A bill that has the ability to alter the course of many lives has finally made it to the governor’s desk to be signed. It is Senate Bill 217, which eliminates the time limitations for sex abuse victims to prosecute their perpetrators. This means that if a minor was sexually abused and not able to prosecute at the time, with the supporting documents of a professional mental health expert, they can finally find justice. Few children and youth have the strength and support to confront an abuser, especially if it is a family member or an adult who threatens and frightens them. The pain of abuse is buried but never fully goes away. Statistics show that 40 percent of sex offenders and 76 percent of serial rapists were sexually abused. In addition, 31 percent of women in prison and 95 percent of teen prostitutes were abused.
Yet there is hope. When a victim can become a “victor” and speak out and declare the truth, it allows a tremendous healing to occur that restores identity, power and confidence.
I would like to ask the governor to please sign SB217 and for all those who support this new law to take action to make it become a reality. Let us all end a terrible cycle of abuse by empowering those who were most vulnerable and could not defend themselves at the time.