Are We Asking The Right Questions?
It's not your fault if you are the victim of child sexual abuse by an adult. Really. It's not your fault for being a victim or a child. That is absurd!
And because of the severity of child sexual abuse and the natural lack of maturity of a child, isn't it absurd to think children can come forward right away after the physical and emotional trauma of sexual abuse? How could they?
Having a civil statute of limitation on child sexual abuse is equally absurd. Who does that statute protect? The victim or the institution? The child or the predator?
Don't we have laws that legally prevent children from doing things because of a lack of maturity due to age? Examples: Driver's license, age 16. Employment, age 14. Voting in an election, age 18. Purchasing alcohol, age 21. Purchasing cigarettes, age 21. Renting a car, age 25. Enlisting in the military, age 18. Purchasing a gun, age 18. Getting married, age 18. How then can anyone require children to come forward right away in order to meet an arbitrary statute of limitation after being sexually abused?
Isn't it time to protect our children instead of protecting predators and those institutions who enable them?
Well, the U.S. Department of Justice seems to think so. They created Project Safe Childhood as a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation in all forms, including child pornography which is also a crime scene of child sexual abuse. The U.S. DOJ has been very successful because they coordinate federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children seems to think so also. They have resources like a cybertipline which provides data-informed prevention awareness and a national hotline so that children are protected and predators are identified and denied access to children.
In North Carolina, the SAFE Child Act of 2019 was unanimously passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in an effort to modernize several sexual assault laws in North Carolina by getting rid of loopholes which protect predators at the peril of victims. One of the most important aspects of the SAFE Child Act is a 2 year lookback window which is in effect until December 31, 2021. That window provides an opportunity for anyone who is a victim of child sexual abuse to finally bring legal action, no matter how long ago it was. Your case doesn't have to be a cold case anymore. That means there is no statute of limitation preventing a victim from seeking justice as long as the matter is filed by December 31, 2021. This window is put in place for all of those victims who weren't ready to come forward yet. Now you can. This special legislation is a victory for children who were sexually abused in North Carolina because being a victim is not a crime. Victimizing a child is a crime, and thanks to the NC SAFE Child Act, a significant number of predators and institutions who had access to children have already been held accountable for crimes against children that happened many years ago. Remember, the deadline is December 31, 2021.
SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, agrees with the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the NC SAFE Child Act. SNAP advocates for victims of child sexual abuse by clergy of all denominations and the institutions who enabled them in every state in the U.S. and other countries around the world. SNAP offers many different support groups which help victims to understand that they are not alone. And SNAP reaches out to lawmakers to bring about change in laws so that children are better protected and predators are held accountable. In fact, a SNAP Leader now living in NC gave his testimony of being abused by a Catholic priest while the NC Legislature was considering the SAFE Child Act. Attorney General Josh Stein publicly recognized Charles Bailey as being instrumental in getting the SAFE Child Act made into law.
If you have been sexually abused as a child, please get help from the resources listed above because we know how to ask the right questions because we know that it's not your fault. Really.
Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg, NC