Gender-based violence continues to be a growing global crisis. Our team focuses on awareness, advocacy and activism.


Welcome to the blog for Ending Violence Against Women. This is the place to learn more about this important topic and actions we can all take in the continuing battle to:

  • educate our members and other U.S. citizens on the massive  issues related to gender-based violence,
  • activate individuals to become involved in the fight to eliminate such violence and 
  • advocate for the legislation and other necessary efforts to combat a crisis which, particularly since Covid, is becoming worse on all fronts. 

Initiatives:
Violence Against Women

 

Team Leader: Marnie Delaney
Contact: [email protected]


Fighting For and Fighting Back...

- The Battle to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence

This election proved that women, especially young women, have found their voices and  said “no” to a massive attempt to assert control over their rights, their bodies and their futures.

There is no question - these attempts will continue and the need to fight for our rights and fight back against patriarchal attitudes and assaults will be as massive as ever.

Like reproductive rights, the ERA and legislation addressing the broken care economy, sexual assault, intimate partner violence and the entire sordid spectrum of violence against women demand our attention.

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was included in the Senate’s Omnibus Spending bill passed earlier this year.  To achieve passage, however, its supporters had to eliminate the section which addressed the “boyfriend loophole” which allows access to guns to ex-boyfriends or stalkers who have been convicted of (or had a restraining order related to) domestic violence.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed subsequently, did narrow the loophole somewhat, but it still exists.  About 31 states have some sort of relevant legislation but this could change at any moment.

In the House, 137 Republicans voted against reauthorization of VAWA because it included gun regulation and offered protections for same sex couples and transgender individuals.  With a majority in the House, the Republican agenda will only become more aggressive.  

Dozens of other positive pieces of legislation languished without attention this year and, without doubt, there will be continued attempts to relax regulations in the coming years.

Hate crimes have risen dramatically in the U.S and intimate partner violence has as well.  Rarely is violence against women treated as a hate crime though it should be.  With 3 women a day murdered by an intimate partner, it is well past time to raise this particular pandemic to crisis status.  Gender-based violence is unquestionably a life or death issue.

Incidentally, passage of the Equal Rights Amendment would make all of our fights easier.  We should never let our attention on the need to ground our rights in the Constitution flag.  

Please consider joining the Democrats Abroad  Violence Against Women team and the fight against gender-based violence.  We need leadership for everything from tracking legislation or building coalitions, to writing social media or helping organize events. We also need people who may not have lots of time but would be willing to help how and when they are able. There are many particularly vulnerable populations and we also hope to find team members who will advocate on their behalf.  You can write to Marnie Delaney [email protected] for more information or to volunteer as part of our small but mighty team.  

This is what we can do in a year without an election.  We can fight for rights and we can fight against attempts to oppress, demean or marginalize women.  Please consider joining us.


MS. on the Issues #64

 

With Guests:

Jackson Katz is a scholar and activist working on issues of gender, race and violence. He is co-founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), as well as the author of two acclaimed books and creator of the award-winning Tough Guise educational documentary series.

In this Episode, we consider the American landscape as children go back to school.  As mass shootings devastate communities across the country, parents are packing bulletproof protection in their children’s backpacks and sending them to school with lessons on how to survive a mass shooting. Jackson Katz joins Dr. Michele Goodwin to discuss the complicated issues at the heart of this crisis including questions related to masculinity, why mass shootings are overwhelmingly committed by men, and the implications in light of the rise in white supremacy in the United States.

Click here for details, to listen to the podcast, or read the transcript.


It's Women's Equality Day

It’s Women’s Equality Day

Let’s Talk About Men

By: Marnie Delaney

When people talk about “women’s issues” I feel a slight tightening of my jaw; somehow the phrase seems to imply women are at the core of certain problems. From where I sit, in most cases, women aren’t the problem, the core of the problem is with men.  I’ve found that most men get that.  However, too few of us actually do anything to change it.

Despite the love and trust I have experienced with men throughout my life, I’ve also experienced the other side of the coin:  men who menace, rape or manipulate, those who use their positions of power to coerce or control, those who demean or diminish, those who consider women to be “less than”.  I must say this is one of the reasons I don’t think our objective should be equality with men.  It should perhaps be the other way around.  We get all the rights and freedoms we deserve as humans and we all turn our attention to eliminating the violent tendencies of too many men.

