WTF are SOLs?
First, know that only 20–25% of survivors of sexual violence ever report their experience. Victim-blaming, ongoing systemic violence and pitifully low rates of prosecution and conviction enable a culture of silence and predation. The majority of victims of sexual violence are disproportionately marginalized at intersections of race, class and gender and face systemic oppression. Our criminal justice system was not created with these considerations, which becomes clear when looking at current laws.
Statutes of limitation are time limits for reporting crimes. The criminal justice system assigned totally arbitrary time limits for victims to report sexual violence - ranging from 3 to 30 years across the country. This added legal barrier creates an impossible silencing mechanism to surmount in order to speak their truth, so many victims never do. These laws leave serial predators unaccounted for in our communities and enable the rape culture we live in.
What we can do:
CASOL seeks to address the many ways our legal systems silence survivors and shield predators. By activating a national cross-disciplinary coalition of organizations and activists from anti-violence, women’s rights, criminal justice reform, and human rights, we will train and develop emerging leaders for criminal justice reform and provide resources to activate local, grassroots campaigns to end rape culture.
Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes, and survivors should have every opportunity to report whenever they feel comfortable breaking their silence.
Statutes of limitation are laws that must be changed on the local level. CASOL activists are trained and supported to drive strategic, creative, localized campaign efforts to change laws in their communities and connect with local efforts to end rape culture. To find an effort near you or launch one in your community - take action.
CASOL has activated a broad-based coalition of organizations in the anti-violence, criminal justice, human rights and anti-oppression space. Our partners support legislative action, national gatherings and story amplification. To participate in our coalition or learn more, visit CASOL Partners.
CASOL supports new and emerging feminist leaders in the anti-violence and criminal justice reform movement through webinars, regional trainings, and national convenings. CASOL is rooted in strategy nonviolence and offers resources on movement history, NVDA training, and creative campaign development.
Changing the story
CASOL affiliates work strategically and creatively to change the story around rape culture. State violence through legal silencing mechanisms has prolonged the impact of rape culture. Survivors must be centered in our conversations of safety and criminal justice reform to break the cycle of violence and create lasting change.