Exhibit shows faces of sexual abuse

Today in Albany Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, D-Maspeth, hosted a photo and informational exhibit entitled ‘Faces of the 1 in 5’ to generate support for the Child Victims’ Act legislation which she is sponsoring. The bill [A.2596/S.2564] is sponsored in the senate by Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan.

The exhibit centered around 17 photos of New York state childhood sexual abuse victims. Five survivors also recalled their traumatic experiences in hopes of urging the Legislature to support this law that would add five years to existing statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Under this bill, individuals would be able to seek criminal and civil penalties against their abusers until they are 28-years-old.

The most controversial aspect of the Child Victims’ Act is the one-year “window” of time during which adult survivors of these abuses can bring civil suit against the person who abused them, as well as anyone who protected or covered for the predator, even if their previous statute of limitations has already expired.

“The faces you see in this exhibit are those of real children who suffered abuse at the hands of pedophiles. These are human faces that inspire us to make this bill law,” Markey said, adding, “This exhibit, like the subject of the Child Victims’ Act, is about children. And it is also about numbers. The ‘1 in 5’ is the number of children in America that suffer childhood sexual abuse.”

Steven Jimenez, is just one of the 17 faces showcased at the event. Jimenez said he was abused by a Jesuit priest from the time he was 10 until age 14, but didn’t come to terms with his trauma until years after.

“For those of us who have waited years or even decades for a glimmer of justice, the Child Victims’ Act represents the first real hope that we will be heard instead of ignored. While a number of Catholic dioceses around the nation have led the way in reconciling with victims, some New York bishops are adamant that they will not deal with these egregious wrongs until they are compelled to do so by the state Legislature, Governor Paterson and the courts,” Jimenez said.