Sexual Abuse on College Campuses: Fraternities
Sexual abuse and rape on college campuses has recently made headlines involving a number of high profile rape cases at major universities like Duke and the University of Virginia. Often, these incidents of rape are directly tied to the victim’s presence at a fraternity party or association with members of a fraternity. While every college student has a responsibility to protect themselves at a college party, no one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
The statistics on campus sexual assault are no joke. Newsweek recently reported that a whopping 15% of female undergraduate students at the University of Texas in Austin have been sexually assaulted while enrolled as a student. This number is far too high. Preventing sexual assault can be difficult, but both criminal and civil remedies also exist to help victims seek justice for their injuries.
What can Victims of Campus Sexual Assault do to Get Justice?
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted on a college campus, the only way to get justice is to come forward and tell the story. As the saying goes, justice is blind, but it is not deaf. If victims come forward and tell their stories, they can often seek justice against their abusers.
Most campus sexual assault lawsuits will begin as criminal lawsuits. In a criminal lawsuit, the government will sue the victim’s attacker in criminal court to send him or her to jail. The criminal lawsuit will help ensure that the perpetrator of the attack can never hurt anyone else ever again.
Almost everyone is familiar with the criminal court process, but few also know that they can seek additional justice by filing a civil lawsuit. Sexual assault is also a type of civil battery, which can allow the victim to sue his or her attacker for money to help compensate for the physical and emotional injuries suffered by the victim.
Lawsuits Against Fraternities and Sororities
In certain cases, civil lawsuits can also be brought against the fraternity or sorority that hosted the party where the assault occurred. If the hosts of the party knew that the abuser was a dangerous person or should have known that a sexual assault would occur, they can face liability for their negligence in allowing that person to stay at the party.
In other cases, fraternities and sororities could also be sued for over-serving alcohol to guests who they knew were too intoxicated to drink more safely. If a victim is sexually assaulted while either blacked out or too intoxicated to consent, the fraternity or sorority could become liable under the social hosts exception to Texas’s dram shop laws.
The Extent of Civil Recovery Available in Sexual Assault Lawsuits
When victims seek justice in civil court, the primary forms of relief given include money damages and restraining orders against any future contact. Money damages can include the payment of any medical or psychological treatment bills as well as compensation for any emotional pain and suffering caused by the attack.
Take Action and Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a family member was the victim of sexual assault while on a college campus, contact the experienced Houston personal injury lawyers at Michael P. Fleming and Associates today 713-221-6800.