Live With No Regrets: A Few Things All Sexual Abuse Victims Should Consider

by | Jan 14, 2024 | Other Sexual Abuse, Survivor Support Resources

Sexual Abuse Survivors Horowitz Law

Regret is often referred to as a feeling of sadness or disappointment over something that one has or hasn’t done. In the context of child sexual abuse, the burden of regret can be overwhelming and lifelong, particularly when it comes to confronting the abuser, whether personally or legally. It’s crucial to understand the importance of taking active steps to address the issue, not just for immediate relief, but for long-term peace.

The Stress of Filing a Lawsuit

Telling someone about the abuse suffered as a child can be nerve-wracking, and the thought of filing a lawsuit against the perpetrator and the institution that allowed it further amplifies the stress. It’s easy to visualize the potential emotional turmoil you might endure during the preparation, filing, and legal proceedings.

On the other hand, it’s harder to fathom the emotions you might experience in the long term if you do take legal action. The fear of confronting the issue, exposing the abuser, and seeking justice can be equally anxiety-inducing, if not more.

Reflecting on the Long-Term Impact

Pause for a moment and consider the long-term consequences. Ponder over a few questions that might arise in the future, perhaps when you’re much older or even potentially on your deathbed.

  1. Might you stop another child from being sexually abused by the same predator if you had gone ahead and sued?
  2. Could you have shifted some of the shame and blame you carried onto the person who truly deserved it?
  3. Might your loved ones be in a better financial situation now if you had filed a lawsuit against your abuser?
  4. If you had consulted an attorney years ago and filed a case against the person who exploited you, might you feel better about yourself now?
  5. Had you stepped forward when the opportunity presented itself, no matter how frightening it was, could you have deterred church officials or other employers from protecting child sex offenders?
  6. Could you have exposed the predator publicly and perhaps even cost them their job or chances of a promotion if you had taken them to court, thereby stopping them from gaining access to more kids?
  7. If you had sued your molester, could the process have exposed others in the institution who knew or suspected your suffering?
  8. Would your actions have instilled courage and inspiration in other survivors if you had joined the ranks of thousands of clergy sex abuse survivors who took legal action?

Even if you’re convinced that church officials will never reform regardless of your actions, would it be possible for other employers to start working harder to weed out predators if they took notice of your legal action?

Considering Legal Options

It’s worth considering the possibility of a lawsuit, even if you think you likely could not or would not file one. If you find yourself questioning if you should have at least explored your legal options or given a hard look at the chance, it would be wise to seek advice from an experienced attorney.

This consultation should answer three pertinent questions:

1. Do you potentially have any legal options?
2. If you do, when might these options end? Legal actions often have deadlines.
3. What steps should you take, if any, to keep these options open in case something changes later and you decide to file a lawsuit?

Conclusion and Advice

Our advice, regardless of how slim you think your chances are or how little you may want to pursue justice now, is always to consult with an experienced attorney. Self-doubt or fear should not hinder your pursuit of justice. It is crucial for victims of child sexual abuse to understand their rights and explore potential legal avenues.

Equipped with the right information and support, they can make an informed decision about whether to proceed legally. This way, they put themselves in a better position to ensure that they do not leave any room for future regrets. The values of justice and peace of mind are paramount, and they far outweigh the initial stress or fear that comes with taking legal action.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.