U.S. Capitol to Fly a Flag Honoring Survivors of Sexual Violence
The U.S. Capitol will ring in the new year by flying a flag in honor of survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We are grateful for this display of support and are hopeful that legislators will follow it up by taking up legislation in 2020 that will protect children and prevent future cases of abuse.
On January 1, the U.S. Capitol will fly a flag “in honor of survivors and victims of childhood sex abuse” thanks to a request made by Senator John Cornyn III. This show of solidarity and support for survivors of sexual violence is a powerful gesture by Senator Cornyn and we are grateful to him and his office for this show of support. We hope that that legislators around the country will follow in Senator Cornyn’s footsteps and take steps to promote the protection of children and support of survivors by taking up needed reforms during this upcoming year.
At a national level, legislators can follow up this display with action by holding hearings on cases of institutional sexual abuse, using their power as national leaders to demand answers from institutional leaders about cases of sexual abuse and cover-ups that have taken place in churches, universities, and youth groups nationwide. Such hearings can draw the public’s attention to these cases, channel public outrage in action and force institutions to do better.
At a state level, legislators can help by introducing “window to justice” legislation that would allow claims that have been barred by statute of limitations to be heard in civil court. This legislation was passed in New Jersey, New York, and California in the past year and has led to a deluge of abusers being publicly identified and can help ensure that the institutions that enabled those abusers can be held responsible. When this information is made public, communities are better informed and parents are better able to protect their children.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)