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Michelle Hurd, Julianne Moore, Mira Sorvino celebrate strengthening NY rape laws

2019-09-18

A-list actresses took the stage with Gov. Cuomo to celebrate the signing of legislation extending the window for survivors of second- and third-degree rape to seek justice.

“This was really a team effort and a group effort,” the governor said Wednesday alongside Michelle Hurd, Julianne Moore and Mira Sorvino. “Time’s Up did a fantastic, fantastic job,” he added, referencing the movement that launched following explosive accusations of rape against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2017.

The new law gives survivors of second-degree rape 20 years to bring charges and those who suffered third-degree rape 10 years, up from the previous limit of just five years.

“It can be incredibly difficult for survivors to come forward when they’re assaulted,” said “Law & Order" actress Hurd. “No longer will New York state have an unjust expiration date on justice for survivors of rape.”

Sorvino took a wide view of the moment.

“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,” she said.

In June, the Oscar-winning “Mighty Aphrodite” actress gave powerful testimony to state lawmakers about being date raped.

“There are all these survivors out there right now who need justice, who need to feel that they can take the time they need to sort through the trauma, to sort through the shame," said Sorvino, who previously accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and abuse.

The bill signed Wednesday also extends the statute of limitations for a second-degree criminal sex act and for second-degree incest to 20 years, up from five years.

“We’re very happy that the Time’s Up safety agenda is being signed into a bill today,” Moore said in brief remarks.

State Sen Alessandra Biaggi, who has publicly discussed her own experience of surviving sexual abuse, applauded the new law.

“By extending the statute of limitations for certain offenses of rape, sexual criminal acts, and incest, New York state is adopting procedures that allow survivors of sexual violence to report on their own terms,” she said in a statement.

The bill was the lastest #MeToo-inspired legislation to become law in the state.

Last month, Cuomo signed measures that had been championed by the Sexual Harassment Working Group consisting of former Albany staffers who said they had been abused.

The legislation included a measure broadening the criteria for making a harassment complaint; language aimed at ending restrictive non-disclosure agreements; and an expansion of the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment complaint, from one to three years.

Cuomo took the opportunity Wednesday to wax philosophical about patriarchy.

“We don’t have basic equality for women,” Cuomo said. “It is still a male-dominated society and these policies and these rules and these laws were written through that prism, and it’s pervasive."