The recently declared mistrial in the Andrea Constand / Bill Cosby rape trial was frustrating for all of us – whether you’re a survivor, an ally, an advocate, an activist in the movement, or simply someone who wants to see justice served. It’s another reminder that oftentimes, the odds are heavily stacked against the survivor, regardless of if they report to law enforcement or get a rape kit done, or have 50 other people behind them saying, “Hey, this happened to me too.”
Unfortunately, we’ve seen reports indicating that the defense attorney in the case relied on the same tired old tropes that we hear every day about survivors – the kinds that manifest every day in rape culture.
This latest setback is a reminder that sometimes, the wheels of justice move slow. Like, really slow. We try to remember that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But we also know that it doesn’t move on its own.
At NJCASA, we’re working every day to push forward towards justice:
- We support legislation to create a more equitable system for survivors – like a Survivor’s Bill of Rights, and an effort to increase the amount of training law enforcement officers receive on responding to sexual violence, and an extension of the civil statute of limitations for sexual violence, so more survivors can pursue justice.
- Our Social Media Ambassadors work every day to disrupt rape culture online by sharing information and initiating critical conversations about prevention, awareness, and more. As SMA @kayyten Tweeted, “We have the power to positively affect the world… one tweet at a time.” You can follow along with them at #njcasaSMA.
- We provide assistance and support to our program members who are filled with passionate staff, advocates, and preventionists. They respond to the needs of survivors every day through their 24-hour hotlines, hospital accompaniments, crisis counseling services, and more. Dedicated preventionists go into the community every week to discuss how we all can work together to end sexual violence and rape culture. Their “boots-on-the-ground” work is imperative to preventing violence and creating safer spaces for all.
We all have a part to play in bending that moral arc towards justice. At the outset of the Cosby case, we saw the collective power of women speaking out against an abuser and the culture that kept them quiet for so many years. It started with one, then a few more, and soon they were a legion of empowered women, supporting each other and standing together in the face of adversity. One person’s bravery collectivizes others. We are thankful to be pushing towards justice with so many amazing sister organizations, allies, activists, and survivors. And until we get there, we’re glad to be in this together.