Cosby conviction is just the beginning

Camilla, Beutel

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In the wake of Bill Cosby’s conviction, women have been both relieved and empowered, and are ready to give society a wake up call. In a short amount of time, we have witnessed the emergence of the #MeToo movement, as well as the push to force powerful men in Hollywood to take responsibility for their actions, against victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

These victims, who are deemed as weak by too many, have decided to speak up against abuse and violence in an effort to support other survivors and end sexual assault. These actions alone make these victims more powerful than any wealthy man in Hollywood or any figure of authority in our society. They have the power to make a change, and to salvage any ounce of control from these cowards.

While the effort to incarcerate accused celebrities in Hollywood has proved to be a positive change, it seems that in many cases, the accusations that women make against men are still so easily disregarded. Of course, we have Harvey Weinstein, whose career was deservedly destroyed for sexually abusing so many women, but what about the other victims of sexual assault whose cases do not make headlines?

There are women who were attacked, but are too afraid to come forward. There are women who do not know who assaulted them, and because of that, others believe that they are lying. There are women who expose themselves to vulnerability, hoping to reclaim their rights. They subject themselves to ignorant comments rooted in entitlement only to be denied a sense of legitimacy. How do they get justice?

Sexual assault has no border. Anyone can be a victim. Most of the faces that we have seen in the news are those of fame. Outside of the bubble of Hollywood, though, there are women who desperately need a voice.

The #MeToo movement has undoubtedly gained momentum over the last few months, and women are uniting to tell their stories. The goal of this movement is to make people aware that women should be believed when they disclose their assault or abuse.

There have been too many cases where alleged rapists and abusers were set free because a jury believed the man was being unfairly accused. Women in so many of these cases are portrayed as fabricators, depicted as too promiscuous, or accused of crying rape for feeling ashamed after giving a man consent.

After every allegation surfaces, we know to expect the accused to deny everything. It’s a pattern that never seems to break. We had Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Paul Haggis, the list continues. As a society, we need to recognize that the pattern is getting old, and that women will not let it continue this way.

It seems that there may always be the people in the courtroom who maintain faith in the accused, and praise his tender character. There may always be the people who disregard womens’ claims, their real pain, and tell them they asked for it. We may never be able to completely change the mind of a misogynist, or perhaps the people who stand on the other side of the movement, but we can demand justice on behalf of the victims. All of the victims.

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Cosby conviction is just the beginning