New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators (NYAHP) — a coalition of child sex abuse survivors and advocates—urged the Legislature to include the Child Victims Act in their one-house and final budget in a testimony submitted to the Public Protection Committee.
The Child Victims Act (S.809) would expand criminal and civil statutes of limitation in child sexual abuse cases, create a one-year window for previously unaddressed civil claims to be heard, eliminate the criminal statute of limitations and allow civil claims to be brought up to 50 years beyond the dates of the abuse.
Victims are making their stories heard after gaining support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Assembly. They are revealing their private stories in hopes to have Senate pass this bill to prevent further abuse.
Bridie Farrell is one of the many survivors. Farrell was a member of the USA National Speed Skating team and was an athlete for over 20 years. She was just 15-years-old when she was sexually assaulted by her 33-year-old trainer. Her story is similar to those on the USA Gymnastics team who came forward recently regarding their abuser, Larry Nassar.
Farrell said that it takes about an average of seven reports of sexual abuse for an adult to finally believe a child. It is the responsibility of the community and society to believe the children when they come forward. The police, universities and the Olympic Committee all looked into her case and nothing was done.
“The Olympic Committee is valuing metals over kids,” she said.
Jason Gough, former meteorologist for Channel 13, is also a survivor of child sexual abuse. His abuse went on for three years and ended before he started the sixth grade. It took until he was 34 years old for Gough to acknowledge that he had been abused.
“We don’t need sympathy, we need action and to be heard,” Gough said.
Following suit with the #Metoo movement, Farrell and Gough, along with many other victims, want #KidsToo to represent the children who have been assaulted, who have been forgotten and who are the most vulnerable.
Both Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-New York City, and State Senator Brad Hoylman, D-New York City, are in support of this act.
“It is our responsibility to get this bill passed this year,” Hoylman said.
Farrell questions why anyone would be opposed to a bill that protects child victims.
“You are either for the protection of kids, or the enabler of abuse,” said Asher Lovy, a victim of child sexual abuse.
Assemblywoman Rosenthal is a sponsor of the Child Victim Act and feels this cycle must end. The Senate’s refusal is leading to more children getting abused. Rosenthal said last year Senate failed, and feels this year is different because of the #MeToo movement.
“Little girls and boys grow up to be strong men and women. We also grow up to be registered voters,” Farrell said.
Farrell made her belief clear that if Senate doesn’t support this bill, survivors will react.