Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, is fighting for the passage of the Child Victims Act, a measure intended to help sexual abuse survivors have an easier time with seeking justice through legal means. She is calling on lawmakers in New York to pass the measure, the New York Daily News reported.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to include a provision to pass the bill — allowing survivors to bring civil cases until their 50th birthdays and felony criminal cases until their 28th birthdays — in his proposed state budget Tuesday afternoon. Currently, survivors can only present cases until their 23rd birthdays.
“I think that we know that things only work when they have resources behind it,” Burke, whose own experience with horrifying childhood sexual abuse has pushed her in this fight, said. “That would definitely be a sign that it’s an issue the governor is taking seriously and stands behind.”
The Child Victims Act successfully passed the Assembly several times in the last 12 years, but has been challenged in the GOP-controlled Senate. New York was selected as a state for promoting the bill because of its status as a trailblazer when it comes to social issues.
“I look at New York as a leader in many ways on a lot of issues, so it’s surprising that we’re not moving as quickly on this,” Burke, who started Me Too a decade ago, said.
Burke has met many survivors who expressed frustration with having no recourse “once they find the strength to confront the reality of their abuse.” If the legal timeframe that victims could bring up cases is expanded, this move would help to empower survivors, Burke explained.
“Ultimately, as a society we have to find demonstrative ways to protect our children and interrupt sexual violence in all forms,” Burke said.
The bill also includes a one-year window to revive old cases, a guideline that some religious groups have opposed. However, the criticism won’t stop Burke from her passionate fight.
Lawmakers’ battle over the bill could be the result of a money issue, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said to WGRZ. Cuomo’s inclusion of the measure in his budget proposal could act as an incentive for its passage in the Senate.