8 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 479 (1977-1978)
Civil Suits for Sexual Assault: Compensating Rape Victims

handle is hein.journals/ggulr8 and id is 493 raw text is: CIVIL SUITS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT:
COMPENSATING RAPE VICTIMS
Camille LeGrand* and Frances Leonard**
I. INTRODUCTION
A few years ago, civil suits for damages arising from sexual
assaults were rare; most practitioners did not encounter such
complaints. The rarity of these cases was probably due to the
reluctance of the sexual assault victim to expose herself to the
public scrutiny inherent in any kind of legal process. The same
reasons that inhibit the victim from making a report to police
lead her to avoid seeking compensation for her injuries: the victim
tends to be blamed for her own assault; she knows that reliving
the experience as a witness in a legal proceeding will be emotion-
ally trying; she has little expectation of justice; she experiences
shame and guilt which lead her to conceal the attack; and she
fears the adverse reactions of family and friends.'
These factors still operate to silence many sexual assault
victims. However, changes in society's attitudes toward victims
and in victims' feelings about themselves are leading to an in-
crease in both criminal and civil sexual assault complaints. There
is a growing tendency for a sexual assault victim to react to the
assault against her with anger rather than shame. Anger leads
increasing numbers of victims to the police and through the crim-
inal process. Anger at the frequent inadequacies in the criminal
process' in turn leads more and more victims to civil litigation.
* J.D., Boalt Hall, 1973. Ms. LeGrand is in private civil practice in San Francisco,
specializing in sexual assault tort cases. She is co-author of FORCIBLE RAPE: AN ANALYSIS
OF LEGAL ISSUES (1978) and assisted in drafting the California Robbins Rape Evidence Law
(1974).
** Third Year Law Student, Golden Gate University School of Law.
1. LeGrand, Rape and Rape Laws: Sexism in Society and Law, 61 CALIF. L. Rxv.
919, 922 (1973).
2. Bohmer & Blumberg, Twice Traumatized: The Rape Victim and the Court, 58
JUDICATURE 391 (1975); Burgess & Holmstrom, Rape Victim Counseling: The Legal
Process, 38 NAT'L A. WOMEN DEANS, ADMINISTRATORS, & COUNSELORS 24 (1974); Holmstrom
& Burgess, Rape: The Victim and the Criminal Justice System, 3 INT'L J. CRIM. &
PENOLOGY 101 (1975).

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