A special New York law, expiring after Thanksgiving, led to over 2,500 lawsuits against powerful men and institutions for sexual abuse.
The Impact of the Adult Survivors Act
The Adult Survivors Act in New York suspended the time limit to sue over alleged sexual assault, leading to more than 2,500 lawsuits. These suits targeted famous men, employers, and institutions accused of sexual misconduct and failure to prevent abuse.
Claims Against Institutions and Powerful Figures
Most lawsuits were filed against the state, New York City, and local counties, alleging abuse in prisons and jails. The act provided an opportunity for survivors, including Alexandria Johnson, to seek justice and be heard.
Expiration of the Law
After Thanksgiving, the window to sue over past abuse will close. Advocates argue that trauma takes time, and the law gave traumatized adults the chance to seek accountability from powerful individuals and institutions.
Expansion and Revisions of the Law
The Adult Survivors Act was modeled after the Child Victims Act and initially overlooked adults who suffered similar abuse. Governor Kathy Hochul signed a new law to open a one-year window for adult survivors on Nov. 24, 2022.
The expiration of the law also saw a series of high-profile lawsuits, including those against Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Russell Brand. These cases involved allegations of sexual abuse and assault.
Claims Against Institutions and Individuals
The lawsuits not only targeted well-known individuals but also highlighted widespread and systemic sexual assaults in prisons, jails, hospitals, medical facilities, and everyday locations.
Challenges Faced by Survivors
The legal battles have brought to light the challenges faced by survivors of sexual abuse, as well as the denials and dismissals they encounter from the accused and the institutions involved.