ALBANY — The woman credited with founding the #MeToo movement is now also backing the push in New York to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults.
Tarana Burke is expected to formally call for the Child Victim’s Act passage later this month at a public forum at SUNY Stony Brook focused on expanding the #MeToo movement on Long Island.
In an email, Burke confirmed her support for the Child Victims Act.
One of the sponsors of the forum is Protect NY Kids/Fighting for Children, a political action committee created by Gary Greenberg, an upstate investor and child sex abuse survivor.
Greenberg said the issues of sexual harassment and abuse of women and child sex abuse are linked.
“You’re talking abuse and talking about people coming forward and talking about abuse,” he said.
He called having Burke getting behind the Child Victims Act effort “huge.”
Burke in 2007 came up with the #MeToo campaign in order to reach out to sexual assault survivors. It became a national rallying cry a decade later after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke.
Burke is the latest national figure to weigh in supporting the bill. Sunny Hostin, co-host of “The View,” television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, and actor Corey Feldman, who says he was sexually abused as a child actor, also joined the chorus calling for the bill’s adoption.
The measure has passed the Assembly several times over the past dozen years, including in 2017, but died each time in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Advocates are hoping Gov. Cuomo, who supports the Assembly bill, includes the issue in his state budget proposal set to be released on Tuesday. Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi on Sunday wouldn’t say whether that will happen.
The bill would allow survivors to bring civil cases up until their 50th birthdays and felony criminal cases until their 28th birthdays. Currently, they have until their 23rd birthdays to bring such cases.
The bill also included a one-year window to revive old cases and treated public and private institutions the same. Currently, those abused in a public setting like a school have just 90 days from the incident occurring to formally file an intent to sue.
Religious groups like the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish community oppose the provision that would open a window to revive old cases.