Survivors of the alleged rapes by Bill Cosby will join the End Rape Statute of Limitations (ERSOL) campaign for a public rally at noon on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cosby’s star is located on Hollywood Blvd. and N. Orange Drive, one block west of Highland Avenue, across from the Chinese Theater.
Organizers are calling for state legislators and the governor to overturn the statute of limitations on rape/sexual assault cases in California. The current time limit is 10 years, which means rape victims who come forward later cannot file charges. Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) will sponsor legislation to abolish the statute of limitations in California this upcoming legislative session, and this rally is in support of her efforts.
“It is vital that we abolish the statute of limitations for rape/sexual assault because it often takes years for victims to report this crime due to fear of retaliation, stigma and victim blaming,” ERSOL representatives said in a statement. “This is a serious crime and victims should be able to report it whenever they feel comfortable doing so.”
Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia abolished their time limit on prosecuting rape.
“It is high time that the most progressive state in the union get on the right side of history with this issue,” the statement read.
Several women who were allegedly victimized by Cosby will be speaking at the event, as well as representatives from ERSOL, the National Organization for Women, Faculty Against Rape, the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles and the Stonewall Democratic Club.
“Survivors have to find the strength to shed the fear of retaliation from the perpetrator, and brave the inevitable blaming and the shaming from others,” said alleged Cosby survivor Lili Bernard. “Rape is such a heinous crime that it shouldn’t matter how much time has passed, if the victim has credible witnesses and evidence.”
Ivy Bottini, organizer and founder of ERSOL, said she decided to put ERSOL together because many women are now coming forward to report rapes and cannot get justice. “Justice must not have a time limit,” she said.
Caroline Heldman, campus anti-rape activist and part of the ERSOL campaign noted that there is no time limit on prosecuting crimes like embezzlement of public funds.
“Survivors of sexual violence rarely come forward to the police,” said Alexa Schwartz, NCJW/LA Program Assistant and 2014 USC graduate. “So when we make that brave step, it is unjust that the law stands in the way because too much time has passed for some of us.”
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