These Survivors Can Now Sue Their Abusers Past The Statute Of Limitations

black woman beckoning with finger
Zain Murdock
January 16, 2023

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.

Over 750 women are coming out to sue the state because of sexual abuse during their incarceration. Sadie Bell, Jacqueline Wiggins, and Kia Wheeler, all raped by prison guards, are among them.

 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.

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