National Organization for Women Rallies in Support of Andrea Constand and Cosby Survivors
Sexual Assault Survivors and Women’s Rights Advocates Demand: Take Rape Seriously
Norristown, PA – April 9, 2018 – NOW leaders, members, and survivors organized a rally outside the Montgomery County Courthouse on the first day of Bill Cosby’s retrial to stand in solidarity with Andrea Constand and other Cosby survivors and to send a clear message to Take Rape Seriously NOW. Spearheaded by the New York chapter of NOW, many traveled for hours to demonstrate their support for Andrea and to send Cosby the direct message that in this MeToo moment, survivors will be heard.
“How does a man get away with sexually abusing and raping nearly 60 women before being held accountable?” said Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW New York. “We are here to set a tone, and send a message that the era of impunity ends now.”
Citing a need for a transformative shift in our culture, public institutions, workplaces, and the criminal justice system, Ossorio pointed to findings from the FBI that one in six women are sexually assaulted, and almost none of the perpetrators are ever held accountable. At least 70% of rapes are committed by an acquaintance, and less than 3% of rapes result in prison for the perpetrator. Despite the fact that the vast majority of rapes take place between two people who are acquainted, police departments and district attorneys’ offices often fail to investigate acquaintance rapes and dismiss them as less serious than stranger rapes. Furthermore, most rapes are committed by repeat offenders, so when a rapist is not prosecuted, it is a missed opportunity to prevent more sexual assaults.
“We are here to stand up for Cosby’s 57 victims and to educate the public about the realities of gender-based violence and the criminal justice system’s failure to adequately address this endemic,” Ossorio said.
It is women and girls – especially women of color and Native American women – as well as LGBT individuals and disabled individuals who face the highest rates of sexual violence. In the case of Bill Cosby, 57 women have come forward with reports of assault by him over the course of five decades, yet only one woman’s case ever made it into the courtroom.
“This case is very significant,” Ossorio said. “Andrea deserves justice, and her justice will reverberate across the country.”
NOW New York advocates for the women and girls of New York, by defending reproductive rights, fighting economic inequality, and combating violence & discrimination against women.
Rose Levy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-262-1635
Jean Bucaria, email@example.com, 917-328-5543
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