If you are a sexual assault survivor, it can be an extremely difficult process to heal following what has happened to you. While seeking legal advice can seem like a daunting and challenging procedure, it can help you on your healing journey and get the justice you deserve. In the United States, the laws surrounding sexual assault will vary.
What Separates Sexual Assault and Rape?
Sexual assault is defined as the act of a physical or emotional attack on another person. This attack is conducted without the victim’s consent. Not all sexual assaults are conducted using violence. It can also involve manipulating someone into it. Whether it is a physical or emotional attack, but are horrific ordeals.
Rape is defined as the act of someone penetrating a person’s bodily cavities with a male sexual organ without one’s consent. Assault can also be committed by using any foreign object to perform the criminal act and is recognized under the same laws. Whatever has happened to you, each assault is as awful as another. You should not dismiss your feelings or feel as though they are invalid.
What is Consent?
A common myth surrounding consent is the idea that you have to say the word ‘no.’ It does not always work like this. Sometimes when a person is raped or sexually assaulted, they go numb as a trauma response. Another scenario is that the person assaulted is unconscious or drunk and cannot give consent. If someone is vulnerable or manipulated into doing something they do not want to do, then this is not consensual sex.
Mississippi’s Criminal Statutes On Sexual Misconduct
Sexual assault is a criminal act. However, in Mississippi, these crimes are termed as ‘misdemeanor assaults,’ instead of being termed what they actually are, which is ‘sexual offenses.’ Unfortunately, these outdated laws can deter many sexual assault victims away from finding the justice they deserve. In addition to this, law enforcement has been renowned for inadequate handling of sexual offenses, which unfortunately leads to victims failing to report the crime.
What help is available?
Don’t ever think you are in this situation alone. There are several attorneys ready to help you get the justice and healing that you deserve. You are never alone as long as someone can respectfully help you explore your legal options and rights if you are a victim or know a victim of sexual crime. Aside from legal help, there are a number of helplines and counselors that are trained to help you.
As a sexual assault victim, you will have many questions. This is why seeking help from a lawyer can help you achieve the clarity you need. Some common questions are listed below;
- What sentences are likely for the culprit?
- What rights and options do I have if there’s no conviction?
- Can those who were negligent be held liable for playing a part in the assault?
The answers to these questions will vary from state to state, but if you are based in Mississippi, you should seek out a free legal consultation to get the answers to the questions specific to your experience.
You Are Not To Blame
The most important thing to remember during this troubling time is that you are not to blame. Whether you were using drugs or drinking at the time, you are still not to blame. It is also important to note that the police will not hold that against you. Sometimes sexual assault victims don’t report what happened due to a fear of not being believed. It is a scary and vulnerable place to be in, but reporting what has happened to the police is very important. Naturally, you will need to take the time to process and be ready to do this, but once you are, seek the support of a friend and do it together.
Steps To Take If You Have Just Been Assaulted
If you have just been sexually assaulted, you must seek out a safe place immediately. If possible, meet with a friend who can support you, and then call the police or an ambulance. In this way, you get to have immediate assistance for what you’re going through.
The road to healing can be a long and troubling time, but you are not alone in this journey. While laws can be outdated, there are people out there to help you. Whether that is in the form of an attorney, a therapist, or a helpline. There are people trained and ready to guide you on your journey and help you heal.