How to Report Sexual Abuse

When somebody has been sexually violated at the hands of a helping professional, it is oftentimes hard to think straight, let alone be strong and confident enough to start taking the appropriate actions.  Not only is there the embarrassment and shame that one might feel, there is also the social stigma of coming forward to out the person responsible for the sexual abuse committed.

But here’s the thing, the sooner one can speak out, the better.  The statutes of limitations vary state to state, so time is of the essence.  Secondly, it is most likely that more than one person has been hurt, and the more that can speak out against the perpetrator, the more strength that each person has at having this person removed.

This is easier said than done. The first thing that one should do is get to a safe place and document the whole experience.  A close friend or family member should also be sought out to, not only to confide in, but to also help assist in what actions need to be taken when it seems too much for just one person alone.

Next, call the police and report the incident or incidents.  And if there was more than just touching, the police may ask for what is called a rape kit to properly document the evidence needed to go after the offender.  This may be a very emotionally difficult time, so be sure to have that person you trust the most with you the entire time.

After working with the police, it is imperative to contact the institution in which the person belongs to, whether it is a school, hospital or work place.  Each institution should have procedures and policies for such an event.

If the abuser was in the medical profession, the state medical board should also be alerted.  Needless to say, if there is a doctor or therapist that is sexually abusing patients, they do not have the right to practice medicine, period.

Beyond that, a call phone call for perusing legal action should be in order.  The damage done to a sexual abuse victim can be extensive and destroy one’s ability to feel safe in society, let along hold down a job.  In that case, a good lawyer can help obtain the resources needed to for quality medical and psychological treatment along with covering any wages lost.  Further more, a civil suit can aid in removing another bad helping professional from doing more harm.

Sexual Abuse in Coaching

You read in the news or online too often that a coach had a sexually abusive relationship with one of the team members.  These student athletes are just growing into their formative years, whether it be high school or college, and usually not fully equipped mentally to even know how to identify and deal with this when it happens.

Now, a coach’s relationship with his or her student athletes is a close one and depending on the sport, can take up a lot of time outside of home and classroom.  With that close and constant proximity, strong and important relationships can be formed, often lasting a lifetime.  And many of these relationships are thriving and wonderful friendships where even years later the coach is a steadfast anchor and role model.

The majority of coaches who get into the profession do so from a place where they want to make a difference in the lives of their student athletes by teaching them how to be a team player, work hard and keep healthy.  However, there is a minority of coaches who do use that opportunity to start exploring inappropriate sexual relationships with their student athletes.

This minority of coaches, which can be men or women, use these close bonds that are formed with their student athletes and exploit them.  Using that bond, coupled with their overall authority and size, they prey upon their young athletes in a variety of lurid manners.  From secret videotapes, inappropriate touching to forced sex, these coaches do more damage to these students psychologically than what any sports injury could do them physically.

So, if a case of sexual abuse of any kind arises, what are you to do?  The first would be to remove the student athlete from harm and alert the institution they are affiliated with.  The police are certainly to be alerted simultaneously so that they can begin an investigation and take the proper steps to remove the person from the position of authority. You may also want seek out professional psychiatric help as the trauma of abuse and the betrayal will have lasting emotional scars and problems.

Too often, parents and the student just want the matter to go away as it’s painful and embarrassing – as it is with any type of sexual abuse by someone in a position of authority. Because of that, parents and victims often avoid taking legal action as they don’t want to relive the abuse, face their abuser or deal with the pain.

However, a civil lawsuit allows the victim to go after the abuser and/or institution financially for the damages done.  Civil lawsuits can’t undo the past or erase the injuries, however, they can cover the costs associated with the professional help needed in order to have the student recover.

Civil suits also go a step further by holding the coach, as well as the institution that let it happen, be held accountable both morally and financially.  Doors are also opened so other victims feel comfortable to step forward and receive the justice they deserve as well.  With the justice system working in favor of the victims, you can remove one less abuser and make it easier for others to come forward and make the world of student sports a safer place.

