GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Pinwheels personify Child Abuse Prevention month, but April is also Sexual Assault Awareness month. Christie Somez is a sex abuse survivor and said last January 2020, “”The very first thing you say to a survivor who speaks out, the very first thing is, “I believe you.””
The abuse is usually by someone the child trusts and loves and there’s good reason why they’re called survivors. Jean Mcallister with the WINGS Foundation also said last January 2020, “There’s someone who’s still here, and still willing to try to recover regardless of what they went through when they were victimized.”
These interviews stem from survivor’s stories last year including Miss America 1958’s battle with sex abuse in a documentary, and the time it took to tell her story.
“I’m an incest survivor and since I was 53 years old, it took me some time, I feel no shame,” said Marilyn Van Derbur in her documentary.
But, the tenacious two years of work from one state representative and others has lead to a new bill giving sex assault survivors time to find their voice. State Representative Matt Soper says, “What we wanted to do is give victims the ability to tell their story in court. Make their case when they’re ready to share their story. their horrific story.”
One out of every three females and one out of every four males in the U.S. is a survivor of sexual abuse according to Latimer House. but, according to one state representative a bill that’s made a 30 year journey has now landed on the governor’s desk to abolish the civil statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault in Colorado. “It was a historic moment where we were able to get it to the desk of the governor, and we’re awaiting his signature. I’ve not heard when it’s going to be signed yet, but it should be signed any day now,” said Soper.
Currently, a minor has six years from the time they turn 18 to file a civil claim on sex abuse and an adult has a ten year statute of limitations, but not for long.
State Representative Soper says, “If we’re not fighting for victims and we’re not fighting to stop this horrible, horrible behavior of rape, molestation, sexual assault, then what are we actually doing as a society?”