By Patrick Noaker, Attorney
Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit can have several potential benefits for survivors. First, it is worth mentioning that sexual abuse lawsuits are very different than other types of lawsuits. Sexual abuse lawsuits are not only about the benefit to the individual sexual abuse survivor. Sexual abuse lawsuits also benefit other survivors and your entire community. For example, here are some potential advantages to filing a sexual abuse lawsuit:
- Validation and empowerment: Filing a lawsuit can provide survivors with a sense of validation, acknowledging their experiences and holding the abuser accountable. It can be an empowering step towards reclaiming their voice and seeking justice.
- Holding the perpetrator accountable: Lawsuits can expose the abuser’s actions and ensure they are held accountable for their behavior. This may discourage them from engaging in further abusive acts and send a message that sexual abuse will not be tolerated.
- Financial compensation: A successful lawsuit can result in financial compensation for survivors. This compensation can help cover medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the abuse. It can provide survivors with the resources needed to aid their healing and recovery.
- Preventing future abuse: By bringing a lawsuit, survivors contribute to raising awareness about sexual abuse and potentially preventing further instances of abuse. It may prompt organizations, institutions, or individuals to review and improve their policies, procedures, and prevention efforts.
- Changing systemic issues: Sexual abuse lawsuits can shed light on systemic issues within institutions, such as schools, religious organizations, or workplaces, and compel them to address these problems. It can lead to reforms, policy changes, and increased protection for individuals in the future.
- Supporting other survivors: By filing a lawsuit, survivors often inspire and support others who have experienced similar abuse. It can create a platform for survivors to come forward, share their stories, and foster a community of support.
- Closure and healing: Filing a lawsuit can be a part of the healing process for survivors. It can provide a sense of closure and allow them to regain a sense of control over their lives. Additionally, the legal process can provide a forum for survivors to share their experiences, confront their abuser, and work towards emotional recovery.
It will not come as a surprise that confronting your childhood trauma will be emotional. I strongly recommend that my clients participate in psychotherapy and participate in sexual abuse support groups if they are available (see Survivors of Sexual Abuse Can Benefit from Psychotherapy). With this support, my clients overwhelming report that the benefits of filing a sexual abuse lawsuit far outweigh the negatives. It is important to consult with a qualified attorney experienced in sexual abuse cases to understand the legal options available in your jurisdiction and assess the potential benefits and challenges of filing a lawsuit.
Patrick Noaker is a passionate, experienced and battle-proven courtroom lawyer who has spent the last 33 years battling in courtrooms across the country. For the past 22 years, Patrick has fought for the rights of survivors of sexual abuse and protecting kids. The Noaker Law Firm LLC is located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota and Patrick is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, New York, New Jersey and Missouri. Patrick has also handled sexual abuse cases in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio and the Navajo Nation Tribal Court.