How To Protect Yourself at the Doctor

The way it goes often these days with health care insurance, you don’t always get to choose the doctor you want to go to. Whether your HMO won’t allow you to see someone “out of network” or there are not a lot of specialists in your area, you sometimes have to compromise.

With that in mind, when visiting a doctor that may not be your first choice or are familiar with, you should keep your personal safety in mind. Now, it should go without saying that medical professionals should uphold strict boundaries when in the examination or operating room. Yet, while we may have to expose parts of ourselves that we do not share with the greater world, these situations should be kept strictly clinical without the slightest hint of suggestive language, body movements or outright inappropriate contact. However, it’s not uncommon to hear in the news about patients whose boundaries have been violated.

Doctors and other medical professionals that sexually abuse their patients are in the minority. But, abuse in the exam room can happen and is often so damaging that it ruins a person’s life, whether a man or woman.

Now, one might think that if a doctor brings a nurse in to the room for the examination, they might be safe. That is not necessarily the case. Bringing a nurse into the room doesn’t mean that a potential situation for abuse will be deflected because of a couple of reasons. One, the abuse might be subtle or just missed by the nurse who is there to assist. Also, if the abuse is more overt, you cannot count on the nurse to report it or even be on your side. That nurse may view her job as to protect the doctor and his/her reputation.

As a result, below is a list of key points that both men and women can do to protect themselves in the examination room.

  1. If you can, request a physician that you feel most comfortable interacting with. For instance, if you are a woman and you feel as if you can confide in a woman physician regarding very personal issues, do so. Same with men. If you cannot fully disclose something because you do not feel comfortable with whom you are speaking with, then there is no point to the visit.
  2. Do not get pressured into unnecessary examinations such as genital, breast and rectal exams if it is in no way related to the issue you went in for. If you go into the doctorsbecause you have a sore throat and they insist that it might be prudent to expand the examination to private areas, you are well within your right to refuse. These types of exams are typically unnecessary unless there is a very specific problem relating to those areas of the body.
  3. Don’t undress and put on a medical gown unless it is absolutely necessary. In a lot of situations, adorning a gown makes people feel exposed and unable to maintain a level of modesty that allows them to feel comfortable. With that in mind, for many routine visits you can keep your clothes on and the doctors can just ask you to roll up a sleeve to get blood pressure or lift up the back of the shirt a bit to listen to your breathing.
  4. If anything makes you feel uncomfortable during the exam, ask questions, speak up and have them stop.
  5. Take along a trusted person, preferably a spouse or significant other. This is especially crucial for more sensitive procedures, especially if you will have to be anesthetized or hospitalized.
  6. If a doctors insist on a catheter be inserted, refuse the procedure unless it is 100% necessary. For one, these are often unnecessary and if it is absolutely essential to your treatment, insist on having a member of the same gender insert the equipment.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but use this as a starting point to analyze your surroundings and judge your safety. Always remember to trust your gut instinct, and if you think you should leave, do so.

If you have found yourself to have been sexually abused or assaulted, report it immediately to the front desk or receptionist. Then, call the police, report the incident and get a copy of the police report.

You will also want to alert your state’s medical board for which you can find a link here. Afterword, you may also want to speak with a law firm to discuss your legal options, not only because of the suffering but if you require treatment, those expenses can be covered. You need to hold the doctor and the office or hospital in which they work morally and financially accountable.

When Consent is Irrelevant in Sexual Assault Cases

One question that comes up a lot in the realm of sexual abuse is this; If a situation is to be considered sexual abuse, does the sexual interaction have to be non-consensual?

In many sexual abuse and assault cases, the plaintiff will have to establish that the sexual encounter, whether just touching or more, was not done with their consent and that it was neither welcomed nor wanted.

However, in certain situations consent is irrelevant, and no matter what the victim or perpetrator say, any sexual interaction is considered abuse.  One of the more obvious situations is when an adult has sexual relations with a minor.  In those situations, if the person is under the age of 18, whether there was consent or not, it is considered sexual abuse, mainly because when people are that young, they are not equipped mentally to fully judge the situation or the ramifications that may occur after.