While some of my (and others’) experiences happen in private, many happen in the light of day, in full view of other men and women.  Donald Trump proved that what should be thoroughly unacceptable is sadly a matter of common practice, not worthy of censure or punishment – “Locker room talk” is now code for proud sexual predator.  

The violence happening behind closed doors is, however, even more difficult to stop.  Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in the U.S was welcome news but still has holes and it is still far more difficult to address intimate partner violence.

It is often said that domestic violence is a gateway to murder, to femicide.  In fact, two women every day in the U.S. are murdered by their intimate partner, most often with a gun (the American way).  In North America the numbers increased by 8% between 2019 and 2020.  Perhaps we should also call “locker room talk” a gateway to rape and domestic violence.

Globally, 47,000 women were killed in 2020 by an intimate partner or other family member. 

The numbers suggest we all know someone (or many ones) who are guilty of “minor” or major examples of violence against women.  We may or may not suspect.  We may or may not intervene when “bad behavior” occurs.   But, it occurs and there is a cost, to the victims of that behavior and to the community at large – physical, mental, emotional, financial and in the quality of future experience.  

The absence of an ERA, the disproportionately low numbers of women in elective office as well as in the top tiers of business are just some of the reasons for the perpetuation of patriarchal behavior.  

Victims of sexual assault or domestic violence represent 35% of women globally.  No one is immune.  In our recent webinar with Dr. Valerie Hudson, we heard about the impact of violence on women to the safety and peace in the countries in which they live. She demonstrated how the overall status and security of women relates clearly (check her statistics) with individual state security and peace between countries.  Yet there is no specific and binding international instrument (treaty, law, agreement…) on violence against women.

In 2019, a coalition of 1,700 women from 128 countries, after 7 years of research and discussion, published a call for a new global treaty to end violence against women.

This link is to a summary of their first draft proposal.

I ask you to read this treaty document and consider its worth and the urgency of its challenge - then consider sharing it with the men in your life to get their point of view.  I welcome any input. Then consider joining the Violence Against Women team as we work to change a desperate situation.  

The language of the treaty makes sense and, watching a senseless war and the rise of domestic terrorism (abetted by equally senseless Republicans), we must find a way to sanity, safety and an end to bullying of the highest magnitude.

The first thing we all MUST do is vote - we must snag two more Senate seats and we must hold the House (of course, preferably by a large margin).  So, go register everyone you know and push them to vote, early and carefully.  We can't afford to mess up one ballot.

Please consider joining the Violence Against Women team.  We are looking at the many, complicated issues of violence and could use your help as we initiate plans to address them.

Come join us - all pronouns are welcome!

[email protected]


Help Remove Guns

The Violence Against Women Action Team hopes you can help remove guns from the hands of potential murderers, including the two abusers every day in the United States who murder their intimate partners and the countless others who every day use guns to intimidate, coerce, control and terrorize them. These women need your help.

Please plan to JOIN US on Saturday September 10 for a zoom event with the Global Black, Hispanic and AAPI Caucuses where we will discuss and take action concerning 

Violence, Race & Gender: Taking Action & Voting for Our Lives.

Please make a note on your calendar today (September 10, 10 - 11:30 AM ET)

EVERY DAY on average - in the U.S.

  • There are more than 110 gun deaths by intent (CDC), 210 people are shot and survive (TeamEnough) typically with life-long physical and/or emotional burdens
  • Nearly 6 children or teens are killed by gun violence (CDC)  22 are shot (Brady) and 8 are shot by an an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home “family fire” (Brady)
  • More than 2 women are killed with guns by an intimate partner (in general women in America are 28x more likely to be killed by gun violence than in any other high-income country. (Everytown)
  •  65 Americans die from gun suicide (Brady)
  • More than 10 Hispanic Americans die by gun violence (Brady)
  • More than 27 Black Americans die by gun violence (black Americans experience 8x the gun violence than do white Americans) (Brady)

Tell your legislators to do their jobs by doing what the President and the American people are demanding

by passing the budget and the essential legislation necessary  to reduce gun crime - including legislation to:

  • require background checks for all gun sales, 
  • ensure that no terrorist can buy a weapon in the United States, 
  • ban the sale and possession of unserialized firearms — ghost guns, 
  • ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and 
  • repeal gun manufacturers’ protection from liability.

