In the era of the #MeToo movement and the fallout of fallen Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, men and women are becoming more cognizant of sexual assault and sexual harassment. What may have been acceptable even a decade ago is not right today, no matter how benign you may think it is.
People have a lot of opinions about #MeToo, the aftermath of the tinseltown executive, and even the North American legal system. But one thing is for sure, and what many can agree on: victims of sexual assault need to experience justice.
Across Canada, there are many attorneys that specialize in sexual assault cases. They have spoken with victims, interviewed witnesses, studied the nuances of the criminal system, and even the effects that the court of public opinion may bear on a case.
That said, many lawyers have adapted to modern day conditions, which can certainly assist men and women who have been the targets of sexual assault or harassment.
Here are five legal tips from sexual assault lawyers:
1. Call 911 & Seek Out Medical Treatment
Whether you have been attacked inside your home or on the street, it is imperative to call 911 right away. Once the ambulance arrives, you will be given medical treatment. However, if your circumstances are a bit different, you need to visit a hospital almost immediately.
Whatever the case may be, it is essential that you dial 911 or contact the proper authorities.
2. Visit a Safe Place Right After the Incident
A police station. A hospital. A friend’s house. A parent’s home.
It is vital that you visit a safe place soon after the incident took place. When you have sought refuge in a place that is safe or you’re familiar with, you must, once again, contact law enforcement and seek medical treatment.
By being at a place you feel safe and comfortable, you can collect your thoughts and recollect what exactly happened and transpired to the police.
3. Keep Your Room Intact
If the sexual assault took place inside of your apartment, house, dorm room, or any other part of your dwelling, it is imperative that you keep your room fully intact. You must not touch anything, move anything, clean anything.
As you attempt to return to your normal faculties, leave everything in its place and call the cops.
4. Be Honest with Authorities
Officers will be patient with you from the moment you file the police report to the day of the trial. They understand that you are going through a difficult time – sergeants, detectives, and lieutenants have seen many of these cases throughout their career.
That said, it is crucial that you remain honest with the authorities at all times. Lying, omitting, fabricating, or misleading. To the best of your ability, you need to tell the truth. If you can’t remember a certain aspect of what occurred, then inform the police – they’ll understand.
5. Never Feel Guilty or Ashamed
This may be the most important part of your entire ordeal: never feel guilty or ashamed. No matter what happened, it was not your fault that you were a victim of sexual assault.
Moreover, you must realize this from the very beginning. Should you experience any of these negative emotions, then you may be apprehensive about revealing a certain element of the case, which could hurt the proceedings.
Again, you need to remember that you are not guilty, and you shouldn’t be ashamed.
The scales of justice will always balance out. From the media coverage, you may not believe that justice is regularly served, but it is, and if you’re a victim of sexual assault, the perpetrator will be punished by Canada’s legal system.
It may take time, it may require due diligence, it may be frustrating. But the justice system is there to protect the innocent and reprimand the guilty. Seek out a sexual assault lawyer, and you will see the culprit brought to justice.