woman with a #metoo sign - sexual abuse lawyer

At Stokes Stemle, LLC, we understand the courage it takes to seek justice after enduring the trauma of sexual abuse. Our dedicated legal team in Opelika is here to provide the support and guidance you deserve during this challenging time. We are committed to helping you understand the details of sexual abuse cases, the compensation you could be owed, and how holding perpetrators accountable can bring some closure to your life.

Your pain matters, and so does your story. Take the first step toward healing and justice today. Contact Stokes Stemle, LLC for a free, confidential consultation.

What Is Sexual Abuse?

When someone is forced, pressured, or coerced into any kind of sexual act, it can be considered sexual abuse. According to Alabama law, sexual abuse can include:

  • Nonconsensual sexual intercourse
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Statutory rape
  • Sexual acts with someone impaired or incapacitated
  • Attempted forced sexual contact

Lack of consent is a critical element in most sexual offense cases. Alabama law says someone has not given consent if:

  • They are forced into a sexual act.
  • They are incapable of giving consent due to being younger than 16, physically unable to resist, or mentally impaired or incapacitated.
  • They have not expressly or implicitly allowed the actor’s behavior.

Sexual Abuse Statistics

Sexual violence is a pervasive and urgent issue throughout the U.S., as well as right here in Alabama, affecting people from all walks of life. Often surrounded by silence and stigma, sex crimes have significant emotional, physical, and economic consequences for survivors and society as a whole.

Here are some key statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that shed light on this issue:

  • Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, or sexual orientation.
  • Perpetrators are often people the survivor knows well, such as a friend, partner, colleague, neighbor, or family member.
  • Sexual violence affects millions of people each year in the U.S., but many instances go unreported due to shame, embarrassment, fear, or threats.
  • More than 16,000 registered sex offenders live in Alabama alone.
  • More than half of women and nearly a third of men experience sexual violence involving physical contact in their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 26 men experience completed or attempted rape.
  • Sexual violence often begins early, with most survivors experiencing their first incident before the age of 25 and many during childhood.
  • Certain groups, such as women and racial and ethnic minorities, are disproportionately affected by sexual violence.

Who Is Responsible for Sexual Abuse?

Of course, the most direct and obvious person to blame for sexual assault is the perpetrator, who commits the heinous acts. However, abuse is often part of a pattern of behavior and complicity bigger than the actions of a single individual.

Responsibility can and often does extend to institutions, organizations, or social structures that enable such abuse or fail to prevent it. For instance, schools, churches, or businesses may be found liable if they don’t implement necessary measures to protect individuals within their jurisdiction. This can include inadequate policies, lack of training or education on sexual misconduct, or failure to act on known threats.

Organizations might also contribute to a culture of silence or victim-blaming. Survivors may be discouraged from coming forward, or their accounts may be dismissed or minimized. In such cases, these institutions share the blame for the harm inflicted on the survivor – and may also be responsible for compensating the survivor financially.

Long-Term Effects of Sexual Abuse

Per the CDC, the estimated lifetime cost of rape per survivor is $122,461. This number includes various factors like medical costs, employability, and lost productivity. Chronic issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reproductive difficulties, sexual health problems, and substance abuse also take a toll on many sexual abuse survivors – often for life.

If you are struggling to pick up the pieces as a survivor of sexual abuse, you should know you don’t have to bear these costs alone. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be a powerful way to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and pursue fair compensation for your suffering. With a successful case, you could claim money for your medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress. The sexual abuse lawyers at Stokes Stemle, LLC are here to help every step of the way.

How a Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help

Sexual abuse cases are complex and emotionally charged. A compassionate sexual abuse attorney can provide essential support during this challenging time. They can help you understand your options, pursue your case on your behalf, and support you emotionally and professionally throughout the process.

Here are some of the ways the team at Stokes Stemle, LLC can help you:

  • Providing a comprehensive explanation of your legal rights
  • Developing a strong legal strategy tailored to your case
  • Gathering and analyzing evidence to substantiate your claims
  • Preparing and filing necessary legal documents on time
  • Communicating with other parties, including perpetrators and enablers, on your behalf
  • Negotiating aggressively to maximize your settlement
  • Representing you in court proceedings, if necessary
  • Advocating for you throughout the entire process
  • Offering support and referrals to important medical and care resources
  • Protecting your privacy
  • Working on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no upfront costs

Contact a Sexual Abuse Attorney in Opelika

Reach out to Stokes Stemle, LLC today. Let our experienced sexual abuse lawyers help you explore your legal options and stand up against those who’ve wronged you. Contact us now for your free consultation.