Feature

Austria: Where child abusers go free

Because the alleged abuse happened in the 1970s, the statute of limitations has run out, and no charges can be brought, said Ulrike Weiser at Die Presse.

Ulrike Weiser
Die Presse

Austria is a land where young girls can be systematically raped and their torturers will go free, said Ulrike Weiser. As unjust as that sounds, there is a compelling argument for it being that way. Last weekend, two women came forward alleging that they and others had been raped and abused at a government-run foster home when they were only 6 and 8 years old. Yet because the alleged abuse happened in the 1970s, the statute of limitations has run out, and no charges can be brought. Many Austrians are now saying we should waive that restriction, but most experts disagree.

As distasteful as it is to think that horrific crimes may go unpunished, “there are good reasons for setting limits.” Forty years after a rape, it is “extremely difficult to prove” that any abuse was committed, or that it was committed by the accused and not by someone else. And psychiatrists say that even for the abused women, a trial may not be helpful. Adults who relive their traumas on the witness stand are often doomed to see themselves as “eternal victims.” What happened to those poor girls, if true, is terrible. But a trial wouldn’t necessarily bring them justice.

Recommended

A surge in violence in Pakistan
The rubble of a Peshawar mosque damaged in a suicide bombing.
Feature

A surge in violence in Pakistan

The Adani Group scandal, explained
Gautam Adani.
Briefing

The Adani Group scandal, explained

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'
5 cows lined up at feeding trough.
carbon copy

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend
Photo of Kura Sushi, a Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain
save the sushi

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend

Most Popular

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained
Hogwarts Legacy logo photo
Briefing

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn)
Punitive politics?

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee

U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping
MQ-9 Reaper drone
Fine Print

U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping