Mira Sorvino shares story as rape survivor, pleads for New York to repeal statute of limitations

Mira Sorvino shares story as rape survivor, pleads for New York to repeal statute of limitations
© Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Actress Mira Sorvino publicly shared her story as a rape survivor for the first time Wednesday to advocate for the repeal of New York's statute of limitations for second- and third-degree rape. 

Sorvino and Time's Up representatives joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in pushing for the stronger rape and sexual harassment laws in the state. 

Sorvino previously came forward with allegations of assault by Harvey Weinstein, but said this past year she has dealt with her personal trauma of surviving date rape and is ready to speak out. 

"I have never said that in public and I do not want to go into detail ... because it is impossible sometimes to share these sort of things," she said.

"And I am doing it here to try and help, because there are all these survivors out there right now who need justice, who need to feel that they can take the time they need to sort through the trauma, to sort through the shame, because I can tell you in situations of second-degree rape, which is what mine would constitute, you feel ashamed," Sorvino said.

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New York law allots a five-year statute of limitations for rape in the second and third degrees, which Cuomo said is not enough time to allow victims to come forward.

"Five years goes like that. And there are periods of time where a victim is not, for one reason or another, able to state a claim or willing to state a claim or has come to terms to state the claim," he said.

"There should be no statute of limitations for rape in the second and third degrees, as far as I'm concerned, but certainly five years is an abject dereliction of justice," he added. 

Third-degree rape, under New York law, is defined as having sex without a person's consent. Second-degree rape is defined as having sex with a person mentally disabled or incapacitated. 

Sorvino said survivors of such crimes often feel it was their own fault, blaming themselves for not thinking twice or protecting themselves better. 

"So you don't want to air your dirty laundry to other people, even if it was forced upon you, even if it was not your fault really and you've finally come to understand that.  You don't really want people to know that about you," she said. 

Sorvino pleaded to lawmakers, "please, please, please do your duty to reinstate justice here," noting most rapists will commit further rapes. 

The policy push comes days ahead of the end of the legislative session in Albany.

Cuomo said New York should lead as a progressive state in taking this step as it did passing "the toughest gun control laws" in the country, raising the minimum wage to $15 and passing marriage equality laws.

Cuomo and Time's up advocates also pushed legislators for stronger sexual harassment protection. 

A bill proposed by representatives in the Democratic majority in the state Senate and Assembly would overturn current limitations workers face in coming forward with allegations of harassment, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. 

"There comes a moment in time when society stands up and says enough is enough. And I believe we are at that moment. I believe we have exposed the truth to the point where people are now ready to act," Cuomo said.