Thu. Jul 29th, 2021

Advocates who back a bill meant to aid adult survivors of sexual assault and rape on Wednesday urged top lawmakers in the New York state Assembly to meet with them to discuss the proposal. 

The letter to top Democrats in the chamber comes days after lawmakers concluded the legislative session without the measure gaining a vote in the Assembly. 

“Our goal for this meeting is to share narratives and case examples that can help you better understand the complex dynamics of sexual violence and the need for impactful legislation such as the Adult Survivors Act to better serve survivors and the community,” the letter states. “We are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have about the bill, and to deepen your understanding of how difficult it can be for survivors to make a disclosure to a family member or friend, much less an attorney or member of law enforcement. We also want to share stories from survivors who did report their assault to the police but were failed by our criminal justice system.”

The proposal would create a look-back window for survivors to bring civil cases who were over the age of 18 at the time they were abused. Assembly Majority Leader Chrystal Peoples-Stokes, in a statement earlier this month, indicated the chamber needed more time to deliberate over the bill, which is based largely on the Child Victims Act. 

That measure took years of advocacy to be approved in the state Senate. The lack of a vote in the state Assembly for the measure covering adults was a perplexing end to the session for the organizations that had backed the bill.  

“For more than a decade, the GOP-led State Senate failed to move the Child Victims Act forward and our allies in the State Assembly rightly accused the Senate of protecting institutions that knowingly covered up countless cases of childhood sexual abuse,” the letter states. “What has changed? We are puzzled by the Assembly’s reluctance to build on its legacy of reforms and pass the Adult Survivors Act. We hope we can share information that will move this important legislative effort forward.”