Sexual Abuse In Rehab
Rehab facilities are designed to be a place of safety and healing. If the unimaginable has happened and you’ve become the victim of rehab sexual assault, seeking out support is critical as you begin the path forward toward healing. Please remember that it isn’t your fault, and you are not alone in this. In addition to seeking help for your recovery, it is important to consider legal action against your abuser and any other parties that can be held responsible. Legal action allows you to take back your power as you hold an abuser accountable.
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What Is Considered Rehab Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse is a generic term describing any unwanted, sexually driven physical contact. Rehab sexual abuse refers to any abuse that happens at the hands of a facility staff member or another facility resident.
Sexual abuse can take place anywhere and can happen to anyone. Rehab facilities are unique environments where individuals are at their most vulnerable as they seek out help and healing. It is your right to feel safe and protected while at a rehabilitation center. If your rights are violated, you are not at fault, regardless if you were under the influence, under medication, or otherwise present and coherent. Sexual assault survivors are never to blame, and you have options if you have suffered at the hands of an abuser.
While abusers are not all the same, they do exhibit similar traits. Abusers tend to be individuals who are older, and more often than not, abusers are someone the victim knows. Abusers seek out victims they can control, overpower and manipulate for personal gain.
Why Is Sexual Abuse Prone To Happen In Rehab Centers?
Unfortunately, individuals are victimized at rehab centers and residential treatment facilities because many who seek rehab services are already in a vulnerable state, especially those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
The mental bandwidth victims dedicate to focusing on their recovery can leave them vulnerable, and they will typically turn to those around them for support and care. In doing so, you and other victims understandably put trust in the staff members who are there to help through the recovery.
Predators can be either staff members of the facility or other clients who receive services from the rehabilitation center. Whether it is a staff member or client doing the abuse, seeking legal advice can be critical in holding predators accountable for their auctions.
Unfortunately, the unique nature of a rehab facility makes it easy for a predator to exploit this trust and vulnerability. You are not to blame if you have been victimized while receiving services at a rehab center or residential treatment facility. You have options and resources designed to cater to your specific needs. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization helping to guide victims of sexual abuse. It’s imperative to tap into resources such as RAINN if you have not already done so to begin the healing journey.
Examples Of Rehab Sexual Abuse
Regardless of if the sexual abuse takes place at a rehabilitation center, a client’s home (if they are receiving home services), or any other location where an offender has ease of access to the victim, certain behaviors will always be present by an abuser. Rehab sexual abuse can take on many forms and can include but is not limited to the following types of violations:
- Sexual assault, including rape/penetration
- Unwanted kissing, touching, massaging, or fondling of intimate body parts
- Unnecessary medical exams on a victim’s body or genital area
- Exposure of intimate body parts
Common Signs Of Sexual Abuse In Rehab Centers
If you have not spoken up or are afraid to speak up about the sexual abuse you have experienced, please know you are not alone. Victims of sexual abuse in rehab centers do not often speak up about their abuse and often don’t speak out because of shame, victim blaming, or fear. Please remember that what happened to you is not your fault, and the blame lies entirely with the abuser. An estimated 41.8% of women across the US have been victims of sexual violence at least once in their life. Although speaking out about the abuse can be challenging, this is the first step in your journey to healing and your fight for justice.
Despite strong current data on sexual assaults nationwide, many victims do not speak up and report the abuse. It’s important to remember that telling someone you love, or a person in authority is imperative to stopping the abuse and holding your abuser accountable.
If you fear your loved one has unfortunately been the victim of rehab sexual abuse, there are things you can keep an eye out for to determine whether sexual abuse is happening. Common signs of sexual abuse in rehab centers include but are not limited to the following:
- Bruising on or around private areas, including the chest, neck, breast, and inner thighs
- Itching or irritation around the genital area
- Bleeding from the genital area or sudden blood spots on underwear, bed sheets, and other clothing
- Infection of a sexually transmitted disease
What Should You Do If You Were A Victim Of Rehab Sexual Abuse?
As a victim of rehab sexual abuse, it is important to report the abuse as quickly as possible. If the abuse happened at the hands of a staff member, and you are understandably afraid to alert facility officials, contacting the local authorities is the best way to report the abuse.
You can also report the abuse to a friend or family member you trust if you are not comfortable going to law enforcement yourself. However, if you do report the abuse to a loved one, it’s still important that the next step you and the family member take is alerting law enforcement.
This is a painful journey, but please remember you do not have to be alone in it.
When you alert law enforcement, you may be asked to undergo a rape kit at your local hospital or medical facility. A rape kit will help the authorities collect DNA evidence that can be used to prosecute your abuser. If you file a civil lawsuit following your assault, this DNA evidence can also help you build a strong case against your abuser and potentially the rehab facility so that you can pursue damages for your pain and suffering.
If a rape kit is not offered to you and you feel you should have one, advise authorities that this is something you would like. If you seek legal representation, an experienced lawyer will ensure that pertinent evidence, including a rape kit, is collected on behalf of you and your case.
Seeking Help And Support
You may feel alone, scared, or ashamed of seeking help and support. Please don’t be. It is not your fault. It’s important to remember that rehab sexual abuse can occur to anyone, regardless of background, age, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or economic standing. Abusers do not discriminate toward their victims, and more importantly, you are never to blame for the rehab sexual abuse you have endured.
The RAINN organization is the nation’s largest anti-sex violence group established and designed to help protect victims, educate the public, and provide resources to victims and their families who have suffered sexual abuse.
If you are in need of help and support, the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline (1-800-656-4673) is an invaluable resource to tap into. Calls are free and confidential and will allow you to speak with a trained professional 24/7 who can help answer your questions and concerns. They can also direct you to additional resources in your community.
Seeking out the help of a licensed therapist can also aid in your recovery. Joining a support group and working with a counselor one-on-one or in a group setting can help you navigate the trauma you’ve endured so that you can move forward in a successful and healthy manner.
Working with an attorney experienced in rehab sexual assault cases is another avenue that can prove invaluable to your recovery. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options so that you can seek the justice you deserve. An experienced attorney will also help you recover all damages your abuser is responsible for. This will hold them and any other liable parties responsible for paying any medical costs associated with your injuries — as well as the pain and suffering you have endured.
You are worth a happy and healthy future. Holding your abuser accountable for their actions via a civil lawsuit is one way to hold them responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
How The Rehab Sexual Abuse Lawyers At Bachus & Schanker Can Help You
It can be an overwhelming and understandably difficult process to navigate the road ahead after having suffered a sexual assault at the hands of a mental health professional or staff member at a rehab facility.
The sexual assault lawyers at Bachus & Schanker understand this, and we are committed to helping simplify, streamline, and protect you as you navigate that process. Our legal team approaches every rehab sexual assault case with care, and we are committed through our Victim’s Advocates Team to standing up for your rights and defending you to the fullest extent of the law. Our team will pursue legal action against your abuser and any other parties that can be held accountable. Contact our team to read more about this specialized team and how they can serve you.
Seeking support for your physical and mental healing is critical to your recovery. Equally, hiring legal representation when you are the victim of rehab sexual assault can help you recover damages associated with the abuse you’ve endured.
Kuadli, J. (2023). 32 Shocking Sexual Assault Statistics.
Facts for Survivors. (2023).
Related Sexual Assault Resources
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