Sexual misconduct is a term that is used to describe a variety of sexual related crimes and behaviors. “Sexual misconduct” often refers to someone who is behaving in a sexual way towards another person without obtaining that person’s consent for the behavior. Misconduct also often occurs in relationships where the dynamic of power between partners is shifted insomuch that the partner with power uses such to engage in sexual relations.
TYPES OF BEHAVIOR THAT ARE CONSIDERED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
In California, a wide range of behaviors fall under the umbrella of sexual misconduct. At the heart of these behaviors is the perpetrator acting in a sexual way without receiving consent. For example, if someone repeatedly hounds an uninterested party for sexual favors, and the other party shows discomfort and disinterest, this is sexual misconduct. If someone exposes themselves to another person without receiving that person’s consent, it is misconduct. If a person makes aggressive or even suggestive comments to someone who has not shown interest, this can be considered to be sexual misconduct.
Given the nature of these types of offenses, it is common for misconduct to happen to individuals while on dates or with a current or past partner. For this reason, domestic and intimate partner violence, as well as stalking and dating violence may be considered sexual misconduct.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
The most important thing to do is to get yourself to a safe place. Once safe, you can take the following steps:
- Seek medical help. Depending on the sexual misconduct, you may need to seek medical help. Medical professionals are trained to assist with individuals who have experienced a sexual crime and receiving medical treatment can be important in preserving evidence. Receiving psychological help in the form of a therapist can help as you process what has happened to you.
- Report the misconduct. It is often difficult to talk about what happened, as it is extremely violating and personal. Despite doing nothing wrong, you may experience self-blame and embarrassment. Speaking to someone about what has happened can help you receive the support and help you need.
- Preserve evidence. Your decision to report the misconduct is very personal, and it may take time for you to decide. It can therefore be extremely helpful to save evidence. Depending on the misconduct, this may include anything from clothing you were wearing to messages and pictures.
- Reach out to an attorney. When you decide you are ready to pursue legal action, contact a qualified attorney who can assist you in holding the perpetrator responsible. An attorney who is experienced in handling cases regarding sexual misconduct can ensure that you are heard and that your claim succeeds.
PURSING CIVIL DAMAGES
The civil justice system, unlike the criminal justice systems, allows survivors of sexual misconduct to bring claims for monetary damages. These claims, brought against the defendant, can help you receive compensation for your suffering related to their misconduct. Whether it is medical expenses, pain and suffering both of a physical and mental nature, loss of companionship, lost wages, or loss of earning potential. If you have suffered a loss of any kind due to another’s sexual misconduct towards you, you have a right to seek restitution.
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY
If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct, reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law today who will provide you with honest, supportive, and aggressive