In April 2023, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) emerged from bankruptcy, resulting in a $2.46 billion sexual abuse settlement, the largest in U.S. history, affecting over 80,000 claims. The BSA has created a compensation calculator that allows survivors to estimate how much money they might expect to obtain, but the actual process for compensating many survivors is complex and will take time to administer.
Meanwhile, survivors wait.
Many survivors of sexual abuse – both within and outside the BSA – never tell anyone about the abuse they suffered. Many others don’t feel safe enough to disclose their abuse until years or even decades later. If and when a survivor does come forward and seek justice, they are often forced to navigate a confusing legal system with barriers like statutes of limitations. For those who are able to file a civil claim, justice is rarely swift.
Survivors deserve to be believed, to be heard when they are ready to speak, and to have access to holistic and culturally-relevant support services – no matter how long ago the abuse happened. Barriers to justice, including statutes of limitations, should be eliminated whenever and wherever possible. And institutions which harbor abusers, fail to respond to reported abuse, and seek to escape responsibility for their actions, should be held accountable.
But meanwhile, survivors still wait.
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, know that we believe you and support you in your efforts to access healing and justice, whatever that means to you. On the SurvivorSpace website, you will find encouragement from fellow survivors, resources to support your healing, ways to connect with and learn from others, and helpful information should you choose to explore your legal options.
On September 6, 2023, Netflix will premier a new documentary entitled Scouts Honor featuring survivors, whistleblowers, and experts discussing the BSA’s history of sexual abuse and the impact on survivors. When you watch this documentary (if you choose to), and while you wait for justice, know that you are not alone. A community of survivors, caring professionals, and competent attorneys are dedicated to supporting you.
Now and always, we stand with survivors.