Abuse Survivor Pushes for Extending Statute of Limitations
By Carlet Cleare
WHAM ABC 13
January 3, 2018
A Webster woman, who is an abuse survivor, is pushing for extended statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault victims.
Across the state, advocates of sexual assault victims are pushing the governor to expand the limitations for child victims. Currently, they only have until the age of 23 to bring criminal or civil charges against their abuser.
Rebecca Holley was 13-years-old when a family friend molested her.
“I was staying overnight with his daughter, and that was the first night he molested me,” said Holley.
The abuse lasted for a year, happening at different times while she babysat for his children.
“It happened over and over again,” Holley recounted. “For hours in his house or anyplace that we’d be as families.”
“I never really understood what was happening,” she added.
Once Holley did, she mustered the courage to confront her abuser.
“At that point, he prayed with me,” said Holley.
She recalled, at that moment, she felt guilt.
“Especially being in the church, I felt really guilty. I felt like I had done something terrible,” she said.
Holley then went to her parents, who chose not to tell police.
“I definitely wished they had,” she said. “I think I would have known that I was innocent.”
Holley said she cried every night and threw herself into her schoolwork to deal with the guilt and shame. Then, two years ago, she saw a man she said resembled her accuser.
“I remember riding to work and thinking, wow, this is heinous,” she said. “Like, for the very first time, I thought, this is really heinous. This is really bad, what happened to me. I think this was the first time I gave it that kind of importance.”
This motivated her to report the molestation to police in Auburn, where the individual lives.
“Cracked out the books and tried to find something, but, again, the statutes are over, and there is nothing we can do,” said Holley.
“it felt discouraging,” she said, “because I’m on a mission to do something good, but I can’t.”
That’s why Holley wants the statute of limitations to be extended. This, she believes, would help victims heal.
“I think children need to know that they can do this right now, if it happens, and later, that they can still come out and get healing – even after all the time has gone past,” she said.
The Child Victims Act has passed 12 times in the State Assembly over the years, but has continued to fail in the State Senate.