The statute of limitations for reporting a rape or sexual assault is changing because of his victims' efforts …

Last Friday, Bill Cosby's sexual assault victims won big in Colorado.

After a year of rallying to either abolish or extend Colorado's statute of limitations for rape, Governor John Hickenlooper finally signed a bill that doubles the time limit rape and sexual assault survivors have to report their attackers and litigate against them.

Previously, Coloradans who suffered rape or sexual assault only had 10 years to do this, which is not actually a lot of time to process a trauma like rape to the point where you feel comfortable dealing with it both publicly and legally. However, thanks to the women who survived Bill Cosby, they now have 20.

The extension of Colorado's statute of limitations comes after a long, hard battle during which Cosby victims Beth Ferrier, Heidi Thomas and Helen Hayes told their painful stories in front of lawmakers in order to show the importance of changing the law.

In the ’80s, the Denver-based Ferrier dated Cosby briefly before he drugged and assaulted her. Both Thomas and Hayes share a similar history, and now Hayes is fighting for her home of California to change their law as well.

Colorado isn't the only state that's benefited from Cosby's victims coming forward though. Last year, they succeeded in changing the law in Nevada as well, where victims of sexual assault now also have 20 years to report rape or assault, as opposed to a previous statute of just four. 

Colorado's statute extension will go into effect July 1, at which point victims who have been silenced for years by the legal limitation will be allowed to come forward, press charges and seek justice.

Honestly, it really shouldn't have taken a high-profile rape scandal like Bill Cosby's to get states' statutes of limitations lengthened, or even abolished. However, if there's any sort of silver lining to the horrific things he did to the 30+ women he assaulted, it's that their stories and bravery were able to accomplish actual legal progression. In some way, their trauma may help countless others seek the same justice they did, and that's kind of remarkable in view of what they've been through.

As Coloradans, we're lucky that their efforts benefited us early, but there are still many, many states such as Arkansas and Florida that have a mind-boggling five year or less statute of limitation on reporting rape and sexual assault. Frankly, that's a little appalling. Five years is nothing. Consider being assaulted as a child and not even being able to name, let alone interpret, what happened to you until you've reached adulthood, at which point you're pretty much SOL.

Some states like Alaska and Arizona have no statute of limitations for rape or sexual assault, which is something we as a country should look to strive for; hopefully Colorado will get there one day. However, what we do have in addition to a newly doubled statute of limitations, is a provision that time limits become exempt if substantiated DNA evidence is presented. Many other states have similar regulations as well.

So, change is slow, but change is happening. It's strange to think that we have the victims of Bill Cosby's unthinkable cruelties to thank for that, but … like we said: silver lining

As Thomas said, “You get a law passed like this, there’s tangible proof that somebody listened.” For many people silenced by legal limits on assault reporting, that's all they ask.