Wendy Davis wants to end statute of limitations on sexual assault and rape

"To turn around and make survivors pay the price for our failure ... is almost criminal in itself"

Published August 21, 2014 5:00PM (EDT)

Wendy Davis                   (AP/Eric Gay)
Wendy Davis (AP/Eric Gay)

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis proposed ending the state's statute of limitations on sexual assault at a press conference on Wednesday, during which she criticized opponent Greg Abbott for failing to advocate for rape victims. Davis presented the proposal as an expansion of her past legislative efforts on behalf of sexual assault survivors, following up on a recent statewide attack ad on Abbott accusing him of "siding with a corporation over a rape victim."

“While the bills I authored are helping to address the backlog of rape kits, the fact that we would throw survivors’ trauma and courage on a shelf for months or years without a second thought is offensive to them and to everything we say we stand for,” Davis told reporters Wednesday. “But then to turn around and make survivors pay the price for our failure and neglect by denying them justice is almost criminal in itself.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas law states that a person cannot be prosecuted for sexual assault if the alleged crime happened more than 10 years earlier. In her proposal announcement, Davis noted several cases in which perpetrators confessed to or identified past sexual assaults, but could not be tried because the statute of limitations had expired.

Davis, who has repeatedly been called "Abortion Barbie" for her unflagging defense of reproductive rights, is still lagging behind Abbott in the polls, but not by the massive margin many Texans might have anticipated. Talking Points Memo places Abbott at an 8 point lead over Davis. Maybe that will change by Election Day.

By Jenny Kutner

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