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Laid out below are commonly asked questions and answers to help facilitate your journey to justice.  If you have a question that is not listed below, ask it here and Jessica will try to get a response to you as soon as possible.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is defined as any unwanted touching.  It can range from something as simple as someone uncomfortably brushing up against you to forced penetration.  No matter what you did before this happened to you, sexual assault is never something you caused.  It can be one of life’s most traumatic experiences, and there’s help available to get you through it.

What is the Difference Between Victim and Survivor?

Cases 4 Causes Podcast | S1: Episode 2

What is the Difference Between Victim and Survivor?

Cases 4 Causes Podcast | S1: Episode 2

What is the Difference Between Victim and Survivor?

Cases 4 Causes Podcast | S1: Episode 2

Podcast Transcript

Landon Harlan (03:00):
Yeah. So one of the things that I wanted to ask you about, ’cause we’re gonna cover a few tips of advice that you would give someone if they come across this podcast on your website, which they most likely will, but some advice to give them in addition to content that they can read. But I do wanna start with something that I think is used interchangeably and could have a little bit of better foundation. Can you tell us in your own words, the difference between what a victim is, what a survivor is, you’ve chosen survivor and it seems to fit very well with a lot of your clientele, but can you give us your opinion on that?

Jessica Pride (03:36):
Yeah, there there’s a lot of debate about the difference of what do you call someone who’s been sexually assaulted or abused? Are they labeled as a survivor or are they labeled as a victim? I think it’s whatever survivor resonates with. That’s the term that they should choose. However, you know, historically, you know, the court system labels them as a victim or you’ve got society calling someone a victim and there was some pushback because the term victim seems to connotate that there’s somehow weak, you know, something bad happened to them that there is some stigma related with the word. And so we felt strongly. And I feel that, I mean, I like the word survivor, um, because it seems to connotate that you endured, you stood up, you took your power back. And what we do here at the pride law firm is to help survivors get justice in civil court, but we help them get their power back by saying, this is not okay.

Jessica Pride (04:43):
I’m gonna hold you accountable in court. And, and we realize that justice comes in so many forms. It could be in civil court, it could be in criminal court. It could be, you know, healing all different ways, but in choosing to do something to stand up and make that transition. I like the word survivor. And here everyone at the firm, we all have our own stories. We feel like we really have adored. We continue to fight on, you know, our own healing journeys, but on behalf of survivors, um, for their pursuit of justice. So survivor is what resonates with me, but I also appreciate that anyone, however, they identify whatever they’d like to call themselves. It is their story to tell, and it is their truth, but we can only help that we can be a piece on their healing journey. Another thing I would say about the whole part of survivor is that sexual violence is about power.

Jessica Pride (05:44):
It’s the difference between a power dynamic. Someone takes your power away in a sense because they do something to you without your consent and you didn’t get a choice. You didn’t get to choose to be raped. No one would pick that, you know, and what you do get to choose is what you do with it. You know, am I gonna choose to heal? Am I gonna choose to take the next day? ‘Cause every day is one day at a time, what am I gonna choose to say, no, this is not okay with me. I’m not gonna let it stand. I’m gonna make sure that this predator is held accountable. And whether he goes to jail has to pay for, you know, my pain and suffering and my medical bills. I choose, I choose what I want. And so I love that. And I love being able to be part of a survivor’s journey when they make that choice, that choice to say, I’m taking my power back.

Jessica Pride (06:45):
I’m gonna choose to heal in this fashion. And this is one part of my healing journey. So that’s all we can hope for here at the Pride Law Firm is to help survivors heal. We really believe that our mission here is to help end sexual violence. It’s not just what the work we do in civil court as you know, Wayne. And I’m president of the board of our local rape crisis center. I’ve held that title for six years. That’s a fully volunteer position that I dedicate, uh, God, it feels sometimes it’s 20 hours a week. Sometimes it’s five hours a week, but I try to give as much time as I can to the community, making sure that you know, our greater community, not just my clients have access to counseling and safe housing in the event that they’re fleeing violence.

Jessica Pride (07:32):
But then I went on and decided, well, how can I help other lawyers? Because I realized I’m one woman and I can’t help. I’d love to help everybody across the United States. I can’t do it. So I try to encourage trial lawyers across the country to one, do this work. And if you’re gonna do it, do it in a trauma informed way. So that’s why we started the litigation group to provide lawyer resources so that they can help survivors. And then my latest venture now is opening up a healing center for a sexual assault survivors. Sarona healing center will be a first of its kind in San Diego. I’m so excited about that. I’m like snaps to me and to my team for doing an amazing job in bringing the first of its kind, it’s a healing center only for sexual assault survivors to go and heal.

Jessica Pride (08:19):
So imagine kind of a Betty Ford [clinic] met a kind of like a healing wellness center. And all of our therapists are gonna be trauma informed. We’re whether whatever your manifestation of your trauma is, a lot of people, we find 80% of people who are sexually abused, their trauma manifest either in eating disorders, drug or alcohol addiction, cutting, things like that. And so they often go to therapists or providers to get that care, but they’re not dealing with the root cause. And at Serona we’re gonna help to treat people to get to the root cause. So hopefully they can live healthy, happy lives.

