Phylicia Rashad, the actor who portrayed Bill Cosby’s lawyer-wife on the Cosby show, recently defended him against the growing number of accusations of sexual assault. Rashad says that the women’s accusations should be discounted because they are destroying Cosby’s legacy. In declaring that “this is not about the women,” she unwittingly demonstrates the reasons why rape victims are reluctant to report their assaults. This insightful article explains why:
Take a look and take a moment to celebrate this hard won progress. It is wonderful to read.
Since early October, I have been traveling in Turkey, Romania and Serbia with our new organization Global Rights for Women. Our mission is singularly focused on an issue that we believe is among the most urgent of our time – to achieve reform of law and policy that truly protects women’s human right to be free from violence.
As I traveled, I have heard women’s stories of unspeakable horror and also ones of great hope – like this one from a woman in Turkey where a new law went into effect in 2012,
My husband abused me for many years. He broke my jaw and once he waited for me at my apartment and when I came in to the building, he stabbed me again and again. I have many scars. He always went free. The police were always trying to make us reconcile. But the new law says they are forbidden to do that. In fact, they will be punished if they do. Before the new law I had nothing. I just had to run from him. Now he has been arrested and just last week I learned he will be in jail for a long time. I am so happy. I feel safe.
I have just returned from an inspiring journey across a changing world and I am full of hope for women and girls. I traveled from the Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia and continued an eastward path to the South Pacific island country, Tonga, all countries where new laws have passed aimed at ending violence against women. For three weeks, I have been surrounded by the amazing resolve of women’s activists and their tangible successes. But my journey had a disconcerting backdrop. As I traveled, I heard story after story in the daily media – girls in India, raped and hung to die, a Santa Barbara killer wanting revenge on young women, enslaved Nigerian girls and young, pregnant women in Sudan and Pakistan, killed or imprisoned for claiming their rights to live as they choose.
The contrast between my experience and the barrage of devastating news was stark. I began to recognize it all as part of a world in transformation. We are moving rapidly from a place where vast numbers of women and girls are denied their human right to safety and equality to a world where this violence is exposed as a community shame, worthy of outrage and action. And laws.