Did you know that 994 out of 1,000 sexual assault perpetrators walk free, without going to jail or prison? And out of that 1,000, only 57 reports lead to arrest, approximately, only 5.7%.
On Tuesday, September 25th, Bill Cosby, formerly known as “America’s Father Figure”, was sentenced to three to ten years in state prison due to the drugging and sexual assault against former women’s basketball coach at Temple University, Andrea Constand, in 2004. She reported the incident to the police in 2005 but prosecutors declined to press charges and the case was settled in court a year later. Yet in 2015, several women stepped forward and said that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them, as well. New prosecutors arrested Cosby in 2015, after relying on Constand’s and Cosby’s statements in civil deposition.
Constand wrote a five-page letter to the court, telling about the incident and how it changed her life. She wrote, “Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others”.
One of the 60 women Cosby supposedly assaulted, model and author, Janice Dickinson accused Cosby of sexual assault in 1982. During the recent court trial, Dickinson laughed aloud, staring at Cosby saying, “See, I got the last laugh pal,” after Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven O’Neill announced Cosby’s sentence. She was nearly removed from the sentencing by security, but allowed to stay after the outburst. Dickinson was one of the six accusers who took a stand at the retrial, and she stated, “At one point, I moved to Milan, Italy, to get away, where I hoped to not see or hear from Cosby again.”, and she mentioned that the assault was etched into her soul, stating, “I was never the same. I will never be the same.” Hearing this, many people had mixed views on her outburst, but Mr. Morris said, “She’s a victim, and she is entitled to any kind of outburst she wants. She has been in pain since 1982 and was taken extreme advantage of. We can’t judge her.”
Thousands of people were shocked and distraught by this recent event, and when asked how they view this story, Mr. Morris said, “I think it’s a tragedy anyone would commit sexual assault, and I believe he deserves every moment of his sentence. I also think it’s a tragedy that we, as a nation, see those who are famous should have a softer shake on things…but being a star justifies nothing. Regardless of your standing in society, you will be treated equally under the law.”
With what kind of impact this event can have on the future of sexual assault, Mr. Morris said, “In terms of accusers and what the Me Too movement means, I think it was very powerful and we have so many women standing up and being told things like ‘that was so long ago, why are you bringing it up now?’ Well, finally there is a little bit of indication and the more women see that, they will continue to stand up which needs to happen.”
Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Bill Cosby for the assault, saying he had shown “no remorse” for his actions. Cosby’s bail was revoked and he was escorted from the courthouse in handcuffs. He was also issued a fine of $25,000 dollars plus costs of prosecution. Cosby was booked into Montgomery County Correctional Facility and was transferred to a state prison in Collegeville, Phoenix.
by Lori Claes
photo by USA Today