As I listen to the news that Bill Cosby has been found guilty … this statement jumped out at me:
“I feel like this is a victory for all sexual assault victims everywhere.” – Lili Bernard
Today Bill Cosby was found guilty on all three counts in his indecent assault trial. I keep the news on low in the background, but the hurt and the pain in Lili Bernard’s voice as she spoke to the press brought me to tears. To the point my daughter came over to just sit next to me as a form of comfort. (God, I love my kids!)
I know that pain and that hurt.
Oh too well.
Almost 25 years ago I was assaulted by someone who was very prominent in our community. This predator preyed on young girls with intimidation and threats. For years I felt a sense of guilt not just because of what happened to me, but because of the younger girls who were assaulted and raped after me because I did not speak up.
I also hold / held onto guilt and shame because I overhead so many around me saying “Why didn’t they just say something?” or “Who could go through all of that and not speak up?”
I always held my tongue and it was yet another reason for me to question and lay the blame on myself.
I have tried to explain it to myself time after time – fear, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, shock, the list could go on and on…
As the #MeToo movement grew momentum and sexual assault accusation after accusation came to light, there’s always been a tightening in my chest. Almost a quarter of a century later – despite tons of therapy, prayer and tears – there are times when I find myself back in that moment. It has impacted friendships and relationships over the years. I lost so much more than my innocence as a part of that assault.
So as I listen to the words Bill Cosby guilty over and over my thoughts are with the victims. That they are able to find solace in this validation and continue their healing process … which honestly seems never-ending. My thoughts are with other victims who have been shut down, shamed and still sit in silence. That they too find comfort and healing. That they find peace and a healthy way to alleviate the fears and bring down walls they may have built.
I pray they find their victory.