Being Accused of Sexual Assault | Counseling | Therapy

Being Accused of Sexual Assault

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Being Accused of Sexual Assault Introduction

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being falsely accused of sexual assault, it’s imperative that you gain understanding about what’s going to happen next. Although it’s impossible to predict exactly how everything will unfold, it’s vital that you know your rights and how to gain support through what’s likely to be a challenging experience. Being accused of sexual assault is a complicated matter, and a difficult subject to discuss. The intention of this article is to help provide guidance and support to anyone who is falsely accused of sexual assault. This article is not to be considered formalized legal advice. We want to take a moment to recognize that thousands of people experience sexual assault every year, and we understand the severity of the resulting trauma. However, being falsely accused of sexual assault is on the rise, which causes trauma, alienation and potentially lasting legal implications.

Therapy for people accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

Why are People Falsely Accused?

The unfortunate reality is that people are falsely accused of sexual assault for all kinds of reasons, including: an effort to gain leverage in family court regarding matters of child custody, revenge taken by a scorned ex-partner, and sadly, blurred lines around having sexual encounters when under the influence of substances. People are also falsely accused of sexual assault after having experiences of sexual miscommunication where consent is not clearly understood between one or both parties. Where the lines are drawn regarding what is miscommunication and real, heinous sexual assault are currently blurry and problematic. Many young, college-aged folks are still learning how to communicate sexually, as well as, how to give and recieve consent that’s clear and direct. A mishap can end up with someone being falsely accused of sexual assault when there was no malintention to harm.

Therapy for people accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

What Happens Next?

Simply put, someone makes a report to the police. (This is a different process than if you are a college student, which would typically go through title 9.) And then police do some initial investigating, which may just be in the form of questioning the person making the accusation. Police will get their side of the story and file an official report. Police will typically not move forward with charges unless the person making the accusation wants to see the charges through and would be a willing witness. Typically, the initial investigation is one-sided and the accused person does not find out about the report until they get a call from the police.

After the report is made and the initial investigation is done, depending upon the alleged crime, you will get a call from the police. Remember, the investigation at this point is likely just information gathered by the person making the accusation. The police will try and get you to talk to them about the alleged events that transpired. Police will say things like “we want to hear your side of the story.” And, “if you’re innocent and you have nothing to hide, come in and talk to us.” And the temptation may be to talk to them and clear your name. You might think, “I have nothing to hide, so I might as well talk to the police.” However, this is your cue to seek legal help through an experienced criminal law attorney. Your only job is to politely redirect the conversation and let the police know that with your lawyer present you are very open to having a conversation. The police are NOT on your side. Prior to talking with the police you need to speak with a lawyer to better understand the implications of each and every word that you might say. Your job is to let your lawyer represent you. The potential consequences are too great for you to navigate this predicament on your own. The legal system is not intuitive and you need a private guide to interpret the double speak.

Therapy for people accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

Know your Rights

You have the right to remain silent. If you are questioned by police, perhaps they show up in person at your house, you have the right to express to them that you will only discuss matters of the case with your attorney present. If you are arrested, you should evoke your right to remain silent. You should only speak to them with the support of an attorney. You have to keep in mind that anything you say can be used against you. Even though you’ve been falsely accused, and you know you’ve done nothing to harm another person, the police are going off of a report they received from the person accusing you. The way a police officer records your testimony could be the difference of being found innocent or guilty. You have no idea how a police officer who sounds caring is going to write down what they heard you say. Remember your rights, and hire a lawyer as soon as you possibly can. When hiring a lawyer, look for someone who has lots of experience helping people who are falsely accused of sexual assault. This is one area of the law that you truly need an expert on your side. You don’t want to risk someone making rookie mistakes. You will most likely need to pay a fee to hire the lawyer. This is called a retainer. Some lawyers offer payment plans. If finances are an issue, ask every friend and family member for a loan. As a last resort seek out community legal services in your area and ask for resources for low-fee, or pro-bono attorneys. Getting good legal representation might be the difference between being found innocent or guilty.