Another situation in which consent is irrelevant is when a doctor, therapist or psychiatrist engages in any sort of sexual activity with the patient.  And despite what might be portrayed in movies, where the patient and doctor fall in love and live happily ever after, this is actually be a dangerous situation for the patient.

Licensed medical professionals are tasked with guiding their patients along a path of healing.  When on this path, patients are exposing every vulnerable bit of themselves, both mentally and physically with an implicit trust that their practitioner is going to help them get better.  With that implicit trust, patients require a professional who is not only a compassionate champion for their health, but someone who respects basic boundaries so that their treatment can retain a crucial level of objective analysis.

More often than not, once a doctor or therapist crosses that line, them becoming emotionally and physically involved with a patient is not out of genuine love.  It comes from a desire to exploit this level of trust to act out some perverse desire or need.  This is a process that can happen on the first visit, or may take a considerable amount of time to develop.

In any case, if the patient even believes for a moment that they are giving consent to this exploitation, those feelings in the court of law are completely irrelevant.  What the doctor or therapist is doing goes against the very oaths taken to do no harm to their patients.  To be blunt, they are quite literally abusing their patients in order to achieve some sort of sexual desire and they should be stopped.

For one, the first thing for people to do in any situation is to get to a safe place and call a trusted friend or family member.  Then, together alert the authorities as well as the institution their abusers belong to.

Then, start to seek healing with a professional that you can trust.  The psychological damage to those abused can be subtle to severe, ranging from mild depression to PTSD.  These mental ailments need a trustworthy professional to help guide the way.

For some, the cost of that healing can be prohibitive, and those who have been abused should seek out legal civil action in order to gain the resources needed in order to properly heal.  Not to mention the fact that some people are unable to effectively work after such events, and they need something to cover any wages lost.

Civil suits also hold the abuser responsible for their depraved actions along with any institution that let it occur.  By standing up for your justice, others may be able to come forward to be able to get the justice and the care they need in order to heal in a safe and conducive environment.

Can Victims of Unemployment Insurance Fraud Reclaim the Fines They Paid?

The Michigan unemployment insurance fraud scandal that began making news this past spring has done more than just cause headaches for the state’s unemployed workers, it has also forced many of them to pay steep penalties and interest for transgressions they did not commit. This situation has garnered a lot of attention from the media, as well as state legislators, as the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency’s (UIA) newly adopted computer system has, without human intervention, accused innocent men and women of committing fraud and subsequently rendered judgement against them. While the state has acknowledged the fault in their system, they haven’t exactly made it easy for innocent people who paid penalties and interest to reclaim their money. If you’re currently in this situation, you can take solace in knowing that the law is on your side.

The UIA’s automated system can send out faulty accusations of fraud for a variety of reasons, from a filing error on the part of the claimant or their former employer, to an unexplainable computer glitch. But even when innocent people have taken the necessary steps to prove that they didn’t knowingly commit fraud, they have received little to no help from the UIA, leaving many to wonder if they will ever see their money again. The UIA has publicly stated that they are committed to thoroughly reviewing each case, but yet, the vast majority of calls for help have gone unnoticed.

At 1-800-LAW-FIRM, our attorneys are hard at work helping victims of the UIA’s unjust practices, and we’re eager to help you too. These unwarranted accusations and judgments not only demonstrate a lack of oversight on the part of the UIA, but they also represent a blatant disregard for the right that every American has to due process of law. Whether you’ve just received a notice claiming that you must pay penalties and interest, or you’ve already paid and want to reclaim the money that is rightfully yours, out attorneys are ready to fight for your rights.Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

Monsanto Lawsuit for Truthful Labeling

A lawsuit filed in California alleges Monsanto is guilty of false advertising for their claims that Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup is not harmful to humans or animals because the enzyme it targets, EPSP synthase, is only found in plants and not people or pets.

The lawsuit attests that this enzyme does in fact exist in humans and animals alike, but in gut flora, the microbiota that reside in our intestinal tracts.  Those are the tiny microorganisms that help us break down and absorb the nutrients of food and help us live normally.

