Schererville, Indiana -- Sexual assault survivors and supporters have collected almost 1,700 petition signatures in less than three weeks to eliminate the statute of limitations (SOL) on sexual assault in Indiana. They have added the members of the State Senate and House to receive their petition, along with Governor Mike Pence.
The Governor's Director of Policy for Criminal Justice, Christina Trexler, received the petition of over 1,000 signatures collected in the first four days of their petition drive in a meeting March 13, 2014 with survivors' advocates Joy Evans Ryder, Jason Benner, Cheryl Lewis Colsten, Keith Morris and Anita Carpenter, CEO of the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault (INCASA).
"April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month," added Ryder. "We hope to double our supporters and petition signers by the end of April. The FBI ranks rape as the second-most violent crime. Sexual assault is a serious crime and it's time to take it seriously. If Indiana eliminated the SOL, many sex offenders would not be free to assault hundreds of victims over decades."
"About a dozen states have eliminated the statute of limitations for rape and so should Indiana. Survivors deserve a chance at a day in court. If the SOL is eliminated, prosecutors will still need evidence. Lack of evidence may prevent justice, but time restrictions should not," stated Ryder.
"It is estimated that for every assault that is reported to authorities, another goes unreported. By the time victims become strong, independent and safe enough to come forward -- the statute of limitations re-victimizes them," Ryder explained.
Joy Evans Ryder was a victim, as a young teenager, in Indiana. For the past several years, Joy has been counseling and helping other victims and working to give them a voice.