Letter to the Editor

Cosby ruling demonstrates that victims have options

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) & Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) released the following statement in response to Judge Elizabeth McHugh's ruling that charges against Bill Cosby for sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 will proceed to trial:

"Today's ruling is a positive step forward for survivors everywhere. It underscores how critical it is that we give victims time and opportunity to heal while leaving options open for them to seek justice.

"We know that a delay in the reporting of a sexual assault has no bearing on the veracity of allegations; in fact, delayed reporting is normal and should be expected. It takes an incredible amount of courage for a survivor to come forward, and the level of attention surrounding a high-profile case makes it even more daunting to speak out, as victims fear the negative impact of media scrutiny and retaliation from the public or the accused. Many people who have been sexually assaulted wait months or even years before discussing what happened with anyone, let alone making a formal report to authorities. Giving victims the option to pursue justice, even after years have passed, is such an important way to support survivors and protect community safety.

"Sexual assault is a serious and widespread problem. Victims can experience long-term after effects including PTSD, anxiety and depression that may interfere with educational attainment, job performance, personal relationships and other personal and societal costs. Everyone has a role to play, including our criminal justice system, in giving options to survivors and ultimately preventing sexual assault."