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Why Even Bother? 

The following explains why we created this website, and why we work so hard to help survivors.  

Karlie* was a carefree, happy teenager with plenty of friends and interests. Then her always-fun adult neighbor took an interest. After many months of grooming her, he got her alone and sexually abused her.  It was “just” one time, and it wasn’t “rape,” but it immediately and dramatically changed her life.  Karlie developed depression, anxiety, and insomnia; she lost interest in most things and had difficulty creating healthy relationships. That lasted for more than 40 years! She suffered daily visions of the abuse, often considered suicide, and agonized about what that one incident of abuse -- and her years of silence about it -- meant about her as a person.  

About a decade after the abuse, Karlie started visiting counselors, took medication, and then tried all kinds of other things to manage her emotions.  That helped . . . a bit.  But the suffering continued for another 30 years, so they weren't complete solutions. 

When Karlie first visited my office, she only came to ask if I knew a good therapist. As we talked, we learned she had the right to file a civil lawsuit.  I did not push her to take any legal action – that is something only she could decide – I just explained her rights and what the process might look like. She had never seriously thought about legal options before.  

A few days later, Karlie got in touch with me, said she’d thought about all the pros and cons, and decided to file a civil lawsuit. During the lawsuit process, we discovered the perpetrator had abused many other children, including some who Karlie had known well, including at least one who had committed suicide.  The lawsuit caused the perpetrator great distress; for the first time he faced some consequence for the many years of abuse and agony he had inflicted. 

Think about that for a bit.  During more than FORTY YEARS, the perpetrator had raped and sexually abused a long line of teenagers, but he had never suffered any legal consequence. 

As the lawsuit progressed, something amazing happened. Karlie’s confidence and outlook on life improved.  She gained enormous strength from finally fighting back, from DOING something. The lawsuit ended with a settlement and Karlie got a decent money payment. Soon afterward, she sent me this message (which she has allowed me to share):  

 

“Victor, Thank you. That is a lot of money. Somehow it doesn’t make up for a lifetime of depression and anxiety, but as Robert Redford said in the Sting “It’s close.” I want you to know that you have done more for me towards healing than all of the therapists I have seen over the years combined. It’s not just the money, I feel like I finally fought back, like I should have done 40 years ago. I’m glad I met you and I hope we can stay in touch in the coming years. You are the best lawyer I have ever met and I consider you a friend.”

 

So, the legal system gave Karlie something that 40 years of doctors, therapists, friends, drugs, alcohol, and even time could not: a feeling of strength, of control, of making the perpetrator pay for his crimes.  She gained new knowledge, insights and confidence.  And, of course, she got a payment that helped her financially. 

How many years of Karlie’s life could have been improved had she reached out earlier?  Would Karlie have been saved from this terrible result if a prior victim had done something earlier? 

Survivors of terrible crimes deal with pain in many ways.  Some use therapy, medication, or meditation. Others turn to family, friends, religion, or exercise.  Many go down darker paths that involve drugs, alcohol, self-harm, or similar destructive habits.  

The justice system is not always an option, and even if it is, it is not for everyone.  But for some, the justice system is an important tool to consider.  Many survivors discover that, unlike any other method, the justice system helps them fight back against the perpetrator, to hold them accountable for what they have done, and to make them pay money to the survivor . . .  and sometimes it is the best way to prevent  perpetrators from injuring victims in the future.  

If you would like to explore legal options you have related to sexual abuse that happened in the State of Utah, please explore this website and reach out for a free and private consultation about your case. We’ve spoken to many, many survivors, and we would love to hear from you. There is no cost and no obligation.  In the end, it might be nothing, Or, it might change your life.  

*Identity changed

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