You cannot open the newspaper or turn on the TV today without hearing about yet another sexual aggressor being outed. The (almost all) men you read and hear about are typically celebrities—actors, directors, producers—or politicians; in other words, men with immense power over people’s careers. On Capitol Hill, female staffers have, for years, maintained what they call “The Creeps List” consisting of members of Congress and senior Hill staffers who are known sexual predators and who should be avoided.
While the rich, powerful, famous, and politically prominent are daily being arraigned in the court of public opinion, sexual predation is not limited to them. It goes on in every part of the country, in every workplace, and in many homes, involving millions of predators and millions of victims.
We are at a cultural turning point when the targets of this abuse, emboldened by their more prominent fellow victims, are not taking it anymore and not remaining silent. The consequence of all of this is that sexual assault criminal and civil actions are skyrocketing. This is happening after a 20-year period in which there was a dramatic drop—63 percent—in the number of reported sexual assault cases and subsequent legal action.
That was then, but this is now. In the last two years, reported sexual assault cases and derivative legal actions have gone way up, and given recent events, show every indication of increasing.
Just on college campuses alone, 25 percent of all women say they have experienced sexual assault. Unlike in the past, victims are coming forward, emboldened and empowered by one another, and demanding action.
The heightened awareness stoked by the media has prompted state legislatures to extend their statutes of limitations with respect to sex crimes. This will serve to increase the number of plaintiffs and cases. This is a national movement that is rapidly turning into a wave, one that attorneys can ride to opportunity.