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The statute of limitations on first degree rape was repealed in our state almost 15 years ago, because of the tenacious advocacy, action, and passion of NOW-NYC members and activists. But our fight for justice under the law is not over.


The #MeToo movement is a catalyst for lasting change.

There’s no doubt that the #MeToo movement has helped to drive home how insidious — and routine — sexual assault is for women across the country. We must seize this opportunity to update our New York laws to remove the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault and align the legal definition of drug rape with reality so that survivors can get justice.

Eliminate the Statute of Limitations on Rape

Under current law there is a five-year time limit on prosecuting:

  • rape of someone who is unable to consent because they are mentally disabled;
  • rape of someone who is unable to consent because they are mentally incapacitated – for example, they were given drugs or too much alcohol without their consent;
  • sexual assault involving oral or anal sex without consent;
  • statutory rape of a minor – even if they are under the age of 15.

It’s time to remove the statute of limitations on 2nd and 3rd degree rape and sexual assault (criminal sexual act) in the 2nd and 3rd degree.

Strengthen Our Laws on Drug Rape

Our current law treats individuals who are drugged and raped – or those who may be targeted for rape or sexual assault because they were visibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol – differently than those who are forcibly raped or fully unconscious when attacked. This doesn’t make sense. Rape is rape, and it should be treated that way by our laws and the courts.

Let’s Make Change to Fix NY’s Rape Laws

You shouldn’t have to beat a clock to get justice. #MeToo has made it clear to the general public just how difficult it is for survivors to come forward and that it can take many years for someone to be willing or able to speak out and demand justice. The newly passed Child Victims Act rightfully recognizes this reality for victims of child sexual abuse, but why would we ignore the needs of women, teens, men or LGBTQ survivors of any age? We must change our laws so that all survivors of rape and sexual assault can get justice.

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Calls Needed

Call your state representative and tell them that we need to fix our rape laws NOW!

Here’s what you can say:

First, let them know your name and neighborhood. Then, you can say, “I’m calling because I think we need to remove the statute of limitations on all rape AND fix our laws on drug rape so that survivors of this crime can get justice. I hope you’ll commit to changing our laws to help survivors.”

Join us in the effort to make change this legislative session.

We’ll be educating lawmakers about the importance of improving our laws for survivors and making New York a leader in public safety and women’s rights. Once you’ve called your state representatives, sign up to join our Changing Laws Action Team and help us make history.

Next Action

Tell Mayor de Blasio to hold the NYPD accountable

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