Teen sexual abuse is a public crisis of enormous consequence. Any adolescent can be a victim of sexual abuse regardless of gender, identity, or sexual orientation. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 16 percent of teens aged 14-17 are sexually victimized by adults or peers. Adolescence is a time when many are getting their first jobs, beginning to date, and gaining increasing independence. Because teens are also facing struggles with self-esteem, body image, and peer pressure, it can be challenging to know when abuse has taken place.
If you suspect your teenager was coerced into sexual activity, speak with a Dallas sexual abuse victim lawyer at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP. We understand the high emotional stakes for your child, and are committed to fighting for the justice that they deserve.
A civil lawsuit can be an effective method for survivors to move forward in the healing process, expose their abusers, and make them pay compensatory damages for the harm they have inflicted. Get the thoughtful guidance you need from a Dallas teen sexual abuse lawyer who respects your privacy and leverages their skill and experience to get results.
Juvenile sexual assault facts
From a legal standpoint, sexual assault is any non-consensual interaction that serves to provide sexual stimulation for the perpetrator. In our experience handling institutional and childhood sex abuse cases, offenders often abuse their positions of power and authority. When you consider the effect of pubescent hormones, it is no surprise that teenagers are more likely to acquiesce to an adult’s unwanted sexual advances, even if they are wholly inappropriate.
Just like younger children, adolescents can be groomed by predators. Victims often receive extra attention, and special privileges– to facilitate an added layer of trust. Some predators use social media or chat rooms to pose as someone else, luring teens into a face-to-face meeting, where they are at increased risk of sexual violence.
Studies on teen and youth sex abuse show the prevalence of the problem:
- Adolescents account for more than half of all sexual abuse reports
- One in four teenage girls was pressured into having sex during the last 12 months
- Teens aged 14 – 17 make up one-third of all reported acquaintance rapes
- Nearly 20 percent of women have reported being sexually assaulted on a college campus
- Teenage girls, ages 16-19, are 4 times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault
- One in 10 high school girls reported being forced into intercourse
- One in 20 high school boys reported being forced into sex
Many factors may influence a teen sexual abuse victim and their family to take legal action. Civil litigation has many benefits, but it’s important to discuss your goals with a personal injury lawyer to understand the process fully.
Warning signs for sexual abuse in teens
Mood swings are completely normal in teenagers. After all, adolescents are dealing with school and peer pressures, hormones, body positivity issues, parental expectations, and a host of other struggles. How do parents recognize that their teenaged son or daughter is at risk?
If something seems off in the child, trust your instincts, and open a dialogue. Teens are often hesitant to tell anyone about sexual abuse, as this decision exposes them to feelings of fear, shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment.
The effects of sexual abuse on teens manifest in many ways, but here are some warning signs to look out for:
- Loss of appetite accompanied by weight loss
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Lack of energy
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Depressed mood
- Anxiety disorders
- Self-harming behaviors such as cutting
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Falling grades
- Changes in self-care routines
- Paying less attention to appearance than before
- Talks of suicide
Teens experience the same types of physical, emotional, and social repercussions of sexual abuse as adults, but they don’t have the life experience or resilience to handle the trauma. Taking legal action isn’t always the easiest route. However, it can pave the way for victims to expose the misconduct of the perpetrator, find a sense of closure, as well as financial compensation.
Sexual abuse of teenage workers
Teenagers often work after-school, on weekends, and have summer jobs to make extra money. Whether employed at a fast-food chain or as a restaurant hostess, few know what to do when a manager or supervisor makes unwanted sexual advances. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that sexual harassment and assault are more prevalent in restaurant workers compared to other industries. Sexual abuse in the workplace is a crime, and teenagers should know to report workplace abuse, whether they were groped, fondled, or assaulted.
Request a confidential case review
The teen sexual abuse lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP advocate for victims in North Texas, ensuring their voices are heard. There are time limits for filing civil sexual abuse cases, so don’t delay in contacting a Dallas personal injury lawyer about your options. The initial consultation is free and an excellent opportunity to explore your rights to legal recourse.