Actresses Mira Sorvino, Julianne Moore and other leaders of the Time’s Up movement joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday for the signing of a bill that extends the statute of limitations for reporting certain kinds of sexual assaults.
The new law extends the statute of limitations from five years to 10 years for a claim of third-degree rape or third-degree criminal sexual act, and from five years to 20 years for second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act and second-degree incest, while eliminating the statute of limitations for reporting first-degree incest, Cuomo said in a release.
The law also extends the amount of time victims have to bring a civil suit for all of the offenses to 20 years.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Cuomo called five years “a terribly short period of time.”
“A victim of rape has undergone one of the worst traumas imaginable. It is a trauma that can last weeks, months, years, a lifetime of recovery,” he said, adding: "And to say to a person, ‘Well, if you have been so abused and wronged, you have to find a way to make it public, and bring the charge, and you better do it within five years,’ compounds the crime."
The legislation was part of Cuomo’s “Women’s Justice Agenda: The Time is Now” campaign, according to his office.
Time’s Up, an initiative launched by hundreds of women in the entertainment industry after allegations of abuse by powerful men in Hollywood began to mount in 2017, joined the campaign in June to get the bill passed.
The Assembly and the Senate passed the legislation on June 19 — a week after Sorvino and other Time’s Up leaders traveled to Albany to speak out in support of the legislation.
Cuomo on Wednesday thanked Sorvino for her testimony, during which she shared that she was “a survivor of date rape.”
“Mira came to Albany at the beginning of the legislative crusade, and her testimony was so powerful, so impactful, so personal, that it had an impact all throughout the state capital, and it had a really profound effect on legislators,” he said.
Sorvino called the passage of the legislation “the will of the people” in remarks that drew cheers and applause from fellow Time’s Up members in the room, including actresses Michelle Hurd, Amber Tamblyn, Kathy Najimy and Alysia Reiner.
“There is a hunger out there for justice and we are here to tell all of you who feel that hunger that we are getting closer to that day when predators will not abuse unabated in an atmosphere of impunity,” Sorvino said. “That survivors will be believed and supported.”
“I’m here today to tell you that our voices do matter,” she added. “Each time one of us stands up to rape culture we stand up for all of us, and as the numbers swell, so do our results.”