You need a lawyer who is going to be on your side, and who can provide you with direction. It’s important to listen to your lawyer’s advice. You are paying a very high price for their legal counsel. Follow every word that they suggest. Their only job is to protect you. Let them. Most likely, your lawyer will tell you to keep quiet, and not talk about the alleged offense to the police, or the people in your life. This is also a good time to get yourself a therapist. A therapist is someone that you can openly share your story with. Friends and family can and will be asked to testify against you. Even with a therapist, you will not want to share the details of the case. You will only want to share your feelings around the case. Again, the only person who should know all the details is your lawyer. Your number one goal is to allow the lawyer to be your spokesperson and to frame your responses so that you are protected.

Therapy for people accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

People Will Question You

You may be contacted by the person accusing you. It’s imperative that you do not speak with this person, or their close confidants. Conversations could be being recorded, and also used against you. Do not speak with the person accusing you of the crime. It’s likely your lawyer will advise you of this, but even before you get a lawyer, please understand that anything you say could be misconstrued and make it harder for your lawyer to prove your innocence.

Your family and friends might notice that you look out of sorts and ask you about what’s happening. It’s also important to keep information shared to an absolute minimum. You might say, “I am upset, thanks for noticing.
If they question you further, just delete the details and focus on the typical things you might be upset about.” It’s important that you keep the allegations and what happened to your lawyer and yourself. Unfortunately, even though you’ve been falsely accused, information could be used against you. Not only do allegations carry a stigma, but you will lose the ability to control the narrative. . Even though your friends and family probably mean well, the more you talk the higher the risk. The sad part about this is that it’s likely you want support from friends and family, which might not be readily accessible to you in the beginning stages of being falsely accused.

Therapy for people accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

The Emotional Toll

The emotional toll of being falsely accused can be brutal. The humiliation of being accused of something that carries a very heavy stigma can be debilitating for your mental health. Depression, anxiety and hypervigilance (looking over your shoulder) can be felt by those falsely accused. You likely will feel lonely, isolated and alienated, unable to talk to trusted family members and friends. The disconnect from loved ones is often the most damaging part of the false allegations. For having done nothing wrong, you suddenly find yourself completely alone. Depending on who falsely accused you, you may also have feelings of betrayal. You probably feel shocked, angry and misunderstood. This is why hiring a therapist is critical. You need someone to talk about this with. You need someone (who isn’t as expensive as your lawyer and is trained in helping people process emotions) to help you process your plight of being falsely accused of sexual assault. You are the victim of false allegations and you too need a safe and confidential space to process some of these complex emotions. The Center for Growth offers unique treatment to assist those who have been accused of sexual assault. To manage this experience, you need someone who understands what makes it unique and challenging. Call 215- 922 - 5683 x 100 to speak to one of our expert therapists who understand the complexity of being accused of sexual assault, and set up a therapy appointment today. We have 2 locations in Philadelphia PA: Society Hill Therapy Office and Art Museum / Fairmount Therapy Office and in Mechanicsville VA: Mechanicsville Therapy Office and in Santa Fe NM: Santa Fe Therapy Office and in Ocean City NJ, Ocean City Therapy Office and we provide virtual counseling services in Georgia and Florida.

Therapy for people accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM


If you’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault, you may experience intense and upsetting emotions and need the support of a trusted therapist who will be in your corner. It’s imperative to hire skilled legal counsel and listen to their advice. And it’s important to know your rights and remain silent when being questioned until you have proper direction from your lawyer. You can get through this dreadful time with the right support. Although being accused of something that’s highly stigmatized is an inevitably challenging experience, proving your innocence and seeing this through with trusted professionals by your side does make things easier. You are not alone and you will not be judged by a therapist who has experience working with people who’ve been falsely accused by sexual assault.

Therapy for people accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

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