Sex abuse survivors, elected officials call on state Assembly to approve Adult Survivors Act

The event was held as April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

News 12 Staff

Apr 14, 2022, 10:19 PM

Updated 821 days ago

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Community leaders and survivors of sex abuse spoke out in front of the Westchester County Court House in White Plains on Thursday to push for the Adult Survivors Act.
The event was held as April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Survivors and Safe Horizon, a local nonprofit for victims of abuse and violent crime, were joined by local and state leaders to call on the state Assembly to pass the Adult Survivors Act before the session ends in June.
"The state shouldn't be blocking them, the state should be opening the doors to them," said state Sen. Shelley Mayer.
The act would give adults who were sexually abused when they were 18 years of age or older, a one-year window to file a civil suit against their abuser.
"Survivors of sexual abuse, all survivors regardless of their age and regardless of when the assault happened, deserve the same pathways to healing and justice," said Michael Polenberg, vice president of government affairs of Safe Horizon.
The legislation essentially piggybacks off of the Child Victims Act from 2019. The CVA allowed survivors of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits.
"I hope that this bill allows adult survivors of sexual assault to access justice in a similar way," said survivor Jaron Benjamin.
Survivors who spoke out say that if this piece of legislature moves forward and is passed, it would be one step in the healing process.
"You have to have it. People have to be able to know that they have a voice that somebody believes them and says, 'You know what, I believe you,'" said survivor Donna Hylton.
Although, the legislation wouldn't directly apply to the two survivors who were present at Thursday's event, they said they spoke out so that other survivors can get the justice.
The state Senate has approved the legislation and will now go in front of the state Assembly, which failed to approve it last year.


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