront the issue until much later in adulthood, if ever. The lingering effects to the psyche are devastating and leave the child a permanently altered individual.
We have witnessed the triumphs and tragedies of courageous survivors who’ve come forward to confront the evil and put an end to it. We are inspired by their witness and their perseverance.
Each survivor has his own, or her own, unique healing process. For some, this means filing a sexual abuse lawsuit. For others, healing requires counseling and a simple but profound awareness that he/she is not alone and does not have to keep secrets or suffer in silence any longer. Either way, we view it as our job as sexual abuse lawyers to help people through this process. The goal, after all, is not about lawsuits; the goal is about healing of the survivors and protection of children in the future.