Sexual abuse is a crime that leaves lasting scars on the survivors. Victims of sexual assault often feel intimidated, afraid, and ashamed about the abuse, and coming forward to press charges against an abuser can be difficult. Often victims are concerned about whether they’ll be believed, if the abuse was somehow their fault, and there is a natural reluctance to talk about and relive what happened.
At that same time, it’s vitally important that victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment come forward to implicate the offender, both for their own safety as well as the safety of the community.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of unwanted sexual advances or has been assaulted sexually, it’s important to realize there are a number of both legal and community resources on your side to defend and protect your rights, as well as to ensure abusers are punished for their crimes.
Under Oregon law, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any kind of conduct – either verbal, physical, or visual – that is unwanted and of a sexual nature. Oftentimes, accusations of sexual harassment center on the workplace. Examples of workplace sexual harassment include:
- Unwanted sexual advances or propositions by bosses or coworkers;
- Quid pro quo arrangements, in which raises or promotions are offered to employees in return for sexual favors;
- Sexually graphic comments made by supervisors or coworkers;
- The display or circulation of images that are sexually graphic or degrading; and
- Any kind of unwelcome or abusive sexual contact that creates a hostile work environment.
Victims of sexual harassment may feel intimidated and unable to stop the abuse without endangering their jobs. While sexually suggestive comments, jokes, or other unwanted behaviors at work are often excused as being harmless and all in good fun, sexual harassment is no joking matter. Employers are legally responsible to prevent harassment in the workplace, and could end up in court if they don’t take steps to stop harassing behavior. Damages awarded to victims of sexual harassment include medical expenses, attorney’s fees, pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages.
Sexual Abuse and Assault
In Oregon, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, and rapes committed by strangers are all prosecuted under the same set of laws. Under the Oregon Revised Statutes, criminal charges related to sexual abuse and assault include the following:
- Sexual abuse in the third degree: Under Section 163.415, this is when a perpetrator subjects the victim to any type of sexual contact, such as fondling, caressing, or touching of the genitals, which the victim either did not consent to or was incapable of consenting to.
- Sexual abuse in the second degree: Under Section 163.425, this is when a perpetrator subjects a victim to sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent.
- Rape in the first degree: Under Section 163.375, this occurs when the perpetrator subjects the victim to sexual intercourse by the threat of force, including threatening to kidnap, kill, or otherwise cause injury to the victim.
Any type of sexual contact which occurs without your full and knowing consent is classified as sexual abuse and should be reported at once to law enforcement.
Contact a Portland Sexual Abuse Attorney
If you suspect that you or someone you know has been sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted in any way, contact our experienced sexual abuse attorneys immediately. At the Johnston Law Firm, we fight for the rights of survivors of sexual violence in all its forms, and make sure perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes.
Regardless of when or how you were sexually abused, our office will help to get you the justice you deserve. Call our Portland sexual abuse attorneys today for a free review of your case at 503-546-3167.