The U.S. gun homicide rate is 26x higher than any other high income country (Everytown)

Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens (Everytown)

This is not the way to regain our leadership in the world

This is not the way to keep American citizens and their children safe

This has never been acceptable, is now thoroughly intolerable and will determine the way the majority of Americans vote in November

 

THINGS HAVE BEEN GETTING WORSE
(though it hardly seems possible after so many 
thoughts and prayers)

Gun sales have surged during the coronavirus pandemic. Based on the number of background checks, Everytown estimates that people purchased 22 million guns in 2020, a 64 percent increase over 2019.

Unintentional shooting deaths by children increased by nearly one-third comparing incidents in March to December of 2020 to the same months in 2019.  (Everytown)

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, particularly against AAPI women. (Everytown)

Even if the virus disappears, 
the guns will not.

The American People Don’t Want Citizens with Guns to perpetuate terror and violence throughout the country. 

They want to see the end of absurd laws and lax enforcement of good ones allowing Domestic Violence to persevere as a gateway to Femicide.

Who Could Possibly want to allow the conditions that cause this many women, men and children to die?

Here’s a Clue …..

There are 8 million new small arms and up to 15 billion rounds of ammunition produced each year.

The small arms trade is worth an estimated US $8.5 billion per year.    (Amnesty International)

It is well past time to acknowledge the obvious reality

The Second Amendment Does Not Guarantee the Right To Own a Gun 

(From Gun Control, P 99-102, 1992, Charles P Cozic, ed. -- See NCJ-160164) Abstract

NCJ Number 160176

Author(s) W E Burger (Chief Justice Warren Burger)

Date Published 1992

Former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Warren Burger argues that the sale, purchase, and use of guns should be regulated just as automobiles and boats are regulated; such regulations would not violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Abstract

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees a "right of the people to keep and bear arms." However, the meaning of this clause cannot be understood apart from the purpose, the setting, and the objectives of the draftsmen. At the time of the Bill of Rights, people were apprehensive about the new national government presented to them, and this helps explain the language and purpose of the Second Amendment. It guarantees, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The need for a State militia was the predicate of the "right" guarantee, so as to protect the security of the State. Today, of course, the State militia serves a different purpose. A huge national defense establishment has assumed the role of the militia of 200 years ago. Americans have a right to defend their homes, and nothing should undermine this right; nor does anyone question that the Constitution protects the right of hunters to own and keep sporting guns for hunting anymore than anyone would challenge the right to own and keep fishing rods and other equipment for fishing. Neither does anyone question the right of citizens to keep and own an automobile. Yet there is no strong interest by the citizenry in questioning the power of the State to regulate the purchase or the transfer of such a vehicle and the right to license the vehicle and the driver with reasonable standards. It is even more desirable for the State to have reasonable regulations for the ownership and use of a firearm in an effort to stop mindless homicidal carnage.

From the U.S. DOJ Office of Justice Programs

Read more about it:

Among gun owners there are large partisan gaps in opinion about restricting and expanding gun rights | Pew Research Center

https://publichealth.jhu.edu/sites/default/files/2022-05/2020-gun-deaths-in-the-us-4-28-2022-b.pdf

https://everytownresearch.org/maps/mass-shootings-in-america/

https://giffords.org/lawcenter/gun-laws/second-amendment/the-supreme-court-the-second-amendment/


Violence Against Women Task Force Women Safe Abroad Project Update

The initial purpose of this project was to identify ways to support  U.S. Victims of gender-based violence overseas who currently have no easily accessible, full-range safety net to meet their needs. 

It turns out the problem is far more massive than we imagined.  We did, however, find what should be a simple first fix - getting Pathways to Safety International, the only organization created specifically to meet this need, back up and running after they lost funding during the previous administration. That is, back up and running at even greater capacity than they were before. Expansion will be necessary because of our commitment to building awareness of their services and the reasons they exist.   

We are happy to report that we’ve just helped PTSI edit/submit the first of several anticipated grant proposals.

However, the innumerable holes in legislation, consular policy, funding allocations within agencies, training, communications and more, will require a lot of additional attention. We are working on highlighting those deficiencies in a comprehensive report on the international GBV landscape.

