Any victim should be entitled to the opportunity to seek justice, no matter their age.
All too often we hear news of someone who was abused as a child – but only reveals this trauma as an adult. For those who’ve never experienced this, it’s often difficult to understand why/how someone holds that in for so long.
Trauma affects everyone differently, but one commonality when children are abused or assaulted is that it generally happens at the hands of someone in a position they trust — an adult — and in many cases, a relative (someone a child trusts the most). If they report the incident to another adult, they are often told they are “imaging things”, “exaggerating the situation”, or specifically that they are the ones not to be trusted – that the victim is the one to blame! Understandably, this leads to more than just the trauma of the experience; it leads to intense mistrust of…well, just about anyone. In some cases, this forces the victim to “bury” the incident just to move forward in life; only to resurface when triggered by another event (theirs, or simply one in the news); the definition of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and far more serious than the condition infers. This can occur at anytime, from months later, to decades later.
So, how does someone with this sort of childhood trauma recover? Obviously, being able to speak with someone about it openly, honestly and without judgment is the first step…and the most difficult. It takes time and trust, and will be difficult for both the victim and those nearest them; emotional support is extremely important to the healing process.
What about justice? Not just for this victim, but the likely others who were victimized by the same person (or may yet be in future). This can be a daunting task; trusting someone with your trauma is one thing, trusting someone to publicly present it, while confronting the person(s) who were responsible for the abuse, is a whole other level of trust.
Such personal information not only needs to be treated carefully, but also requires a different level of experience & expertise than typical legal proceedings. I spoke with the firm of Herman Law (NY/FL) who specialize in providing opportunities for victims of any age to seek justice in these matters. for over 25 years, Jeff Herman has dedicated his career and his team to not only defend childhood victims of abuse, but to proactively advocate & educate for prevention; participating in community based organizations & programs dedicated to preventing the sexual abuse of children. Mr. Herman also teaches Continuing Legal Education classes for other attorneys on litigating sexual abuse cases and trial techniques, as well as law enforcement, victim-witness liaisons, and other attorneys in cooperation with the National Crime Victim Bar Association.
For victims of child sex abuse, oftentimes there is still an opportunity to seek justice even after a victims grows into adulthood. The damage done for many child abuse victims never goes away. Victims are more likely to have major depression, suffer from PTSD, and develop mental health diseases. Because of these reasons, any victim should be entitled to the opportunity to seek justice no matter their age.Herman Law