State Rep. Louise Bishop bared her soul in City Council on Thursday while testifying in support of a resolution introduced by Councilman Dennis O'Brien urging Harrisburg to push through legislation that would further protect victims of childhood sex abuse.
"Some years ago -- 40 years, perhaps -- I lived with my stepfather and 11 other sisters and brothers. I was young and didn't know what was happening to me and didn't really understand it, but every time my stepfather had the opportunity to caress me, feel me or bother me in a way I didn't understand, I didn't know what to do," she said, going on to describe years of abuse and the day she finally confronted her stepfather.
"I said to him when he came forward, 'You will never do that again.' He said, 'But I will tell them about the time I did and you said nothing.' I said, 'I was a child. I didn't know how to protect myself, but I know now and you will never touch me again.'"
Bishop said that legislation she introduced providing more safeguards against sexual predators has been languishing in the House Judiciary Committee. Her proposed bills would eliminate the statute of limitation on abuse crimes, require anyone with knowledge of abuse to report it to police rather than to a supervisor and provide for the creation of a state office to handle sex-abuse complaints.
"I ask the House of Representatives to move forward and move those bills out that would allow us to identify [offenders], allow us to arrest them and allow us to put in place treatment for these young people that will never, ever be the same no matter what happens," she said.