Statutes of Limitations

I don’t usually talk about the news, politics, or social issues, but here is a rare case for which I must.

As most people know by now, Bill Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday, June 30th. The PA Supreme Court overturned his conviction on a legal technicality. The poor man’s rights had been violated. Apparently, there was some previous agreement in place during the civil case where his deposition couldn’t be used against him in a criminal trial. All in all, he served three years.

He is not allowed to be prosecuted for these crimes ever again. Not only that, the Statute of Limitations has run out for the victims in the State of Pennsylvania.

This comes at an interesting time for me personally. Basically, the statutes in most states are unfair and complete bullshit. Believe it or not, the average age for victims to report their abuses is fifty-two. The median age is somewhere in one’s mid-thirties. But most states don’t have an SOL long enough for anyone to even pursue a civil case, let alone a criminal one.   

I know this because I recently tried to pursue a civil case against two of my childhood sexual abusers. It’s taken me this long to get angry enough, brave enough to call a lawyer to see if I had any case at all. Well, I don’t. Even though a few bills have been passed to extend the SOL for civil cases, I’m SOL in another way (shit out of luck)! 

Right now, there is a two-year revival window that opened up the statute in California until December 2022, but it limits it for victims up to age forty only. A technical part of the statute does exist, allowing a timeframe within three years of when the victim becomes aware that the abuse had a lifetime effect. But that is seriously difficult to prove. It’s only been since I finished my book that I was able to recognize what happened to me, or even able to say the word, “rape.” So I’d say it’s iffy on that timeline.

But more than being depressed about the fight with my brother this last month is that twenty-two attorneys have refused my case mainly because of the California statute. If the crimes happened in Maine, Vermont, or Guam, I could proceed. 

This is despite the fact that I was a minor. I was twelve. It went on until I was fourteen. Both perpetrators were five years older than me. The second one groomed me (well, they both groomed me), and they conspired to pass me onto the guy that was a few months older. 

Throughout my life, I blamed myself entirely. So did they. They pressured. They physically forced themselves on me, then later made me believe I was consenting like I was an adult. There was an element of Scientology belief in the air, where there was no “age.” You were responsible for what happened to you. You “pulled in” your own fate. I thought I deserved what I got. I was a piece of shit, so that’s what I believed–for forty years.

But there’s nothing I can do as far as getting any “justice.” And I don’t want money. One of them doesn’t even have any. I’d just like to hear “guilty.” I’d just like to hear a genuine apology, though I never expected that. These are the kind of people, the kind of guys that do things unapologetically without remorse. They have records, never had relationships, been married, had kids, and certainly don’t think about me. They have not changed in all these years.

Do you think Bill Cosby is a changed person? Do you think he’d ever apologize to his victims? Do you think he feels he did anything wrong? These women don’t even get that much. I’m sure they feel similar to getting assaulted all over again. I sure feel for them right now.

One thought on “Statutes of Limitations

  1. lindacbugg July 6, 2021 / 3:48 pm

    The whole thing is compete BS & makes me think of another person we both know who tried so hard to deal with her abuse to only be told by her abuser on the occasion she had him come to her therapist so they could work on some closure together that the last time he’d assaulted & raped her (at age 25) she’d been asking for it. I’m so glad her abuser is dead but sad that so is she. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.

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