We are in the penultimate stage in preparation of this support and could use help - writing, editing, fact-checking, designing and assembling the final document.  If you are interested in becoming part of our small but mighty team, please email Marnie Delaney [email protected].  

We plan to turn our attention next to Advocacy planning and execution.

We welcome help from those of you interested in developing public relations and lobbying efforts, writing GOTV messages highlighting the need for attention to this issue and identifying specific opportunities for action we want to see from legislators and the administration.

This isn’t, in the end, a project that will only benefit the American victims of crimes. If we are successful, we think there can be implications for the situation for potential victims in countries around the world.  While we are addressing the international crisis of gender terrorism, we believe, as established by the work of Dr. Valerie Hudson and others, that any abatement of that crisis benefits the peace and security of all people and of nations.  

Please join the DA GWC Women Safe Abroad Project and help address the problems of gender-based violence in the US and around the globe.

Contact: Marnie Delaney [email protected]


The Violence Against Women Act (2022 Reauthorization) What it does and a couple of things it doesn’t

The Violence Against Women Act (2022 Reauthorization)

What it does and a couple of things it doesn’t

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed in in 1994, sponsored by then-Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden, who has called it the proudest accomplishment of his career.

At the time, domestic violence,  one of the key crimes VAWA addressed, frequently flourished and persisted without mitigation, in part due to the state-specific nature of pertinent laws.  Impact at the time was that perpetrators of domestic violence could just flee their state to avoid prosecution, if their crimes were (atypically) about to be addressed.

Compounding the lack of protections for women in domestic violence situations was an oftentimes laissez faire attitude of law enforcement.  This typically derived from a combination of the common attitude that such crimes were “family business” along with lack of response from police as an avoidance of the risks to themselves involved in interventions.  The pleas of, and risks to, the victims were, as a result, unanswered (sometimes in clearly stated policy) and many women suffered and many women died.  The impact on their children was also extremely damaging and in too many cases created a breeding ground for the perpetuation of violent behavior.

Read more

Ban Child Marriage

Urgent legislative change is needed in the U.S. to ban child marriage

If you were to mention that child marriage occurs in the U.S., the likely reaction might be disbelief and a vehement retort that this cannot be happening in the U.S.. Unfortunately, this is far from true: a 2021 report by Unchained At Last, a survivor-led not for profit organization, states that nearly 300,000 children, some as young as 10, were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018. Appallingly, only 6 states (Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island) have laws on the books that prohibit marriage of persons under 18, with no exceptions. The results of a survey conducted in the U.S. in 2020 reflected a misconception that most child marriages occur at a very young age (below 15) and in Muslim-majority regions of the Middle East and North Africa. This misconception could reflect wider stereotypes about Islam and the position of women within Muslim culture.  Most participants in the survey also incorrectly believed that child marriage is illegal throughout the U.S. The results of the survey suggest that public understanding in the U.S. of child marriage is poor, but more importantly, shaped by wider misperceptions of both high and low-income nations. State legislators should understand that child marriage is a human rights violation that legitimizes abuse and denies girls’ autonomy.  It is devastating wherever it takes place, whether in Niger, Afghanistan, California or Florida.  

Data from UNICEF (which does not, however, include data from the U.S.) does show that the practice of child marriage has continued to decline around the world.  During the past decade, the proportion of young women who were married as children decreased by 15 per cent, from 1 in 4 (25%) to approximately 1 in 5 (21%). Still, approximately 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. While the global reduction in child marriage is good news, no region is on track to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target of eliminating child marriage (meaning before the age of 18) by 2030.  Clearly, it is also past time to end child marriage right here in the U.S.  The U.S. must urgently take action to align with international standards and better and more rapidly strive to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.   

UNICEF issued a technical note in 2020 for its global programme to end child marriage.  The technical note explains, in particular, the reasons why it is important to have 18 years as the minimum legal age of consent to marriage, including to (i) safeguard boys and girls from being married when they are not physically, mentally, psychologically or emotionally ready to reach their fullest potential, (ii) avoid multiple harms particularly for girls who are denied their rights to health, education and development, (iii) avoid increased risk of complications, due to physical immaturity, during pregnancy and childbirth that can also lead to maternal mortality, and (iv) avoid intergenerational harm, because a young mother whose own development is stifled will be less able to ensure the full development of her children.

