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Sexual assault is a profoundly personal experience that affects each survivor differently.  Often, the last thing any survivor is thinking about is compensation – more important to him or her is justice, accountability, and transparency.  But the civil justice system exists to try to make people whole again after an injury is caused by someone else.

To be clear, civil actions cannot undo what has been done and cannot do to the perpetrator what was done to the survivor.  But financial compensation – and accountability of perpetrators – is necessary for survivors to try to reclaim what was taken from them.

Generally speaking, there are two types of damages.  Economic damages represent actual or tangible expenses or losses, such as medical bills and work loss.  Noneconomic damages comprise categories that can’t be captured by a receipt or an invoice, things like pain and suffering, humiliation, loss of companionship, and more.

Determining the damages in a sexual assault case can be complicated, particularly in cases involving survivors who were abused as children.  The financial impact is almost always underestimated.  Damages are often far more than just therapy bills… What is the value of lost income or educational opportunities?  What is the cost of a lost relationship or broken marriage?  How do you compensate for a lifetime of alcoholism or drug abuse?

Sexual assault survivors deserve fair and reasonable compensation for all that they have lost, and the perpetrators and their enablers should bear the financial responsibility for the harm that has been caused.

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