A grand jury report has just revealed that more than 300 "predator priests" from six dioceses in Pennsylvania have sexually abused thousands of children over the past eight decades. But because of the statute of limiations law in Pennsylvania, charges have only been filed against two priests. The rest will get away with raping and sexually assaulting little boys and girls under the protection of church officials.
In Pennsylvania, victims over 18 have 12 years to report that they were sexually assaulted or raped. Victims under 18 who were born before August 27, 2002 have 12 years after their 18th birthday to report. And victims under 18 born after August 27, 2002 have 32 years after their 18th birthday to report.
Statutes of limitations on rape and sexual assaults are a predator's best friend and a victim's worst nightmare. An overwhelming amount of sexual violence -- an estimated 63% -- goes unreported and a pervasive rape culture is responsible.
As we work to reduce the impact of social silencing mechanisms, we must dually eliminate laws that bar many sexual assault survivors from seeking the justice they deserve. The election to the highest office in our country of Donald J. Trump - a known sexual predator - cast a great shadow over justice for survivors of sexual assault. It is incumbent upon us all, now more than ever, to take real action to show the most vulnerable people in our that we stand with them.
In September 2016, California became the 20th state to abolish the timeline for reporting rape and sexual assault. The bill - which does not change the burden of evidence required to press charges - passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously before being signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
You too can push back against the rape culture further enabled by the current White House administration and highlighted by the Cosby trial. Sign this petition to demand that the Pennsylvania State Legislature pass a law abolishing the state's statute of limitations for sexual assault and rape.
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