If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, you absolutely have the right to seek justice, even if the abuse occurred years ago. You can still hold your abuser accountable. In California, it is never too late to file a sexual abuse case. However, rhe longer you wait, the harder it can be to prosecute your case.
What is sexual abuse in California?
Sexual abuse is a broad term that covers various types of sexual misconduct, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, child molestation, incest, sexual harassment, etc.
According to California law, consent is defined as positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. Consent cannot be given by someone who is asleep, unconscious, mentally incapacitated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consent can also be withdrawn at any time during a sexual encounter.
How to prove sexual abuse in California?
Proving sexual abuse in California can be challenging, especially if the abuse happened a long time ago or if there is no physical evidence. However, it is not impossible. There are different ways to prove sexual abuse depending on the type of claim you are pursuing.
If you are filing a case against your abuser, the burden of proof is on you. But, you may use various types of evidence to support your case. You can use DNA evidence from bodily fluids, hair, clothing, etc. You can also use medical records from the victim or the perpetrator, forensic evidence from the crime scene and witness testimony from people who saw or heard the abuse.
You can also use expert testimony from medical or mental health professionals. This is in addition to admissions or confessions from the perpetrator, video or audio recordings of the abuse and social media posts or messages related to the abuse.
Your own testimony about what happened and how it affected you can also be used, as well as statements from other survivors who were abused by the same perpetrator. You can also use letters, emails, texts, and phone calls from the perpetrator that show their guilt or remorse. Evidence of prior acts of sexual abuse by the perpetrator, evidence of your emotional distress or psychological injuries and evidence of your economic losses or damages can also be used.