Sexual offenses are nothing foreign to a woman. Far too many of them are molested or assaulted, and far too many of their attackers are let off the hook or suffer too-short prison terms as a result of the rape culture our society seems to view only as boys just being boys. Most victims of this type of offense are family members or family friends, an even more devastating reality that we cannot hope to overlook when we search for justice.
Ana Wagner suffered her first sexual assault at the age of nine, molested by a family friend whom her father knew well enough to do business with. According to her account of the horrific event, the man touched her inappropriately and asked her to provide oral stimulation. He forcibly made her touch his penis. Afterward, he had her watch pornographic videos and swear on the Bible that she wouldn’t tell another soul of their unthinkable encounter. For three years thereafter, she continued to suffer at the hands of man.
When she was twelve, everything she had been through came pouring out during a Catholic school research paper presentation. She had chosen sexual abuse as her topic. When it was time to give her presentation on the subject, she had a panic attack and was immediately pulled from class. The teachers knew that something was wrong, and began to question her. She eventually admitted that she had been molested.
The next scene sadly played out as so many do.
Teachers gave her some time to approach her parents on her own before they would be forced to communicate what had happened at school, and what was going on behind closed doors at home. Ana found it easier to break the news to an aunt, who was the one to alert her parents. Although Ana had her fears about what would happen next, nothing terrible happened. In fact, the terrible part is what didn’t happen. The man who molested her ran, and her parents seemed content to let the story die away as if it had never happened. The nightmare was covered up, and Ana would assume that she was the blamed party.
It wasn’t until she was thirty-two years old that Ana finally overcame her fears and decided to take action against the man who had turned her life into a living hell. She went to the police, who were able to do little even after they relented and allowed her to file a report. Even though the report was made, there was nothing to be done about something that had happened so far into the past.
That’s what Ana is fighting to change. She spoke with Governor Cuomo on two occasions, met with assemblywomen to discuss the subject, and then organized a Walk for Survivors of Child Sex Abuse in order to try to adapt archaic laws to help victims of child sexual assault find the justice they need to move on, and to force the perpetrators to face up to what they’ve done. A bill that would do just that has failed on four different occasions in the last decade, and the fight continues to get it passed today.
It doesn’t matter whether you seek out Georgia personal injury law or New York personal injury law, but if you were the victim of a sexual assault you should speak to an attorney and find out if there is a way you can be part of the good fight to protect our children now and in the future–so many lose that chance forever.