By Barb Ickes
The way Natalie Long sees it, the rape of a child is like a murder.
“Sexual abuse takes the soul of a child,” the Rock Island woman said. “It takes away your innocence and how you view the world. It challenges every foundation you have — everything you believed in and trusted.”
Because of the lasting and life-changing trauma of being sexually abused as a child, Long regards many states’ time limits for prosecuting offenders a secondary form of abuse. She wants to change that and has begun her appeal against such statutes of limitations in Iowa and Illinois.
Long and Rock Island lawyer Arthur Winstein have launched a new foundation with a goal of changing many states’ statutes of limitations for sexual abuse against minors, dubbed S.A.A.M. (saamfoundation.org).
“Our argument is that there is not enough time to come to terms with, cope and face your abuser within these time frames,” Long said, citing Iowa’s 10-year limit as an example of a too-short statute. “We had a 72-year-old woman come to us who’d been keeping it to herself for 60 years.”
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