My name is Melanie,
23 years ago I was raped by my father. I was 13 years old.
Only 6 months later an uncle of mine started to visit regularly. He would molest me whenever he did.
After 3 years of being regularly abused by my uncle, he announced to the whole family; my mother, my aunt, my little sister and my older cousins, that he wanted to have intercourse with me, although those were not quite his words. My family never said a word to protect me.
I was able to leave home and go to college as soon as I left high school. I had to escape the nightmare that was my childhood. I had to get on with my life and stop being trapped in theirs. By the time I was 22 years old I was working and paying my own way. Most incest survivors aren't that lucky. I found myself an apartment where I could be safe. I found freedom from incest. I had escaped.
Only two years later I discovered that a little girl had told her school psychologist that my father had molested her. I continued to have contact with my parents. I learned where my father met children. I called the police in that county. I called the police in the county he molests them in. The kindest thing that any of them could tell me was, "There is nothing we can do."
Like most incest survivors, I never reported my own rape to the police. He was my father. Now that I wanted to protect other children from being raped I reported it, but there was nothing that I or anybody else could do. Statutes of limitations, laws that set an arbitrary limit of age 23 on when survivors can report sexual abuse, meant there was nothing I could do.
It was too late. There was nothing the police or anybody else could do.
There still isn't.
Hundreds of other child molesters and pedophiles are protected by the same statute of limitations laws that protect my father. Their child victims also silenced.
I'm aware of 4 other victims of my father, besides myself. I am sure there are many, many more I don't know about. Only 1 victim has disclosed before her 23rd birthday, and that case never went to trial. Many cases don't go to trial. Child sex abuse can be very hard to prove and time favors the perpetrator, not the victim who has to prove them guilty.
Survivors like me are united by a desire to stop others suffering like we have, but we can't. Just as we are getting our lives sorted out, just as we are coming to terms with what happened to us and understanding it was not our fault, we discover that in the state where we live there is nothing anyone can do to limit our abuser's access to children.
As survivors of rape we are taught to acknowledge our abuse and the role it has played in our lives as a part of our healing process, but how can we when the laws of the state protect our abusers from prosecution and liability?
New York's statutes of limitations on child sex abuse are protecting pedophiles and not children. They require children to be responsible for protecting themselves and society from its most vile elements.
Statutes of limitations for child sex abuse keep law enforcement and other adults from protecting children. They keep pedophiles out of prison and they ensure more abused children.
That's why I'm asking you to sign this petition for the Child Victims Act, because I care even though I was taught not to. I know you do too. Working together we can stop abuse.
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