Spanbauer: Cosby verdict sheds hope


Courtesy of Bastiaan Slabbers

Norristown, PA., USA — Bill Cosby enters Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA for a preliminary hearing in the sexual assault case against him. Courtesy of Bastiaan Slabbers

Peyton Spanbauer;

Sixty women received justice for crimes committed against them on Sept. 25, giving half the United States population validation for what is now being seen as almost a horrifically shared experience of being a woman: sexual assault.

With the sentencing of Bill Cosby has come a huge sigh of relief that our judiciary system has finally gotten something right in the handling of sexual assault cases, the three to 10 years Cosby will spend in jail sends the message to powerful men across the country that even they, too, can fall when they commit heinous crimes against women.

Andrea Constand, who is the chief accuser in the retrial of Cosby, was first told by lawyers in 2005 that her case wouldn’t likely stand up in court due to lack of evidence. Just 13 years ago, her case was passed over. Now, she’s one of the women who helped put a violent serial rapist behind bars. This cultural shift exemplifies the long overdue validation toward women who accuse men of sexual assault.

A major problem facing the societal opinion of female accusers of sexual assault is the timeliness in which they report their stories. The irony that men in power fail to see is that women choose not to come forward because there is a long history of men not believing them. Moreover, the psychological trauma that comes with being assaulted can take years to process, resulting in women not feeling comfortable sharing their stories until possibly much later.

The validation that this case has provided women who have experienced sexual assault will hopefully encourage women to come forward with their own stories. Bill Cosby was considered America’s father and was a leader in the integration and acceptance of African-Americans on television.

No one wanted him to be a rapist. America did not want to believe this case, yet a little bit of justice has been served. This is a huge victory and should set a precedent for future sexual assault cases.

This verdict comes at a dramatic time as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is being questioned regarding allegations of sexual assault by three women. As the Senate continues to interrogate both Kavanaugh and Dr. Bessey Ford, the first victim to come forward, it is important to reflect on Cosby’s case and consider it as a precedent in the sense that justice must be served. While Kavanaugh isn’t on trial, he is being judged for a job interview.

In the real world, if sexual assault allegations come up about a potential candidate for employment, it’s pretty obvious that they’re problematic and shouldn’t be selected for hire.

This is not only a case against Kavanaugh but has rather turned into a debate on the credibility of victims of sexual assault when they come forward. To question the intentions of females who are brave enough to publicly call out and describe one of the most difficult, painful and personal experiences of their lives, while knowingly subjecting themselves for public debate, seems ridiculous.