Child Victims Act gives adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse a voice

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY – (WROC) – The Child Victims Act will extend the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases. On August 14th, the one year window will open. Survivors can file a case against their abusers no matter how old they are or how long ago the abuse happened.

“People are understanding how wrong this is,” said Melanie Blow, a survivor of child sexual abuse. “This is the kind of crime where it takes victims a long time to report it. It’s natural.”

Each year 90,000 cases are reported. But a large number of cases are unreported because child victims are afraid.

“There is a lot of confusion,” said Yameiry Calderon, a mental health counselor. “As a child to say something is to kind of cause a disruption to that family or to that system. Or that person may get in trouble.”

The Child Victims Act is giving adult survivors a chance to bring their abusers to justice.

“We’ve got a shot of telling our stories in an official capacity,” said Blow. “We got a chance, for some of us, we are going to see some kind of justice that has been wrongfully denied.”

And a chance to heal.

“It tears apart a thousand parts of your life in very subtle ways,” said Blow.

“Even if I don’t get into the details of what happened there is anxiety,” said Kelly Wolford, an attorney who handles sexual abuse cases. “They are revisiting the whole thing in their heads. The stories are unreal. Across the board people are saying it’s like it happened yesterday. I know I was 8 and I am 50 something years now. I can picture it like it was yesterday.”

The road to recovery is a tough one.

“It’s hard to share this because the feelings of shame is very strong,” said Calderon.

But Blow says knowing her story is finally taken seriously helps.

“It makes me feel that finally we are getting to a time when we are taking this crime seriously and where we are starting to believe victims in general,” said Blow.

The window for adult survivors to file a claim closes September 14, 2020.

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