Last year I was raped by my stepfather. I told my mom straight away, but she didn’t believe me and continually left me alone in the house with this man until she kicked me out of the house to go live with my father. My dad and I plan on pressing charges, but what about suing for emotional damage?
This is my dad’s idea, and if we won, the money would go to me. I’ve been going to counseling twice a week, and I continue to have nightmares and I always have this nagging thought that it could happen again (I’m 16 by the way).
It has affected my ability to trust. I’m very sensitive and it’s all I can do to not fall apart at school. Should I press charges against my stepfather AND sue for emotional damage, or just do one or the other?
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.
Because the criminal and civil systems are separate, you can actually sue someone in both courts.
As far as your emotional distress, because you are alleging rape, the cause of action would actually be Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress as well as the tort of assault (if you were placed in fear of immediate bodily harm) as well as battery (since he physically caused harmful and offensive touching with the rape).
You should also consider contacting your state’s victim compensation fund which would be found on your state’s governmental website. Often Victim’s Compensation will provide resources and settlements to assist victims of crime with their needs such as counseling.
What’s more, the perpetrator does not need to be convicted in order to qualify for these resources. They are state specific, however so you will need to check and see if your state provides this benefit.
Learn more here: About Child Abuse & Restitution
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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