Cheh Honors Victims of Sexual Assault with New Legislation, Resolution

Recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D – Ward 3) has introduced the “Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) Recognition Resolution of 2013” to mark April as SAAM in the District of Columbia. This comes ahead of today’s Legislative Meeting, where she plans to introduce the “Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Elimination Act of 2013,” a bill that will eliminate the statute of limitations for reporting and prosecuting violent sex crimes in the District.

“All victims of sexual assault should be able to confidently report them when they are physically, mentally, and emotionally able to do so,” said Councilmember Cheh. “Reporting restrictions on these heinous acts must be removed so that the victims and their families can heal as they are able to and not on any artificial timeline. This bill would bring the District in line with Maryland and Virginia by removing the statute of limitations for reporting and prosecuting sex crimes.”

Both the new bill and resolution have garnered the support of several community-based support and advocacy organizations.

“Reporting a crime of sexual violence takes bravery and may not be a viable option for some survivors right after the crime is committed,” said Holly Kearl, founder of Stop Street Harassment. “Stop Street Harassment applauds Councilmember Cheh for introducing the Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Elimination Act of 2013. By removing the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual violence crimes, more survivors will be able to come forward to report crimes when they feel safe enough to do so.”

Chai Shenoy, Executive Director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces, echoed Kearl’s remarks.

“Collective Action for Safe Spaces recognizes that there are many reasons why people choose to not report sexual assault and abuse right away,” said Shenoy. “CASS also realizes that it takes courage for sexual assault survivors to come forward and report sexual assault to law enforcement authorities. By eliminating the statute of limitations to sex abuse cases, D.C. will help ensure that survivors have greater access to justice when they feel they are ready to come forward.”

The Council’s April Legislative meeting began at 10 a.m. in the Council Chambers of the John A. Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The meeting is broadcasted live on channel 13 and streaming online at www.dccouncil.us.

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