Thursday, February 17, 2011

So, I saw an article on Scott Brown

I started thinking about how wonderful it was that he was finally able to come forward about the sexual assault he suffered as a child.  I always think it's great when people in the public eye come forward, it's often a necessary reminder that I'm not alone in what I've gone through, and I find it comforting as I'm sure plenty of other survivors feel.

My second thought was that this abuser is still out there possibly abusing other children, with years of practice.  It's so sad that now that Senator Brown is at a place where he can talk about his abuse he no longer has the option of reporting what he survived as a crime and having charges pressed against his abuser.

I was lucky that I was able to tell my story while I still had the option of pressing charges.  I'm grateful for that every day because reporting my abuser felt like a load had been taken off my back.  I no longer felt like I was responsible if he hurt another person in the way he hurt me.  That relief was such a good feeling to have.

Even though it felt like I waited forever to tell anybody what happened to me, it was almost twenty years after the abuse occurred, I have since learned that it's not infrequent for it to take survivors of child sexual assault even longer to come forward.  It shouldn't be too late for those survivors to seek justice.  The people who have abused them may have abused other children who have also been pressured into silence, and if it takes so long and so much strength to come forward why would we want to risk the safety of future children by having a statute of limitations on reporting sexual assault.  Sexual assault is so humiliating and so difficult and time consuming to recover from, why do we further hurt survivors by not allowing them the opportunity for justice?

I believe that the statute of limitations on sexual assaults should be either extended or the limitations should be completely thrown out.  Particularly with such a sensitive crime as sexual assault.  The justice system is not just to seek justice for the crimes against one person, but it's also there to protect the public from a criminal re-offending, and with such stringent statutes of limitations we're not protecting the public.

Everyone should have an opportunity to seek justice.  I'm so very grateful for mine.

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