Local advocate for sexual assault survivors weighs-in on Cosby sentencing

(WOLF) -- Bill Cosby’s sentencing for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman makes him the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.

Many advocates of sexual assault survivors are saying it’s a win for survivors everywhere.

“I think the one thing I can sum up and say is – victory.”

As Bill Cosby left a Montgomery County courtroom Tuesday in cuffs, that one word was likely one echoed by sexual assault survivors, their advocates, and allies all over the country.

The disgraced comedian was sentenced to a 3-10 year prison term for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.

More than 60 women have also accused him of assault over the past five decades.

After a mistrial in 2017, Cosby’s second trial got underway *after other public figures like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey were exposed by the #MeToo movement.

“Before this #MeToo movement, I’ve been an advocate in this field for almost 14 years, seeing this kind of stance and sentence is incredible,” Lauren Peterson said.

Peterson is the Executive Director of Women’s Resources of Monroe County.

She says Cosby’s sentencing will only encourage other survivors to come forward, report their assaults, and seek services for recovery.

And saw a similar trend after former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing several young boys.

“You can attribute that to a couple of different things in that they can see now that the justice system is believing them, its supporting the victims, its holding people accountable. And two, its being reported on by media outlets more correctly and more victim-sensitive, victim-focused, a lot less victim blaming,” Peterson said.

“Its hard to come forward and hopefully now that people are saying well if I do it can lead to something, like there is an end cause, they will get this, it might hopefully help a lot of people out there suffering silently to say – no, me too,” Nicholas Filipec, of West Wyoming, said.

More information about Women's Resources of Monroe County can be found on its website or calling its 24-hour crisis hotline at 570-421-4200.

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