At Howard Stallings, we work with the victims of sexual abuse and their families to get justice from abusers. We have never (and we will never) represent the perpetrators of abuse, only the innocent victims. While the criminal justice system may fail to put an abuser in jail, civil remedies can make the abuser pay for needed medical and psychological treatment for the victim. Speaking out, through a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney, can help stop the cycle of abuse and make your voice heard.
Although we represent all victims of sexual abuse, our practice is focused on representing students who have been sexually assaulted or battered by professors, classmates, or teachers. Partners Robert Jessup and Joan Davis have obtained judgments holding public and private educational institutions responsible for failing to protect and preserve the rights of sexual abuse victims in schools and universities. We have been successful on numerous occasions in not only making abusers pay but also obtaining compensation from their enablers. Our firm has handled high-profile sexual abuse cases that have appeared in the national, state and local news without any of our clients ever being publicly identified.
It is important to remember that sexual abuse is not limited to rape. Any time a person coerces another person to engage in a sexual activity or commits a sexual act against another person’s will, it is sexual abuse, and it should be reported to protect others. Sexual abuse can take many forms under the law, including:
Sexual assault occurs when someone engages in sexual activity with you against your will and by using force, threats of force or a deadly weapon.
A person is guilty of sexual battery if the person, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse, engages in sexual contact with another person through force or who is mentally challenged.
Rape is unlawful sexual intercourse with another person without his or her consent. The age of consent in North Carolina is 16. If a person has intercourse with a person younger than 16, he or she may be charged with statutory rape.
A person may be charged with child molestation if he or she engages in any form of sexual activity with a minor usually under the age of 14.
Fondling, groping or inappropriate touching
Although abusers (and the public at-large) often down plays the seriousness of unwanted grabbing, slapping or rubbing, according to nearly all scholars on the subject, these actions have long-lasting and severe psychological impacts on victims. If not stopped or addressed, the perpetrator oftentimes progresses to engaging in more violent acts of sexual violence. These acts are legally actionable.
Contrary to popular belief, sexual harassment is usually not overt. Regardless of how subtle sexual harassment is, it should never be tolerated, especially in the workplace. If someone is making sexually suggestive or explicit remarks to you that are not welcome, that alone is sexual harassment, and it should be addressed.
While sexual abuse can be committed by a stranger, in many cases sexual abuse is committed by someone the victim already has a relationship with, such as a relative, neighbor, friend, coach, clergy member, doctor, teacher or therapist. All types of sexual abuse, from fondling to sexual assault can lead to extensive psychological damage to the victim. However, when people are abused by someone he or she trust — like a doctor, therapist or clergy member — it makes the experience even more traumatic. It can take years, sometimes a lifetime, for a victim of sexual abuse to recover psychologically from the experience.
If we can provide any assistance or support to you or a loved one who is a victim of any form of sexual abuse, please contact us for a free, confidential and personal consultation.