Was it sexual assault if it was my friend or my husband or my ex-boyfriend?

It doesn’t matter who violated your trust.  If you didn’t want that person to touch you, it was sexual assault.  It could have been your friend, girlfriend, ex-husband or even a blood relative.  Just because you previously knew the person who did this to you does not mean the pain or the feelings of confusion are lessened in any way.  But Jessica Pride can help regain your power.

Will I get in trouble if my boss sexually assaulted me?

In California, the law says some companies can be held accountable for the improper actions of employees.  Dealing with the fear and confusion of sexual assault is difficult enough without having it pose difficulties to building your career.  Jessica Pride can ensure your employer faces the consequences of this unacceptable behavior.

What if I’m in the military?

Active duty military personnel have several options for reporting sexual assault.  A restricted report will get you help to get through this, but won’t hold your attacker responsible or report the incident to your superiors.  An unrestricted report will be passed along to your commander and the appropriate military criminal investigative agency.  More information on the options can be found in the Department of Defense’s Safe Helpline website.  Sexual assault is already a traumatic experience that’s only exacerbated when you’re trying to defend our country, but there is hope and there is help.

How is a criminal case different than a civil case?

If you were sexually assaulted, you can sue the person who assaulted you in a civil case to seek monetary damages. Sexual assault is also a crime for which the state can prosecute the perpetrator, resulting in potential jail time.

See Also: Understanding a Criminal vs. Civil Lawsuit for Child Sexual Abuse

How much will it cost me?

Jessica Pride works on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay Jessica for her services unless she wins. The contingency fee that she charges is calculated as a percentage of the verdict or settlement that’s won. Jessica also pays the upfront cost of filing a lawsuit.

Is my conversation confidential?

Yes. Jessica takes the utmost precaution to make sure all conversations with survivors are confidential. Jessica understands how important privacy is to a survivor of sexual assault. Survivors can speak to Jessica about their experience; however, it’s up to the survivor to decide whether or not to move forward with legal action.

What if I was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when it happened?

If you were intoxicated or took illegal drugs before someone sexually assaulted you, it’s still not your fault.  The state of California says “positive cooperation” is required before consensual sexual activity between two people.  If one of them is intoxicated, he or she could not give consent.

What do I do if I think I was sexually assaulted?

Sexual assault can be one of the most agonizing experiences of your life.  But the best way to sort through the feelings is to get help.  Immediately afterward, you can call the police, go to your nearest emergency room, or, in San Diego, call the Center for Community Solutions.  The center has advocates who can talk to you 24 hours a day and find you the help you need.

Does sexual assault happen to men?

Absolutely.  Sexual assault can happen to men and can be perpetrated by women and men, though more commonly by men.  It is normal to feel like you’ve lost your manhood after a sexual assault.  But just as there are resources for women, men can become survivors, too.  Jessica Pride can help you get justice and help restore your power so you can get through this.

How do I get through the emotional trauma of sexual assault?

Sexual assault doesn’t have to be a trauma you suffer from for the rest of your life.  There are ways you can become a survivor.  Counseling can help you sort through your feelings.  In San Diego, you can call the Center for Community Solutions, which has staff 24 hours a day to help sort through your feelings.  If you are questioning what happened, feel guilty or ashamed or don’t know whether calling the police is a good idea, the Center for Community Solutions can help you find a path to healing.

Are there groups in San Diego to help me cope with sexual assault?

The Center for Community Solutions is staffed with advocates who can take your call 24 hours a day.  San Diego Trauma Therapy is a network of counselors who specialize in helping survivors get through their trauma.  Sexual assault is a painful experience, but it doesn’t have to define you.

How is sexual assault different from sexual battery and rape?

In California, the law defines sexual assault and sexual battery as the same thing: unwanted touching.  Rape is defined as intercourse in which one person did not consent, regardless of whether it was through violence or whether the person was unconscious, disabled, asleep or intoxicated and unable to give consent.Sexual assault and rape are never anything the survivor provoked.

How can Jessica Pride help?

Jessica Pride helps survivors of sexual assault regain their power through the civil court system.  Even if your case is making its way through the criminal courts, Jessica can simultaneously begin a civil case to get you justice and hold your attacker responsible.  Jessica will stand by you through the entire process.  Contact her today to make sure the person who did this to you is held accountable.


Reach Out to Us

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, or workplace sexual harassment we are here to answer your questions, provide a free and confidential case evaluation, and connect you to resources. 

By contacting us, you consent to receive marketing communications and other advertisements from Pride Law Firm.

The Pride Law Firm
2831 Camino Del Rio S., Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92108

Hours. M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm PST

Phone. ​(619) 516-8166

Fax. (619) 785-3414




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