As noted above, the situation in the U.S. is dismal, as only 6 states have laws on the books that prohibit marriage of persons under 18, with no exceptions.   Thus, legislative action at the state level in the remaining 44 states is urgently required to move towards prohibition of marriage of persons under 18 with no exceptions.  A number of bills are pending, and all efforts should be made to move these forward.   For a more detailed discussion of the laws in effect at the state level, see the report issued by the Tahirih Justice Center in 2020. 

There is also a role for federal leadership in ending child marriage.  Current federal law allows and might even be said to encourage child marriage. For example, immigration law does not specify a minimum age to petition for a foreign spouse or fiancé(e) or to be the beneficiary of a spousal or fiancé(e) visa, which allows for American girls to be trafficked for their citizenship and allows for children around the world to be trafficked to the U.S. under the guise of marriage. The 2021 report from Unchained at Last states that nearly 9,000 petitions involving a minor were approved in the U.S. between 2007 and 2017, and in 95% of them, the younger party was a girl. 

 Another example where federal law should be changed is the so-called statutory rape provision in the federal criminal code (18 U.S.C. § 2243(c)(2)), which although it prohibits sex with a child age 12 to 15, specifically exempts those who first marry the child. This, of course, implicitly incentivizes child marriage and endorses child rape. Thus, this child marital exception for statutory rape should urgently be repealed; it would be a step towards aligning U.S. laws with international standards and discouraging child marriage and rape in the U.S.  

Unfortunately, at the present time, there appears to be no movement at the federal level on these issues. There is one bill which was introduced in the House of Representatives a year ago on March 8, 2021 that requires the Department of Health and Human Services to study and report on state laws regarding the minimum marriage age and the prevalence of marriage involving a child who is under the minimum marriage age.  The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.  In any event, even if this bill were approved, this does not portend any momentous action that might accelerate legislative change to prohibit child marriage.

In conclusion, there appears to be a general lack of visibility on the issue of child marriage in the U.S., and up until quite recently a lack of reliable data.  As a result, the necessary legislative action at the state level is too slow to progress.  Organizations such as Unchained at Last and Tahirih Justice Initiative play an important role on both fronts by working to increase visibility and gathering data.  All of us should be aware of,  and communicate our urgent concern in the broadest possible manner in our communities as well as to our elected representatives about the violence against women inflicted by child marriage.


Pathways to Safety International: When leaving is the only option

One night in 1998, Paula Lucas made a desperate promise: God, if you help me get out of here, I will help other women in the position I’m in right now. Lucas, an American citizen living with her Lebanese husband in Abu Dhabi, UAE, had tried before to escape the escalating threat in her abusive marriage. She was frightened not just for herself – “I was close to death at one point” – but for the safety of her three young sons. But that night, through what Lucas calls the intervention of “angels” – a pickpocket who stole her husband’s passport while he was on a European business trip, delaying his return – she was able to locate the boys’ hidden passports, cash a check and flee.

The return to family in Oregon, however, was nothing like the respite she’d hoped for. With her husband in pursuit, threatening to kill her and claim custody of their sons, Lucas and the boys lived for a time in women’s shelters. Yet her promise held. “I was talking to everyone I met in the shelters,” she remembers. “Like this is ridiculous, this shouldn’t be happening to women.” Some kindly reminded her that probably what she needed was to find a job. But Lucas knew even then that this would be her job: Helping Americans living and travelling abroad break free and find justice from gender-based violence. “I was obsessed,” she says.

Setting up the agency that would become Pathways to Safety, while still on the run, required focus, plus a few more angels along the way. Lucas met the founder of Voices Set Free, a non-profit helping women in prison for killing their abusive spouses; she met social workers, lawyers and activists. Eventually these efforts paid off in grants to fulfill Pathways’ mission to provide tools and resources for women in situations like the one Lucas had to navigate on her own, in a country not her own. 

Getting help in a foreign country brings extra challenges from language to legal differences – in the UAE, for example, rape victims can be punishable under the law – to cultural stigma to limited access to bank accounts.   

