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photo: iStock, milos-kreckovic

Reporting a rape is a difficult, personal choice for many victims. It means talking about the assault to friends and family — possibly the public — and working with a system that routinely shames, blames, and marginalizes victims.

In many states, it also means beating the clock.

Thirty-four states impose limits on when a rape case can be brought forward, ranging from 3 to 30 years after the assault. These statutes of limitations were created to ensure that evidence presented in trial has not deteriorated over time. But some crimes, such as murder or sexual abuse of a child, have been deemed too heinous to warrant any limitation. Several states have now extended that same protection to rape and sexual assault, too.

When states do pose a statue of limitations on rape cases, it varies based on the severity of the crime. Hawaii, for example, gives victims six years to prosecute charges for first-degree sexual assault but only three years for second- or third-degree. On the other end of the spectrum, the California State Assembly recently voted to repeal its 10-year limit on all felony sexual abuses. The bill still has to pass the Senate and governor before it becomes law.

Below, find out what the time limit is in your state — or whether it has a statue of limitations at all:

Alabama: No statute of limitations

Alaska: No statute of limitations

Arizona: No statute of limitations

Arkansas: six years for first-degree offenses, three years for second, third and fourth

California: No statute of limitations for raped committed after 2017

Colorado: 10 years

Connecticut: five years

Washington, D.C.: 15 years for first- and second-degree offenses, 10 years for third- and fourth-degree

Delaware: No statute of limitations

Florida: No statute of limitations for sexual battery with physical force or deadly weapon; four years for first degree offenses, three years for any other degree

Georgia: 15 years for rape, four years for all other felony sex offenses

Hawaii: six years for first-degree offenses, three years for second and third, two years for fourth

Idaho: No statute of limitations

Illinois: 10 years if assault is reported to authorities within three years, three years otherwise

Indiana: No statute of limitations for level 1 or 2 offenses, five years for all other felony sexual offenses

Iowa: 10 years

Kansas: No statue of limitations for rape, 10 years for all other felony sex offenses

Kentucky: No statute of limitations

Louisiana: No statute of limitations

Maine: eight years for class A, class B, or class C crimes involving unlawful sexual contact or gross sexual assault, three years for all other felony sex offenses

Maryland: No statute of limitations

Massachusetts: 15 years

Michigan: No statute of limitations for first-degree offenses, 10 years for all other felony sex offenses

Minnesota: nine years

Mississippi: No statute of limitations

Missouri: No statute of limitations

Montana: 10 years

Nebraska: No statute of limitations for first- or second-degree offenses, three years for other felony sex offenses

Nevada: 20 years

New Hampshire: six years

New Jersey: No statute of limitations

New Mexico: No statute of limitations for first-degree offenses, six years for second degree, five years for third- and fourth-degree

New York: No statute of limitations for first-degree rape, five years for second- and third-degree

North Carolina: No statute of limitations

North Dakota: seven years for gross sexual imposition, three years for all other felony sex offenses

Ohio: 20 years

Oklahoma: 12 years

Oregon: 12 years for first-degree offenses, six years for second- and third-degree

Pennslyvania: 12 years

Rhode Island: No statute of limitations for first-degree offense, three years for second- and third-degree

South Carolina: No statue of limitations

South Dakota: No statute of limitations for first- or second-degree offenses, seven years for third- or fourth-degree

Tennessee: 15 years for aggravated rape, eight years for rape

Texas: 10 years

Utah: No statute of limitations

Vermont: No statue of limitations for aggravated sexual assault, six years for sexual assault

Virginia: No statute of limitations

Washington: 10 years for first- and second-degree offenses, three years for third degree

West Virginia: No statute of limitations

Wisconsin: No statue of limitations for first-degree offenses, six years for second or third degree, three years for fourth degree

Wyoming: No statute of limitations

*all statutes based on felony sex offenses committed by actors over the age of 18, on victims over the age of 18. Statutes according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, last updated February 4, 2019.