Tag: Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Why Do Victims ‘Freeze Up’ During A Sexual Assault?

It is a widely held but erroneous belief — even within the justice system  — that people who are sexually assaulted will always respond with a “fight-or-flight” response.  But the reality is that many sexual assault victims have neither of these exact responses.  Instead, they have a completely different but also natural, less-talked-about reaction to high-stress, fear-filled situations.  That response is to freeze up and withdraw.  We see this quite commonly among those who are sexually assaulted by massage therapist or doctors. In these situations, sexual assault is furthest thing from the victim’s mind.

To those who have never been sexually assaulted, it may seem weird—unbelievable, even—that people in such a situation wouldn’t be doing everything in their power to resist or get away. After all, we’re programmed with the fight-or-flight instinct that’s supposed to kick in during threatening situations, right? Following that line of thought, if you don’t do either of those things, then you must not have actually felt threatened—and in the context of rape, that must mean the person actually wanted what was happening. This line of thought, however, is misguided and uninformed.

In actuality, “freezing” is a common response to a threat that we see in many species — not just humans. Freezing usually lasts briefly and happens in many situations where there’s an element of fear or panic—not being able to speak or think of the right words when you’re nervous, for example, is also the freezing instinct at work.  This involuntary response kicks in to help someone assess the situation and make a decision that isn’t impulsive.

Sexual assault victims who experience the “freeze” response sometimes feel guilt, shame or response after an assault because of their inaction.  It should be remembered, however, that this is an involuntary and completely normal response to trauma.  As such, sexual assault victims who experience this reaction should not have regret about this conduct and the justice system should never misinterpret their response for consent, a failure to mitigate damages, or as anything other than a normal trauma response.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual assault and abuse.  Many of these victims experience trauma resulting in an involuntary freeze response.  You can reach Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100 for an evaluation your case.

Mormon Church accused of failing to report sexual abuse

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According to the Associated Press, a Navajo man is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for failing to report sexual abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of his foster father while in a foster care program called the Lamanite Placement Program in the 1970s. The man, identified as L.K. in the lawsuit, says that he reported the abuse at the time it occurred to Mormons in the program, but was told to remain in the program. L.K. is the fourth person from the Navajo Nation to sue the LDS Church for failing to protect him from sexual abuse.

Eric Hawkins, LDS Church spokesman, has said that the Church has changed its abuse reporting requirements over time and now more strictly tracks those accused of abuse. L.K. has brought his suit against the Church in Navajo Nation Tribal Court. Church attorneys have filed motions to have the suit moved to a Utah court.

Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, including cases related to clergy sexual abuse. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.