The idea of a child facing abuse from an adult is harrowing to think about in any capacity. When the child is sexually abused by a trusted adult, the situation becomes even more gut–wrenching. Unfortunately, numerous children are subjected to such abuse across the country, and in New Mexico, the ordeal may become even more distressing still as children are required to testify against their abusers in court.
No remote testimony
In the majority of states, children or incapacitated adults who have survived sexual abuse have the ability to testify remotely in court cases against their abusers. This allows the victims some distance from their abuser and allows them to explain what happened without having to face the person who committed the heinous acts. New Mexico is one of only two states that does not allow remote testimony for children.
One mother’s hope
One mother whose children were sexually abused by their father hopes that this will change. Her two children were victimized when they were just 2 and 4 years old, and though their father was charged and the case went to court, the trial did not occur for two and a half years. During that time, the mother stated that her children became so distressed by the idea of having to testify in court in front of their father that one of the children had to be put on anxiety medication. Now, the mother is working with legislative representatives in hopes of passing a bill that will prevent children from having to testify in court.
Too often, the court system does not protect the most vulnerable of victims. However, with the right legal help, survivors of sexual abuse may feel empowered to tell their story and hold their abusers accountable. It can be a difficult road, but with support and guidance, these cases may see justice served.