Get Off The Fence
How do you get a few hundred politicians off the fence?
By Melanie Blow
That sounds like a joke. But to the thousands of children in New York who are vulnerable to sexual abuse, there’s nothing funny here. To the thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse whose abusers are above the law, “funny” doesn’t even enter into the equation.
The Child Victims Act (A1771/S3809) is the single greatest legislative tool for fixing this problem. This bill will allow victims the time they need to heal, gain independence from their abuser and still bring their case to trial.
Right now, they only have until their 23rd birthday to do this.
A recent study revealed it takes abuse survivors an average of 21.38 years after their abuse starts before they can talk about it with anyone. That means for every child who discloses during childhood, there is an adult who is too traumatized to talk about it until middle-age.
In states with Statutes of Limitation on these crimes, every adult who becomes too old to seek justice equals a sex offender breathing a sigh of relief.
And abusing another child.
Is it any wonder that only between 3-10% of those who sexually abuse a child see a day behind bars? Is it any wonder that 20% of children can expect to experience sexual abuse before reaching adulthood?
So why are hundreds of New York politicians on the fence when it comes to this bill?
Because there are special interests out there with limitless money who don’t want to see this bill passed. And they will stop at nothing to keep our elected officials from passing it. Some of our elected officials have shown steadfast commitment to children in the ten years that different incarnations of this bill have existed. Some have tried to defeat it at every turn. And most seem to hope it’s going to disappear.
The good news is that no one has ever gotten elected on a platform of “we need more child rape”. Most people want to see this bill pass. But they don’t know where their elected official stands on this.
That’s why I’ve been working tirelessly with everyone else at the Stop Abuse Campaign to launch this new website.
It provides information about child sexual abuse, about the Child Victims Act, and it lets voters know exactly where their elected officials stand on this particular issue.
But most of them aren’t standing, they are sitting on the fence.
If we work together we can persuade, or push, a lot of elected officials onto the side of children. Knowledge is power. Right now, anyone who cares about children can become a more powerful voter, a citizen who shapes NY’s future. And if you don’t live in NY, there will still be plenty of ways you can help us as well.
2014 is the year to get the Child Victims Act passed but I can’t do this on my own.
Will you help? The future of New York’s children is at stake.