What about support from one’s own embassy? “Homeland Americans don’t get it,” says Lucas. ‘Why don’t you just go to the U.S. Embassy?’ they ask. ‘They’ll help you.’ That’s the Hollywood version.” The version Lucas heard when she went multiple times to the embassy in Abu Dhabi, was, ‘If we report this, Paula, we’ll create an international incident.’ I was naïve in thinking, I’m American; my kids are American. We’re protected.”

The creation of an agency with the necessary global reach took ongoing funding, both private and governmental. Between 2010 and 2013, Pathways to Safety was funded as an initiative through President Obama, followed by a five-year grant through the Department of Justice’s Office of Victims of Crime to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. But five days before it was up for renewal in 2017, Lucas got a letter from Jeff Sessions, the new Attorney General. There would be no more money. “They were concerned about our ‘progress,’ says Lucas. “At that point we were in the middle of helping between 400-500 victims around the world.” 

Pathways continued to cut overhead, but in May 2019, “We had to shut everything down.” (Information, referrals and the most essential service of all -- emotional support -- are still available.)  What hasn’t shut down, however, is Lucas’ resolve to resurrect the agency in some form, possibly making greater use of virtual services. The issues and the urgent attention they require haven’t gone away, especially in the time of COVID, which Lucas says “has only emboldened abusers.” She’s not going away any time soon either. 

The GWC’s Ending Violence Against Women action team will host Paula Lucas and Keri Potts of Pathways to Safety on November 23, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Event to be posted soon.

To learn more about Pathways to Safety, go to: https://pathwaystosafety.org 

Why stay? There are always reasons

If one has never been abused, it’s nearly impossible to understand why anyone would stick around, accepting the unacceptable. It’s complicated, is the only answer. 

Love, the thing that makes the world go ‘round, can be paralyzing. Survivors remember the promising beginning, when the partner was kinder, gentler. Most victims don’t want the relationship to end. They want the abuse to end.

Terror works. Abusers are good at instilling a sense of foreboding, that what might happen next will be even worse than the terrible present. Things only escalate when a survivor attempts to leave.

Money, if one has no access to it, does not make the world go ‘round. Abusers may tightly control household income, destroy a survivor’s credit history and forbid working outside the home.

Isolation – a disconnected phone, no contact with friends and neighbors – ensures that no one outside knows what’s going on inside. 

Not him! If the abuser is a high-ranker in the community – religious leader, politician, doctor – it will be harder to convince others that this person is capable of domestic violence. Abusers can be charmers, “great people.”

Shame flips blame to the victim, eroding a sense of self and identity, distorting cause and effect.  It’s the end product of ongoing abuse.


No Time Like Now for New Gillibrand/Moore Bill

For survivors of childhood sexual abuse, the No Time Limit for Justice Act has been a long time coming. Introduced last month by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), and co-sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the bill aims to incentivize states to eliminate their statutes of limitations for criminal prosecution and civil suits filed by victims.  

These statutes have long been a major obstacle for victims seeking justice. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), a child in the U.S. is sexually abused every nine minutes – that’s about one in nine girls and one in 53 boys under 18. Yet only 12 percent of these crimes are reported to authorities each year, with the majority – 60-80 percent – reported only later in life. And while the federal criminal code doesn’t impose a statute of limitations for child abuse, the majority of states do – North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming are the sole exceptions – depriving survivors of the right to seek justice. For instance, Massachusetts sets an age limit of 53 for presenting a case and disallows anything longer than seven years between a public admission and going to court. Perpetrators are protected. Children continue to be endangered.

“Several statutes of limitations on the state level end in as little as three years after the crime is committed, an unreasonably small window for victims to hold their perpetrator accountable,” said Rep. Moore. “By motivating states to end these burdensome legal barriers, we’re allowing victims to [exercise] their basic right to seek justice and to help them heal from enduring trauma.” ([email protected])

The motivation to lift those statutes will come in the form of a five percent increase in federal grants under the Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP) Program, which trains both law enforcement and prosecutors handling sexual abuse cases. States will be eligible for this funding if they eliminate their statutes of limitations. But the bill promises so much more than monetary benefits. For survivors previously stymied by the system, the bill, “empowers child abuse victims to seek their day in court on their own terms, whenever they should choose to move forward on their paths toward healing,” Sen. Gillibrand said. ([email protected])

Click the links to send Senator Gillibrand and Representative Moore your words of support!