The State House in Texas approved a new bill to extend the time for child sexual abuse victims to make reports and sue the perpetrators and institutions in a civil court. According to the bill, the timeframe for reporting a child sexual abuse crime will double.
CBS7 news indicates that initially, the law allowed victims to only report the crime 15 years after turning 18 years. However, the new bill will enable victims to file for civil lawsuits 30 years after becoming 18 years old.
The new law will also affect institutions that protect the perpetrators of child sexual abuse as well. But what is the benefit of extending the time frame for reporting a sexual abuse crime? Child sexual abuse is very different from that of an adult. The majority of the time, a child will not disclose the sexual abuse immediately after the event.
Their reluctance stems from several reasons. A sexual abuse survivor may self-blame themselves, thinking that it is their fault. They may assume there is something more they might have done to stop the perpetrator, such as fighting harder or screaming louder.
Some victims experience a deep sense of shame. Just the thought of revealing what happened in explicit details can be an act of reliving the experience. Their hesitance comes from the pain of remembering things they want to forget. They have to not only go through physical but also psychological and emotional trauma.
Sometimes fear may be their reason for holding out. According to Lacasa, the children may be afraid that the perpetrator may hurt them or their loved ones if they speak out the truth. They may also fear what people will say about them if they speak out against a respectable member of the community that people respect.
By extending the time for reporting sexual abuse, victims will get an excellent opportunity to cope with what happened to them as they grow and report whenever they feel comfortable. Perpetrators will no longer hide behind big institutions as the institutions can also be subject to investigations.