What Does Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors Look Like?

We ought to adopt a definition of justice that is at least as concerned with supporting survivors as it is with punishing perpetrators.

Blog Post (NATIONAL)

Martha Bergmark
Huffington Post
September 7, 2016

Tags: Sexual Assault

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Assistance of Western New York, Texas Advocacy Project


In all the rightful outrage about Turner’s punishment, we seem to have lost sight of a broader conversation about what might actually constitute justice for survivors of sexual assault.

The unfortunate reality is that while sexual assault is common, justice for those who have survived it is not. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), only six in a thousand perpetrators of all sexual assaults go to prison. In fact, because two thirds of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, the vast majority of sexual assault cases are never even prosecuted in criminal court.

Clearly, justice for sexual assault survivors goes beyond punishing perpetrators. Justice also means considering what survivors need to heal and move on with their lives. For many of them, legal help is an important and often overlooked part of the solution.