Victims of sexual assault urge end to statute of limitations inspirational quotes for graduation day

“due to the statute of limitations, my abuser would never face charges,” she said. “this was the most devastating day of my life. It had taken me eight years to come up with the courage not only to share my story but to finally force my abuser to be held responsible. To this day I am crushed that I ruined my chances at legal action by not arriving at this emotional state sooner.”

The school and the state office of the superintendent of public instruction conducted an investigation, she said. It found the teacher had abused other children as well.

Her mother had just escaped a violent marriage before marrying griffey’s stepfather. He was a convicted child molester but convinced dinah’s mother he was wrongly accused.

He gave griffey alcohol, she woke up to touching and later found holes drilled in the ceiling above the shower, she said.

When she contacted police, they told her the statute of limitations would not allow her to prosecute.Last year she missed the deadline by days. Laws are supposed to protect children in cases like these, but they all failed her, she said. Her stepfather is no longer alive, but his effect on her life continues.

In 2015, griffey’s husband, rep. Dan griffey, R-allyn, sponsored legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes, including rape and child molestation. After four years, the bill got farther than it ever had, passing the house with a 90-8 vote, and making it to a hearing before the senate law and justice committee.

The chairman of the senate law and justice committee, sen. Jamie pedersen, D-seattle, previously said he would not hear the bill in his committee if it passed the house.

“human beings deserve to go on with their lives,” he said. “we have statutes of limitation in every area of the law with the exception of murder. I think that special status is appropriate in cases of murder.”

eliminate statute limitations

“that quote punched me in the gut,” she said. “as a survivor I never get to move on with my life. I’m dealing with this forever. To make a comment about a rapist moving on is so incredibly missing the point.”

The bill passed the house to eliminate the statute of limitations for sex crimes altogether, but the senate would only consider a significantly changed version, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for felony sex offenses for victims 12 and younger at the time of the crime.

“it was a compromise I didn’t want to make, but if we’re going to start this righteous policy going forward, this is the class of people who should be protected first,” rep. Griffey said.

At least 14 states have no statute of limitations for children younger than 15 to 16 years old, according to the national center for victims of crime. The study also states that eight states do not have any statute of limitations for prosecuting felony sexual assault.Last year

David ward, an attorney with legal voice, a women’s and LGBTQ rights law center in seattle, said the most common thought he’s heard from survivors is that the language of the law needs to be centered around them, not the perpetrators. Otherwise, it can lead to a culture in which a victim’s testimony is questioned.

The current statute of limitations for sex crimes dates back to the 1970s, and washington state representatives have been fighting to change it for years. Former rep. John ahern, R-spokane, introduced a bill to extend the statute of limitations for child victims in 2007. He tried again in 2011 to no avail.

In 2013, former rep. Jeff holy, R-spokane, sponsored a bill that passed in 2013. It says victims of sex crimes as children have 10 years after the crime or until their 30th birthday to report and prosecute.

Sexual assault kits, also called rape kits, consist of evidence collected during a medical exam.Eliminate statute the kits have to be processed through a DNA database of past perpetrators. If that doesn’t happen, there is no chance for a victim to prosecute with evidence of a sexual assault.

The oldest case on record at the washington state patrol crime laboratory in seattle goes back to 1992. A law passed in 2015 required law enforcement to submit a request for laboratory analysis within 30 days of receiving a rape kit. This applies to new kits but didn’t mandate any action on the backlog.

The 2015 law also created a 20-member sexual assault forensics examiners task force meant to study the best practices for supporting survivors. The taskforce is led by rep. Tina orwall, D-des moines, along with rep. Gina mccabe, R-goldendale. The revelation of 10,000 backlogged kits resulted from the task force’s recommendation and progress report to lawmakers in 2017.

Also last year, the U.S. Department of justice awarded the washington state attorney general $3 million to process rape kits, investigate and prosecute cases.Eliminate statute limitations

A bill sponsored by rep. Orwall, HB 2353, would have required those backlogged kits from before 2015 to be submitted for lab testing, but the bill died without a vote this session.

Rep. Griffey offered an amendment to the house-proposed operating budget to provide $2.5 million to test the backlog of more than 10,000 untested kits, and rep. McCabe added an amendment to extend the sexual assault task force for another year.

Sen. Ann rivers, R-vancouver, chairwoman of the senate healthcare committee, said she is working with sen. Christine rolfes, D-bainbridge island, the majority lead budget writer, and sen. John braun, R-centralia, the minority budget writer, to urge them to accept the house’s requests for funding in those areas.

But other aspects of the state budget were filled with contention this session, and rep. Griffey and rep. Michelle caldier, R-port orchard, scolded lawmakers for not doing enough to support survivors.Last year A bill by rep. Caldier that would ensure rape victims get timely notice of the availability of rape kit exams at hospitals died on march 2.

As of 2016, 74 hospitals throughout washington employed sexual assault nurse examiners but they are not equally distributed across the state, according to a state report. Eight rural counties do not have a nurse examiner on staff, the report adds. The report also finds only one training program in the state, the one at harborview medical center in seattle.

Rep. McCabe’s bill passed this session. It requires the office of crime victims advocacy to determine best practices for training sexual assault nurse examiners and making those nurses available throughout the state.

Prosecutors would not take high school teacher leah griffin’s case. She said that happened despite evidence of injury and a toxicology report showing she had been drugged, but she could not prove her abuser knew he raped her.Eliminate statute limitations she said the requirement that a lack of consent was clearly expressed by words or actions puts the burden of proof on the victim.

Having trained victim advocates and first responders who understand the neurobiology of trauma is critical to prevent re-victimization, andrea piper-wentland, executive director of the washington coalition of sexual assault programs, said in a work session last year.

When the brain reacts to a stressful response, it sends signals to the body to fight, flee, or freeze, according to research. “tonic immobility” is a response to a stressful or dangerous situation in which a victim cannot move, the research states; this happens in nearly half of all rapes. On average, 90 percent of victims experience re-victimization in their interactions with law enforcement when they report the crime, research shows.

“when people do decide to report and speak up, if it’s not a positive experience, it won’t happen again,” tasha smith, executive director of the pierce county sexual assault center said.Last year “that’s a challenge for us. We can do a lot better with understanding and seeing things through a trauma lens.”

Sexual assault is vastly underreported. Only about 36 percent of crimes are reported and of those, 12 percent result in arrest and six out of 1,000 result in charges, piper-wentland said at a work group last year. Difficulties getting to a hospital with a qualified nurse, the invasive nature of the examination itself, and a distrust in the system can deter a victim from continuing, rep. McCabe said.