Read This Before Considering Sexual Assault Attorneys in WV
Victims of sexual assault always suffer multiple times after the initial crime is committed. They may feel vulnerable going forward and unable to trust their friends and family. Many don’t want to seek justice because of the pain involved with reliving such a traumatic experience. If the perpetrator was someone they knew, it could be difficult even to face the facts of what happened.
Nonetheless, if you’ve been the victim of sexual assault, it’s important that you understand the steps that you must take going forward. Know that you deserve representation and that the person who hurt you can be exposed to the West Virginia justice system.
It Wasn’t Your Fault
This cannot be said enough times: if you’ve been sexually assaulted, it wasn’t your fault. Far too many victims blame themselves. By doing this, they perpetuate a cycle of blame and shame. They also allow their perpetrator to continue with their predatory behavior.
While you should seek the services of a qualified sexual assault attorney in West Virginia, it’s okay to contact a specialized therapist too. You have serious scars that need healing, and they can help you.
Sexual Assault Doesn’t Just Mean Rape
A lot of people think it’s only a crime if the victim is forced into sex with the perpetrator. However, in West Virginia, sexual assault refers to any time someone forces a victim (or “compels” them) to engage in sexual contact against their will. This covers situations where the victim was mentally unable to consent to sex. For example, if the person is inebriated, on drugs or otherwise physically incapacitated, it’s illegal for someone to have sex with them; the person obviously couldn’t consent.
There Are Three Degrees of Sexual Assault in West Virginia
Again, if you think you’ve been victimized, report the sexual assault to the police ASAP and speak with an attorney.
That being said, let’s look at the three different versions that exist in West Virginia:
First Degree: This charge involves the use of a deadly weapon or physical violence during the assault. It also covers charges that involve any victim younger than 12 years of age.
Second Degree: This was when the defendant was physically helpless, and/or violence wasn’t used by the perpetrator.
Third Degree: This charge refers to cases where the victim was mentally defective, and/or the victim was at least 16 years of age.
Report the Assault ASAP
Victims of sexual assault often try to mentally bury the incident and never think about it. This is understandable, but if you can report the attack to the police, you’ll have a much better chance of seeing justice done. As with any crime, the quicker it gets to law enforcement and attorneys, the more likely it is that evidence can be preserved and a better case can be made.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, know that help is available in West Virginia. Aside from the police, you can hire an attorney to seek justice on your behalf. It’s also wise to begin attending therapy to ensure you’re still able to have a fulfilling life.