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mercoledì 22 marzo 2017
Hidden Predator Act
HB 1468 would create the Hidden Predator Act and would give survivors more time to file criminal cases against their abusers. Another bill,HB 1470, would get rid of time limitations for victims to file civil cases.
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — The state capitol building might be the most "public" place in Oklahoma. It's not the first place you'd expect someone to reveal something extremely private.
"I hadn't told a soul," said Oklahoma State Rep. Kevin McDugle, shedding light on trauma he endured as a teenager.
McDugle said he was invited to stay at a youth minister's house with a group of kids. Eventually, the other kids left, and he was left alone with the minister.
"He had me sleeping in his bed and turned on a movie that wasn't right and started touching me and wanting me to touch him, and what do you do at that age, you know?" he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this experience isn't all that uncommon. On average, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.
"I know how difficult it is to go public, and I have tremendous admiration for Rep. McDugle's undaunted courage," said Virginia Lewis, founder of ToPrevail.org.
Her sexual abuse survivor advocacy organization is spearheading HB 1468, which would create the Hidden Predator Act and would give survivors more time to file criminal cases against their abusers. Another bill, HB 1470, would get rid of time limitations for victims to file civil cases.
Studies show it can take victims years to come to terms with trauma from abuse.
"If you were held up at a convening store, you'd call the police immediately, but when someone you know and love sexually abuses you, it can take decades to process," Lewis said. "So these bills not only help survivors, but they also help children who are being victimized right now."
McDugle said time allows victims to realize that what happened wasn't their fault.
"For some reason, at the age of 40, people like to start telling their stories," he said. "They're confident in who they are. They realize it wasn't about them."