Bill Cosby (Bill Cosby) was released after being overturned for sexual assault on Wednesday, ending a case that was one of the catalysts for the #MeToo movement, which sparked a global discussion of sexual assault and the treatment of survivors.
The 83-year-old former star Cosby Show In 2015, he was arrested and charged on suspicion of sexual assault and drug use of Canadian Andrea Constand at his home in Pennsylvania in 2004. Cosby served almost three years in prison and was convicted in September 2018.
When overturning the conviction, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor in the case was bound by the predecessor’s consent not to prosecute Cosby. There is no evidence that the agreement is in writing.
Andrea Gunraj, vice president of public engagement at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, told CBC News that the #MeToo movement only scratched the surface in the process of seeking support for survivors of sexual assault.
“Sexual violence is such a common problem. Sexual assault and sexual harassment, in all areas of life… it’s really about social change and cultural change, because it’s about making our system better,” she says.
Gunraj said that American activist Tarana Burke created the hashtag #MeToo in 2006 to help women in underrepresented communities tell their stories about sexual violence.
according to Statistics Canada, Only one-tenth of sexual assaults are reported to the country’s authorities.
Gunraj said there are many reasons why survivors may not want to submit a report: they may worry about their safety, they may worry that they will be treated unfairly by the justice system, or they may not even know what happened.
“We also know that few of these cases actually get anywhere in the system,” she said. “There are many problems with the way these cases are handled in the system.”
Konstande issued a statement after the ruling
Constance met her when Cosby was the director of operations for the women’s basketball program at Temple University in Philadelphia, and issued a statement with her attorney after Wednesday’s ruling.
“Today’s majority decision on Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but also worrying because it may prevent those seeking justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the attacker, or it may force the victim Whether it is a criminal or a civil suit,” she said in the first part of the statement.
Simona Jellinek, a Toronto lawyer representing assault survivors, said there are key differences between the criminal justice system and the civil justice system in Canada and the United States. Cosby was charged in the civil system.
“[In the criminal system], The defendant has more rights and leeway… than survivors, plaintiffs, people who stand up and complain,” Jellinek said. She said that the civil system is more friendly to survivors. “You as the plaintiff, as the survivor Person, have more control over what happens in your case. “
Cosby was accused of sexual assault by 60 women, but only Constance’s complaint led to criminal charges.
Jelinek said his case was an important turning point in the cultural dialogue surrounding sexual violence.
Watch | Bill Cosby released from prison:
She said: “This is indeed the first time that the prosecution of a very high-profile actor is like this.” “It was not only completed, but also successful-at least initially.
“So it really changed the tide in some ways.”
Cosby releases technicality: lawyers
Jelinek’s company specializes in representing victims and survivors of abuse and sexual assault. He said the new ruling is “in [the] wall. “
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear this news now that many people are suffering,” she said, adding that it is important to remember that Cosby was released due to technical issues.
“He was really found guilty,” Jelinek said. “The survivors should have a lot of power, because the prosecution has been completed and succeeded.”
Gunraj said that every survivor of sexual assault will react differently, depending on their experience. The priority is to fund resources that will help them in difficult times.
She said that for individuals with marginalized identities, despite the high incidence of sexual violence, it may be more difficult to obtain support that suits their needs. This includes indigenous women, black women, and transgender or non-binary people.
“I think we really need to ask: In the long run, what do you plan to do to ensure that these things will not happen, and when someone is injured, they will get the support they need?”
According to the Canadian Red Cross, if you are concerned that someone you know may be experiencing intimate partner violence, here are some warning signs:
- The victims said that their partners ignored their feelings and wishes.
- They are being named or criticized.
- They are controlled financially, emotionally, or physically.
- Their partner keeps them away from friends.
- If they don’t get what they want, the partner threatens to hurt the victim or shows anger.
- Partners track victims.
- The victims stated that they had previously been abused verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually.