“Walk for a Window” across the Brooklyn Bridge represents a turning point for children’s civil rights

BY MARCI HAMILTON
SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The “Walk for a Window” next Sunday across the Brooklyn Bridge is in support of survivors of child sex abuse, but just as important, it is a turning point in the emerging global civil rights movement for children.

Not long ago, women and children belonged to their husbands and fathers. They were, in a word, legal property. In the 20th century, first women attained the status of persons with a right to vote and then children started to emerge from behind their skirts as persons.

When a woman or a child was property, what was done to them, even if against their will, was acceptable, or, more accurately, they simply had no voice for anyone to learn the unacceptable had happened. But that has changed.

The Walk for a Window is focused on obtaining justice for the adults who were sexually abused as children; it is a unity march of survivors, friends, families and advocates from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Walk for a Window is evidence of a civil rights movement for children that would have been hard to imagine a decade or two ago. Yet, here it is: as real as can be.

The urgency of the call for access to justice for victims is not going away. For those lawmakers who have been blocking these bills in committee in all three states, and who think they can duck the issue yet one more time, they need to understand another scandal inevitably lurks.

For the law-and-order, limited-government Republicans, this should be your cause. It will shift the steep cost from the victims and the taxpayers to the perpetrators and the institutions that created the conditions for abuse.

The Walk for a Window is a simple march for basic decency.

Marci Hamilton holds the Paul Verkuil Research Chair at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

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