Atlanta Sexual Assault Attorney
Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone. Such crimes are physically and emotionally painful for their victims and have long-lasting effects on a person’s mental health. Sexual assault and rape often represent an intimate betrayal of trust that can be difficult to move past. It can also be confusing for the victims, leading to lasting feelings of guilt and shame, as well as fear and anxiety.
Victims of sexual assault and rape have a right to seek justice and be heard in court. A skilled Atlanta sexual assault attorney at The Dixon Firm, P.C. can offer support, understanding, and legal counsel in the face of rape’s devastating emotional and physical effects. Though we are based in Atlanta, we assist survivors nationwide.
Effects of Sexual Assault or Rape on the Victim
Rape is one of the most traumatic crimes for victims to survive. A “rape crime” can encompass a variety of wrongful related actions, including nonconsensual sex between adults, child sex crimes, and unwelcome sexual acts against a person. Rape crimes in Atlanta occur most often in places where other crimes tend to occur like in parking lots, poorly lighted streets, or apartment buildings. In many cases, property owners can prevent rape crimes with proper security efforts. The sexual assault lawyers at The Dixon Firm, P.C. can investigate your rape crime case and help you fight for compensation in Atlanta. Victims of rape and sexual assault can experience a wide range of mental, physical, psychological, and emotional repercussions. Some common experiences of rape victims are:
- Fear and anxiety
- Self-harm and suicidal thoughts
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Eating disorders
- Sleep issues
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Though any of these issues can arise in someone who has been the victim of sexual assault or rape, it’s not an exhaustive list. Some suffer PTSD in the aftermath of a violent encounter. Rape victims should seek psychological help as well as physical treatment. Additionally, a sympathetic Atlanta personal injury lawyer experienced in these sensitive cases can help victims of sexual assault and rape navigate confusing and often frightening court proceedings.
Criminal Suits vs. Civil Suits
As the victim of a rape crime, your first thought is probably how to press charges against the perpetrator. You might not realize that you could also have grounds for a civil claim – against the offender and perhaps third parties. After you call the police and report what happened to authorities, the criminal side of the case is out of your hands. State prosecutors will take over from there, finding and detaining the alleged criminal and pressing charges accordingly. It is up to you to then pursue civil retribution.
A civil claim against the person who harmed you could result in damage recovery, but that person might not have the means to pay a settlement or jury verdict. It’s important to look at the big picture and take into account every party that may have played a role in the incident. There might be accomplices, property owners, and others who contributed to what happened to you. When you work with an Atlanta sexual assault attorney, you can expand the scope of your lawsuit and commonly bring claims against more than one party.
Rape Crimes and Negligent Security
It surprises many to discover that rape crime cases often fall into the realm of premises liability law. Any injury – including those that result from rape and sexual assault – that occurs on someone else’s property could open the floor to a premises liability lawsuit. If the property owner breached his or her duty to you, resulting in the crime against you, you could have grounds to sue a hotel, gas station owner, building owner, or other party.
It is every property owner’s duty to find out about past crimes and take reasonable steps to prevent future problems. If the property owner knew or reasonably should have known that rape crimes were a possibility on the premises, the owner should have taken action to protect visitors and occupants. What is “reasonable” depends on the individual circumstances of the case. It might include replacing old locks and installing better lights in the parking lot, as well as hiring security guards, investing in security systems, and having employees supervising the premises.
As the victim of a rape crime or sexual assault, it’s within your rights to seek financial compensation for your medical costs, physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, and lost wages through a civil lawsuit against an individual or company. The Atlanta sexual assault lawyers at The Dixon Firm, P.C. can help you learn your rights and take a stand against negligent or criminal parties.
What to Do If You Have Been Assaulted or Raped in Georgia
The immediate aftermath of a rape or sexual assault can be frightening and confusing. Your first priority should be to make sure you’re in a safe place. Contact someone you trust and let them know you need help. Seek medical attention at the hospital or emergency department as soon as you are able. For the law to successfully prosecute a rapist, it’s important that you don’t delay seeking medical treatment, as physical evidence is extremely important to proving the assault.
Often, and for any number of reasons, rape victims don’t seek legal support. They often feel that no one will believe them or that their attacker is likely to get off easily. They may feel shame and embarrassment about what happened, despite being a victim. It’s important to understand that the only person who should feel shame is the attacker. A dedicated Atlanta sexual assault attorney can help protect your rights as a victim as you focus on recovering physically and emotionally.
Georgia Law on Rape and Sex Crimes
In Georgia, a property or premises owner has the obligation to protect people lawfully on the property against foreseeable violent acts. This means, for example, that if you are attacked at a hotel or apartment complex where there was a history of crime, the hotel or apartment owner may have neglected its responsibility to protect you from known danger.
Resources for Seeking Help in Georgia
There are many resources available to help rape survivors find comfort and support.
RAINN: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network
RAINN has trained staff who specialize in referring survivors to local crisis centers. The good people there also offer basic advice. It’s free and confidential.
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
NSVRC has a vast library of statistics, information, research and speakers addressing issues relevant to sexual violence.
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV)
Most, if not all, states have coalitions geared toward combatting sexual assault. NAESV can provide a contact list for those various coalitions.
There are also groups dedicated to helping students and addressing the specific needs of students.
Not alone walks students through what to do after a sexual assault and how to file a complaint agains the college where the assault occurred.
STUDENT ACTIVIST GROUPS are also important in this fight:
Know Your IX: http://knowyourix.org/
End Rape on Campus: http://endrapeoncampus.org
Locally, places like Dekalb Rape Crisis Center provide support to rape and sexual assault victims and their families and offer general education to the public regarding rape and sexual assault. In addition to the resources above, we can help you locate local resources for your support.
Lastly, if you have suffered as the victim of rape or other sex crime, do not hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable and understanding Atlanta sexual assault attorney to get the legal help you deserve. Seeking justice may help you through some of the healing process – and it may protect others from similar situations.
The Dixon Firm, P.C. | Trusted Atlanta Sexual Assault Lawyers
If you’ve been a victim of rape or sexual assault, you deserve an attorney who will help you through the legal process. The Dixon Firm, P.C. has the experience and dedication to fight on your behalf to ensure that you are compensated as fully as the law allows. For a free consultation, call our office at 404-733-1166 or contact us online.