For individuals who have survived sexual abuse, the scars can be lasting and profound. All survivors need the opportunity and control to heal in their own time, at their own pace, and on their own terms. An essential part of the healing process for some survivors is the ability to seek justice and prevent the potential for abuse against others by prosecuting those who commit these horrendous crimes.
The mission of The Foundation of Survivors of Abuse is to provide hope, encouragement and empowerment to survivors everywhere by leveraging advocacy and education to eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes of childhood sexual abuse.
Currently, the statutes of limitations for crimes of sexual abuse vary widely from state to state, often failing to protect millions of innocent individuals dealing with the devastating effects of these crimes. The cruel, insidious nature of this type of abuse, often committed against the most vulnerable by those in relationships of trust, makes it extraordinarily difficult for survivors to come forward. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, only 10% of children who suffered sexual abuse were violated by an unknown perpetrator.
The statistics are staggering:
- One in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- An estimated 80% of all sexual abuse goes unreported.
- Sexually violent acts against children and adolescents cost $116 billion/year.
By the time a victim is ready to report, more often than not their short window to prosecute has closed and cannot be reopened.
The negative effects these laws have on individuals are extensive and long-lasting. Psychological disorders, re-victimization, dissociation, substance abuse, and self-injury are all obstacles that survivors face. These obstacles are challenging enough, and are compounded by imposing an arbitrary time-frame for reporting the abuse. This limitation impacts a survivor’s personal growth and development, and by extension their contributions to society. By allowing a survivor to report the crime when ready, the survivor takes control in an otherwise powerless situation—permitting closure and pushing the healing process forward. Furthermore, the legal process ensures convicted abusers are identified and revealed in what is a horrific transgression that otherwise may be never be exposed. Ensuring the general public has access to this kind of information actively contributes to the prevention of abuse.
Prevention, Justice and Healing
We must work together to remove the time limit on justice and healing for survivors everywhere, and use our voices to protect the most innocent from further harm.