While we were extremely disheartened to learn that Bill Cosby’s conviction was overturned on procedural grounds today, our first thoughts are with the brave survivors who came forward to not only report their assaults but to testify in court. To them, and to all survivors, we unequivocally say we see you, we believe you, and you are not alone. For survivors in Wisconsin who may be understandably shocked by this news, please know there are services available across the state should you need to reach out.
We are very concerned about the message today’s decision sends to survivors. Many survivors already face enormous barriers to reporting, including disbelief, blame, and fear of retaliation. When survivors see people like Cosby walk free, the message they receive is that sexual violence and its impact on them will not be taken seriously. The decision also illustrates the challenges survivors face when engaging with the criminal justice system. Despite multiple victims coming forward and testifying against Cosby, he was released today on procedural grounds. Sadly, this is yet another reminder that the judicial system is not and cannot be the sole avenue for survivors to seek justice and accountability.
Finally, while deeply disappointing, today’s decision does not diminish the progress made by the #MeToo movement. We must continue to hold those who commit sexual violence accountable, regardless of their power, their fame, or their wealth.
WCASA remains in solidarity with all survivors, and we will continue to center their needs as we seek to improve system responses to ensure accountability for those who commit sexual violence.