U of M and MSU sexual abuse survivors and advocates push for new legislation
LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) – “You know, it sets a national precedent,” said Allie Martinez, director of community engagement for the Underground Railroad.
Two high-profile cases of sexual abuse involving two varsity team doctors and hundreds of victims are forcing Michigan lawmakers to take a close look at how state laws deal with abuse cases.
Allie Martinez is the Director of Community Engagement at Underground Railroad, an organization that helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human slavery in Saginaw County.
“They cannot ignore the pleas of survivors, and this is essentially our moment of shame, but also our opportunity to shine a light, our commitment to make sure this does not happen again,” Martinez said.
The Empowering Survivors legislative package aims to retroactively allow survivors to sue for damages.
This includes the possibility of suing institutions like universities that would no longer have the protection of an immunity defense if they were aware of prior sexual misconduct and had not acted.
“Absolutely and it shouldn’t be for the victims and the survivors to do it, right, so I shouldn’t have to, you know if I was a victim.” I shouldn’t have to highlight mine victimization to make sure justice is done, ”she said.
The bills, if passed, would also give survivors more time to pursue lawsuits that might otherwise be prohibited by a limitations law. Cases of abuse by former University of Manitoba team doctor Robert Anderson date back to the 1960s.
“Imagine being in my early twenties or early thirties, forties and fifties and realizing that I finally feel like I’m in a place where I can come forward and then be told, sorry , it’s too late, ”Martinez said.
If you need help you can call the Underground Railroad at (989) 755-0411, (888) 399-8385, (989) 770-8892 – Text Phone
Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.