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.