Visitor Question

Can I sue for emotional distress after being raped by my cousin?

Submitted By: Amber (Pennsylvania)

When I was younger, my father would take me to my aunt and uncle’s house where I was repeatedly molested and later raped by my cousin. I had extreme emotional issues because of this happening. Due to my young age I hadn’t told anyone until I was older and thought I wouldn’t be blamed.

When I was 19 my cousin made a snide remark and I lost it and decided I couldn’t hold it in anymore. When I did tell everyone, my family did blame me and acted as though I made it all up. They wouldn’t let me see my younger brother and sister so I didn’t speak of what happened so that I could see my siblings.

I had extreme emotional issues. I saw a therapist and was extremely depressed. My mother told me of a time before all of this when that cousin and his older brother had been touching me and another girl. She had told our moms about it and Children and Youth Services were called (when I was 2!) so there is proof about these things happening even before I remember.

Everyone just wants me to forget that it happened, but I can’t just forget and it’s not fair that I am the only one suffering. My cousin never even got in trouble for it and my father never got in trouble for not protecting me! What can be done about this? Thanks for any advice you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Amber,

If you want those who hurt you to be punished you should immediately contact your local police department and file a claim with them. Once accomplished the District Attorney’s Office will determine whether you have met the Statute of Limitations, or the allotted period of time within which you are able to legally proceed.

From the facts you present your first “outcry,” or statement to any 3rd party about your Aggravated Sexual Assault was sometime after your nineteenth birthday. You neglected to mention how old you were when you made the outcry.

If the outcry was made within the Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations period and the District Attorney believes there exists sufficient evidence, the case will go before your County’s Grand Jury where undoubtedly you will be called to testify.

Once indicted those who perpetrated the continuing crimes against you will be arrested and tried for Aggravated Sexual Assault. At the same time it would be in your best interest to seek the advice of a civil attorney. She will best be able to advise you about any civil penalties against those who sexually assaulted you.

Learn more here: Crime Victim Injury Compensation

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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