Support South Dakota's bill to remove the block on claims by child sexual abuse survivors

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Native American children who were forced to attend boarding schools by the federal government hundreds of miles away from their families and communities were often horribly abused sexually during their time at the schools from five years old through high school graduation. The fear from the abusers, the shame of the abuse, and the power of the church who ran the schools stopped the survivors from discussing the abuse with their families who were devout practitioners. Some of the memories are so painful they were buried for years and only revealed as their medical doctors found evidence of scars of sexual torture. The current laws prevent them from pursuing the system of abusers in court. The statute of limitations is three years from the abuse or three years from the time you discover the abuse but no one aged 40 years or older can recover damages from anyone other than the person who did the actual sexual acts. This language stops all boarding school survivors of abuse from pursuing their claims. A statute of limitations is like a legal stopwatch when the time to file a lawsuit runs out. The proposed bill will eliminate the statute of limitations so that survivors of childhood sexual abuse could bring suit at any time and it allows suits against the schools. Abusers should not be protected just because of the passage of time. Molestation and rape of children is not something we, as a society, should tolerate. Moreover, the abuse has caused a cycle of devastation in the Native communities. Sexual abuse survivors are more likely to commit suicide, become alcohol or drug dependent, to be at risk for HIV, and have children at risk for sexual abuse. Generations have experienced incalculable trauma due to the boarding schools and the abuse suffered as children. We really need the people of South Dakota to call their state representatives in support of the bill to get it passed. The state legislators are reviewing the bill the weeks of January 29-February 12, 2018. Thank you for helping the start of healing and reconciliation.



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Michelle Dauphinais Echols needs your help with “South Dakota Legislators: Please protect our children! Support South Dakota's bill to remove the block on claims by child sexual abuse survivors”. Join Michelle and 2,415 supporters today.