DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — A bill that Iowa lawmakers hope will help victims of childhood sexual abuse seek justice as adults is awaiting the governor’s signature.
The Iowa House on Friday passed a provision that would lift the statute of limitations for child sex abuse. Right now, victims only have until the age of 33 to press charges.
Advocates say for many victims it can take years to find the courage and support to come forward with their stories. That was the case for State Rep. Cherielynn Westrich who shared her own experience for the first time publicly before the vote.
“As a small child, I was sexually abused by a babysitter. It was something that I felt a lot of shame for. I was very confused. I was afraid to speak out. I told my parents, but I wasn’t believed at that time. They’ve since come back and apologized. My mother has cried many nights that she didn’t believe me,” said Westrich.
The House passed the measure 84-2. It now goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk.