Bill Cosby conviction was necessary

May 01, 2018
Accuser Lili Bernard (left) is consoled by grief counsellor Caroline Heldman, before speaking to media, after Bill Cosby was found guilty yesterday. Bernard claimed that Cosby drugged and raped her in the early 1990s. (AP Photo/Corey Perrine)
Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand (left) embraces prosecutor Kristen Feden during a news conference after Cosby was found guilty in his sexual assault retrial yesterday in Norristown, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Bill Cosby was convicted on three counts of sexual assault last Thursday, and the worlds of many of his fans were crushed because they never believed that the beloved entertainer that they grew up on was capable of such heinous acts.

As a child who grew up in the 1980s, I, too, was a fan of Cosby. I also tuned in to watch everyone's favourite TV family, the Huckstables on The Cosby Show. I also loved Fat Albert and those cute talk shows that he did with kids. I even liked the Jello commercials. I thought they were very funny.

When the charges initially came up, I was at first surprised and then very concerned when the number of women coming forward increased. I found the reactions of the fans even more jarring as they started saying very negative things about these women. I watched closely because it was important for me to see what the facts were. I found it strange that so many women had the same story and that there was no flat out denial from Cosby.

Then later on when it was revealed that he admitted that he had, in fact used drugs to coerce women to have sex with him, I knew something was definitely wrong.

I grew up with my great-grandmother and she always said "if is not suh, is close it suh", and that is what it felt like to me. So after Cosby and his legal team fought hard in court, he was finally convicted and even after he was found guilty, many persons still had a hard time coming to grips with the reality.

It's as if they cannot separate Bill Cosby from the lovable family man he played on TV.




There is also a lot of talk about Cosby's legacy and what this conviction means to all the work that he has done in entertainment or even in his community. While there are many valid arguments to be made about the fact that an icon has fallen, I

really want to focus on the victims. On the fact that for so long, they are the ones who are always treated like they are guilty.

The victims of sexual assault are usually made to feel like they brought their assault on themselves.

What was she wearing? Did she know him? Why didn't she just leave? What was she doing in his office? Why was she alone with him? These are all questions that put the responsibility on the victims to ensure that a predator does not assault them. The conversation is not usually steered towards why a grown man would put drugs in their drink without their knowledge and then assault them while they were unconscious.

I think the conviction of Bill Cosby is a necessary first step to continue the empowerment of assaulted victims so that they can continue to step forward and speak their truth no matter who did the crime or how many years have passed.

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