For survivors of sexual assault, the impact and trauma of the attack is likely to stick with them for a lifetime. It may be disheartening to learn that many states have a limitation on the length of time prosecutors can charge a perpetrator with rape or sexual abuse, and some states have such extensive backlogs of rape kits, that it could take years to process a rape kit. In Texas, the statute of limitations on sexual abuse or rape of an adult is ten years, so if DNA from your rape kit matches with a rapist 11 years after your assault, you may never see justice. Fellow murderino, Chelsea Rickets, has decided take matters into her own hands to try to end the statute of limitations for rapeand sexual abuse in Texas, and she wants your help. We talked to Chelsea about why this issue is so important to her, and what you can do to help.
What inspired you to start your petition?
When I was raped, there was a massive feeling of guilt and shame that came along with it. I pretended for the longest time that it wasn’t real, that it never happened. I let my attacker get away with it. By the time I realized what I had done it was too late, the statute of limitations had run out. I know that many rape kits from the backlog are finally being tested and some survivors are learning the identities of their attackers, but because of the statute of limitations they can’t get justice. This is unacceptable. It seemed like no one was going to do anything about it, so I decided to try to make a difference myself.
What difference could ending the statute of limitations make for survivors of sexual assault?
You know it’s hard to say definitively. Everyone handles those emotions differently but I would hope that the overwhelming consensus would be relief. I know I personally would feel much better knowing my attacker was off the streets. People who commit this kind of crime rarely do it just once.
Who can sign this petition? What can people outside of Texas do to help end the statute of limitations in their state?
Anyone is encouraged to sign! There is strength in numbers! Some other states have already made the change, but for those that haven’t I would suggest starting your own petition and/or writing your state government.