By Debra Opri
It was not when the floodgate of allegations by women started to be heard and listened to.
It was not when the accused began to lose their jobs, societal positions, friends, family, and marriages.
It was not when the media took up the banner of those many, many voices with stories unimaginable to the many.
No, it was last Thursday, when the jury verdict was returned against Bill Cosby, entertainer, icon, American legend….guilty, guilty, guilty for sexual misconduct against a woman.
It was Thursday, April 26, that our nation’s — perhaps our world’s — conscience was forever changed. When our legal system said…no matter who you are, what power you yield, what influence you have…no more. It will not be tolerated.
Now we can believe and accept that things are different. When “America’s dad” — television’s icon, Dr. Huxtable, can be charged with sexually assaulting a young woman, by giving her three blue pills, wine, and then when she was unable to defend herself, to penetrate her with his penis, and then convicted…finally…we know the times have changed. And we are better for it.
Make no mistake. There will be a floodgate of allegations, whether truthful or not, supported by the evidence or not, but finally there will no longer be a system that elects not to file charges because of who the aggressor is. Those days are now forever gone.
So I urge you….do a Google search on famous people accused of sexual misconduct. See the names, see how the stories got buried, how the victims didn’t pursue the fight because of the fear instilled in them.
And read…read what constitutes sexual assault and know your rights. Whether it be civil sexual harassment in the workplace, or criminal sexual assault or rape. Women are closer today than ever before to having the strong support group — their peers and this society — to help them protect themselves and to take sexual predators, no matter where they hide, and shine the light of shame on them.