Supreme Court Case to Overturn $250k Cap / 2022 - My story In 2018, my life changed forever. I found a doctor that seemed to fit all my needs and looked like he had the credentials to help me. I started to be treated for injuries sustained and ongoing pain issues and was surprised at the apparent expertise that fit the needs perfectly. The first couple of visits were great. I felt comfortable and confident that his treatments were working. However, on the third visit, he crossed a line as a doctor and a human by violating me and sexually assaulted me at the end of the appointment. How could the person you went to for help use this as an opportunity to hurt me emotionally and physically? In a panic and haze after the assault, I went to the police station. The police escorted me to the emergency room where I endured the lengthy process that only victims of sexual assault will have to go through. After being poked, tested, scraped, photographed etc- it ended a day that has forever changed my worldview. And I did not get out on this earth to be a victim. Even though I timely reported this crime, there was no arrest made and no charges filed. Despite my inner strength, I struggled to find peace, relate to friends and family and especially struggled to escape persistent anxiety. I was waking up every morning with my body vibrating from anxiety. This was now my daily existence and life became nearly unbearable and most certainly overwhelming. After several months of trying to pull it together, I realized I needed professional help. My therapist helped me to understand that it wasn't my fault and she helped me to start putting the pieces of my life back together. This doesn't end- we get stronger because we are resilient, but it doesn't mean we aren't triggered by sights, sounds, people, and places that haunt us for years and perhaps our entire lives. When thinking about what I and so many other victims have endured, I think of how our legal system is set up to protect rapists and perpetrators. I
found out the hard way that there is a government-mandated monetary cap in Ohio for victims of these crimes. For some, this cap wouldn!t make a dent in their annual income, let alone their livelihood. But victims can only make one claim that will help support their mental and physical wellness from the crime for their entire life. It simply doesn't add up. Prior to my assault, I never knew how common my experience was. I never knew that almost 50% of all women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, or that out of 1,000 sexual assaults, 975 perpetrators will walk free. Like the vast majority of people in my position, I had no choice but to turn to the civil justice system to hold my doctor accountable for his actions. With the help of my attorney, we decided to move forward with action against the doctor to help prevent this from happening to anyone else. We needed to find a way to stop this doctor from harming anyone again. We may not prevent other rapists and perpetrators from finding victims, but I have made it my mission to stop the one who hurt me. We stood in front of my attacker at the Ohio Medical Board hearing. It also turned out he didn't have the licensure he needed to practice, so I testified at his hearing. I hope justice is served in this case, for me and potential future victims of this doctor. But when looking at a larger impact, I wanted to do more to help victims of rape and sexual assault. This is when I found out that there is an artificial, government-mandated cap on the amount a rapist or perpetrator can be required to pay his victims, regardless of the amount of emotional trauma inflicted. Why does this cap exist in Ohio? How can we support people coming forward from these heinous crimes when there is not a significant enough penalty for perpetrators that have a higher income or larger bank account? This cap doesn't take into account the severity of the emotional trauma, the perpetrator's financial situation, the lifelong struggle the victim will endure, or even inflation. It!s an arbitrary number that is set to benefit only the abuser. This needs to change and most people wouldn't even know this cap existed unless they have the unfortunate situation that I have had, learning the hard way- the attacker is being protected from civil suits. When sexual assault and rape are often dismissed without enough evidence, how does the justice system service victims of this crime when it is set to protect the abuser? I stand with victims like Amanda Brandt to
help change this law to more closely reflect the need for the cap to be lifted by the Ohio Supreme Court.
- Shannon Goode
Empowered, Strong, Warrior for Women's Rights!