Texas Legislature

Advocates for Sexual Assault Victims Share Disappointment, Message for Survivors

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Heidi Thomas is one of Bill Cosby’s accusers. She says she’s stunned.

“I am furious with all of the enablers over five decades of enablers, and today the way I feel, the supreme court of Pennsylvania is an enabler,” she said.

While many, like Thomas, process the news, State Representative Victoria Neave has this message:

“The fight is not over,” said Neave. “We are making progress and we’re going to continue to advocate.”

She recognizes this could very likely be a difficult and discouraging day for victims of sexual assault, but she’s encouraged by progress made in the Texas Legislature. Measures that she worked to get passed, like the Lavinia Masters Act, which reduced backlogs on rape kits and lead to more DNA testing of evidence in sexual assault cases.

“We have to continue our efforts with respect to sexual assault and will not be discouraged by what happening in other states,” said Neave.

Attorney Gloria Allred represented some of Bill Cosby's accusers. She, too, worries about the message Wednesday’s decision sends.

“This must be devastating to many of the accusers and my heart goes out especially to those who bravely testified in both of the criminal cases,” said Allred.

Ultimately Neave says she won’t stop advocating and encouraging victims to seek support.

“Have faith. Do not lose hope,” she said. “We know that change is coming. It’s been coming over the last few years thanks to the voices of millions of women all across the state and the country who have raised their voices during the #MeToo movement.”

Neave is also behind TX House Bill 21 which passed just this month in the state legislature. The measure extends the statute of limitations for people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace from six months to nearly a year to report an incident.

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