There is a push at the state capitol that would go a long way toward secure the rights of sexual abuse victims.
The Hidden Predator Act has passed Georgia’s House of Representatives, and the Senate is expected to vote on it Tuesday.
Among other things it will give victims who’s statute of limitations have passed a “grace period” to come forward and file civil lawsuits against their alleged predators.
One local man is coming forward to speak out and speak up for those victims.
Strength now that comes from pain in Josh Flowers’ past.
“I had to go to the restroom” Flowers remembers. “One of the teacher aides took me there and I was a kid. Didn’t know what was going on. But they performed oral sex on me.”
Josh says that happened when he was just five years old.
“I tried not to think about it,” Flowers says he remembered. “If I was in town and I saw him, immediately I went the other way.”
The “other way” got Josh through most of his teen years. But didn’t keep him away from alcohol and drugs, and more trouble. This time at 18, with a man he trusted.
“I was working for him. We were kind of buddy buddy, and then things took a turn,” Flowers says. “Things happened that were not Ok.”
That incident took Flowers down the wrong path.
More substance abuse, marital troubles, and one fateful night two years ago.
“Halloween night of 2013. I was drinking because I do have an alcohol addiction and I decided to end it all. So I put a bullet in my head.”
“I hit such a low point in my life that I didn’t care about anybody else. I wanted it to be gone.”
But it didn’t end for Josh.
The bullet he shot is still in his brain, his mental capability slowed, his left side left basically paralyzed by his suicide attempt.
But as he recovered, Flowers found renewed purpose, fighting for other victims.
“If there’s any way I can help do anything at all I want to do it,” said a defiant Flowers.
Josh took his story to the Georgia Capitol.
Helping stump for House Bill 17, the Hidden Predator Act.
A bill designed to give victims voice, and more chances to confront their accusers in court.
“It was a very inspiring feeling that wow i’ve got a group of of people that are 300 miles away that know my story, want me to come up there and be part of passing that bill,” smiled Josh. “If we can pass that bill and reach out and touch other people that need help, that would be the most amazing feeling in the world.”
Josh Flowers’ testimony is considered one of the keys to helping the Hidden Predator Act pass the house.
It will be voted on by the full Senate Tuesday.
But will it make a difference??
There have been changes in the bill since it was first introduced and passed the House. Victim’s rights advocates say those changes have made it too “business and predator friendly”.
News 3 will have more on that side of this emotional issue Tuesday on News 3.