They go on to say that when these gut flora are targeted, it can cause stomach problems, bowel issues, indigestion, ulcers, colitis, gluten intolerance, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, renal failure, liver disease, diabetes and endocrine disruptions along with other ailments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has gone on to also list glyphosate as a Group 2A carcinogen, a chemical that is capable of causing cancer.

It should be a given that if people are to use a product, they should not only know what it contains, but how it can affect them and those around, which sometimes gets ignored in order to make a profit. In this particular case, it is asserted that even though Roundup may come across as innocuous, the ingredients it contains could lead to potential harm if not used properly.

This is a suit filed, not to eliminate Monsanto or a tool that many people depend upon, but to clearly label the chemicals used and the potential harm they can lead to if not used with proper care and protection for both animals and people.

Your Civil Rights: Freedom of Speech Online

In 2012 a Wisconsin man, Thomas G. Smith, posted comments on the Village of Arena’s Police Department’s Facebook Page with profanity-laden allegations of department racism.

Instead of responding in a cordial manner, or just simply removing the posts, the police department ended up arresting Mr. Smith that night. He was later convicted of using “fighting words,” which adds up to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service and probation.

An appellate judge then threw out the case in 2014 saying that his comments were protected under the first amendment as free speech.

Soon after, Mr. Smith filed a federal lawsuit against the Village of Arena’s Police Department alleging unreasonable search and that his civil rights were violated in an attempt to deter his free speech.

This suit was just ruled in his favor, and the damages awarded added up to $35,000 for the injustice as well as the damage done to his life and reputation because of a few off color (but still non-threatening) remarks.

This is just one instance where an individual’s civil rights were violated. In this situation, one person’s right to free speech.

Now, if people are to criticize those that serve and protect, even in a vulgar tone, they are allowed to do so without fear of arrest or intimidation because of the First Amendment.  This civil right also extends to all social media platforms.  As long as people do not threaten the lives or wellbeing of those being criticized, no matter how profane, there is no reason that they should be arrested and convicted of anything.

Needless to say, if anyone finds that their first amendment rights infringed upon, a qualified lawyer should be retained immediately to help navigate the choppy waters ahead.  Civil rights attorneys know how to evaluate the situation and choose the right strategy for any particular case.

If you need a qualified civil rights lawyer, our team here at 1-800-LAW-FIRM may be just who you need.  Give us a call, and one of our experienced attorneys will gladly speak with you free of charge about your particular case.

FDA: MicroPort Orthopedics Inc. Recall on PROFEMUR Neck Varus/Valgus CoCr 8 Degree, Part number PHAC 1254

The FDA has released a note regarding MicroPort Orthopedics Inc. recall on their PROFEMUR Neck Varus/Valgus CoCr 8 Degree, Part number PHAC 1254, which is a modular neck component used with prosthetic parts including a femoral head and femoral stem in total hip replacement surgeries.

Post surgery, this modular neck model has been known to fracture in patients. Immediate symptoms include sudden pain and instability coupled with a difficulty in walking or completing simple tasks.

A revision surgery is required in order to remove and replace the fractured neck, and any other components that have been damaged. And it should be noted that along with this defect and revision surgery, serious health events could occur, including neurovascular damage, hematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues), hemorrhage (an escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel, especially when profuse) and even death.

Health care professionals and doctors have all been alerted to this recall.

If you believe to have been a recipient of this defective modular neck, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Also, if you have experienced any adverse affects of this unit, or any other bad drug or faulty medical device, you should make it a point to alert the FDA’s MedWatch to help insure that the products medical manufactures produce are properly scrutinized for patient safety.

What Should You Do If You Miss Your Tax Extension Deadline?

The FDA has released a note regarding MicroPort Orthopedics Inc. recall on their PROFEMUR Neck Varus/Valgus CoCr 8 Degree, Part number PHAC 1254, which is a modular neck component used with prosthetic parts including a femoral head and femoral stem in total hip replacement surgeries.

Post surgery, this modular neck model has been known to fracture in patients. Immediate symptoms include sudden pain and instability coupled with a difficulty in walking or completing simple tasks.

A revision surgery is required in order to remove and replace the fractured neck, and any other components that have been damaged. And it should be noted that along with this defect and revision surgery, serious health events could occur, including neurovascular damage, hematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues), hemorrhage (an escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel, especially when profuse) and even death.

Health care professionals and doctors have all been alerted to this recall.

If you believe to have been a recipient of this defective modular neck, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Also, if you have experienced any adverse affects of this unit, or any other bad drug or faulty medical device, you should make it a point to alert the FDA’s MedWatch to help insure that the products medical manufactures produce are properly scrutinized for patient safety.

Who Are the Types of People to Commit Sexual Abuse?

The short answer could be anyone.  Some are more likely to reoffend than others, and depending on the person may have different motives for committing sexual abuse.

However, these are people that tend to have strong ties to the community, with a normal life, stable relationships, gainfully employed, and lack of criminal history.  And the people that are often preyed upon tend to have a personal, or very close professional relationship.

We will be focusing in mainly on the helping professionals that come into our lives, such as doctors, therapists, teachers, clergy, coaches and other similar people.  This is not an exhaustive list, but a good starting point.  Basically, we want to focus in on those that assume authority to help us improve wellbeing, and ourselves whether from athletic ability and recovery to healing our minds, bodies and souls.

How to Spot the Sexual Abusers

Why is it so hard to spot these offenders from the start?  Maybe it’s because we are told, through media portrayal as well as others, that these sexual offenders are monsters and that is what we are basically looking for.  As humans, we do tend to look for the stereotypical signs of danger in others.  And while you should always keep your guard up against those that legitimately give you cause for concern, the people that commit sexual abuse can be quite the opposite.  They can be charismatic, thoughtful, well educated and carry the authority that comes with their field.  From there, they can create an atmosphere that feels professional, safe and conducive to healing, growing and learning.

Now, we are not saying that you should live in fear. However, you should always be aware of your surroundings and situations.  It should also be stated that abuse does not typically happen right off the bat.  There is usually a lengthy process that sexual abusers go through to when selecting a victim.  This process can be hard to identify as it can happen through normal interactions.

Here are some potential red flags that you will want to keep an eye out for:

  • Discussing intimate details of the professional’s life
  • Sitting too close for comfort
  • Initiating more “unconventional methods” that may include hugging, hand holding or other forms of close contact
  • Giving seductive looks
  • Special attention outside of sessions, including lunch, dinner and social activities
  • Changing business hours and schedules so that no one else is around
  • Giving and receiving gifts
  • Providing/using alcohol or illicit substances during sessions
  • Telling the person that he or she may “love you” or “you are special”
  • Relying on the person for emotional support or advice

And a few that may apply more towards the physical areas of healing and development

  • Body work that gets too sensual or seductive
  • Physical touching that gets too close to, or into private areas
  • Having a victim’s private time before or after sessions being interrupted, such as washing, changing clothing, etc.

What to Do Next

Keep in mind that this list is just a starting point, and is not exhaustive or exclusive to one particular area of practice.  Also, mental manipulation may cloud one’s ability to readily spot some of these red flags.

But, after each visit, take a moment to decompress, clear the mind and break down your visit with some of the potential red flags in mind.  If something seems amiss, trust your gut instincts and begin to take action.

Start by cutting off ties first and foremost.  Cancel your appointments and document your experiences.  Do not hesitate to reach out to a close family member, friend or significant other and let them be the strength needed to go through the next steps of reporting the offender to who may be most appropriate, whether it’s management, business owners or law enforcement.  And depending on how far things get, you may want to seek counseling with professionals who will have your best interests at heart.

Also, do not overlook taking legal action against a sexual abuser.  This may be one of the hardest things to do, because the violations are of such a personal and embarrassing nature.  But with the right support system you will be able to help stop the abuse as well as help any other victims come forward.  And with legal action, you are also raising the overall awareness of sexual abuse, making it just a little bit easier to talk about, which leads to educating and empowering others to stop abuse before it can even start.