Texas House Bill 3809, from Representative Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) would double the the statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault survivors from 15 years after their 18th birthday to 30 years after their 18th birthday. The bill was unanimously approved by the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee. It is a major victory for childhood sexual assault survivors across Texas.

However, the charge to move the bill forward during the Texas legislature was not spearheaded by Goldman, but by Goldman and Becky Leach, wife of Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano). Leach publically testified to the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee in support of the bill, where she shared her story of being sexually assaulted as a child. Leach courageously shared her story of being sexually molested by a family member for 6 years, starting at age 12. The events were so traumatizing for her that she was unable to disclose the abuse until she was 35 and sought counseling.

Leach made it her goal to a be a voice for her fellow Texans who suffered through sexual abuse as children. From her own story, she personally knows that it can take years for a person to come to terms with the trauma they experienced as a child. Leach said in her testimony, “If you are a victim yourself, what you might not understand is that it’s not a denial of what happened, it’s the refusal to admit that someone in your family is doing something to harm you.” Even though Leach has said that she does not want to legally go after her abuser, she knows that this bill will change the way for other survivors who would like to legally go after their abuser(s). Combined with her husband’s and Goldman’s support, she also had the support of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault support as well as support from Texas Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin), who is leading the charge for the bill in the Texas Senate.

Expanding the length a time a person has to report their childhood sexual abuse is a bipartisan issue. Watson said “From the beginning, I’ve said that we have to do right by the survivors of child sex abuse for whom HB 3809 was filed.” HB3809 should be voted on by the Texas Senate shortly and sent to Governor Abbott’s desk as the end of the Texas legislative session is about to come to an end.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse in Texas, I am ecstatic to see my beloved state move in the right direction when it comes to childhood sexual abuse. There are thousands more like Leach and myself who may or may not have come to terms with their trauma. However, this bill gives all childhood survivors hope.

Kallie B
When Kallie is not working full time trying to raise money, she is often studying how people process political messages. Powered with 2 undergraduate degrees, 1 graduate degree and now working towards a Ph.D., she has dived into the world of political communication and psychophysiological research. She is a 5th generation Texan, and has been in politics since she was 8 years old.