April 26, 2018
Washington, DC — As in many high-profile sexual assault cases, the victims who testified in the second Cosby trial were called liars and opportunists and much worse after coming forward about the sexual violence they suffered. It shouldn’t take a guilty verdict for victims of sexual violence to be believed.
More than 2/3 of sexual assaults go unreported. We have to ask ourselves why this percentage is so high. Our treatment of sexual assault victims who disclose has been disgraceful and greatly contributes to the very real fear for survivors of how they will be treated. Many of Cosby’s supporters, some of whom harassed the victims online, may feel that today Constand and the other victims can be believed. Today is way too late. In a case where an offender was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court, many doubted the credibility of the victim, as well as the credibility of dozens of women victimized by Cosby. Today’s results don’t make Constand any more truthful than she was over a decade ago.
Let’s not be the society that calls victims of violence ‘liars’ but the society that makes it easier for survivors to come forward. We stand with Constand and other survivors who felt vindicated from today’s verdict. We stand with the #MeTooMVMT. Every survivor should be believed, supported, and heard. We hope today’s verdict is one step in a groundswell of change that will lead to us ending sexual violence together.
The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence is the voice in Washington for state coalitions and local programs working to end sexual violence and support survivors.
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