On November 24, 2022, a window opened for survivors of sexual assault in New York. The Adult Survivors Act finally went into effect, allowing adults to file a lawsuit even if the statute of limitations had long passed.
And for Black women, who experience disproportionate rates of sexual violence, this is major.
And more Black survivors are expected to come forward about abuse. For many, it was their employers, acquaintances, or doctors. Others say they’ve experienced assault by wealthy public figures like Bill Cosby and Russell Simmons.
There is no expiration date on trauma, but there is when it comes to filing a lawsuit.
This law provides survivors only one year to file for only civil lawsuits and will likely lead to placing victims in front of biased juries and judges.
The overall culture of sexual violence hasn’t gone away because the criminal legal system continues to perpetuate it.
What survivors of sexual trauma deserve is what the criminal legal system cannot provide: freeing all incarcerated survivors from prison, creating community-based, survivor-centered processes to address assault, and fighting to strike rape culture from our futures.