When #MeToo first went viral in Fall of 2017, many of us questioned if it would lead to meaningful change. Since then, we have witnessed a developing national conversation on the role that sexual violence plays in our lives and social interactions. The trial of Bill Cosby has shown us that survivor’s voices are powerful. His sentencing marks the end of the first celebrity trial since the beginning of #MeToo movement. While this period of time has been exhausting, laborious, and triggering for survivors and allies, we take solace in recognizing the meaningful change that is occurring before us.
The fact that Bill Cosby will face consequences for the immense harm that he has done to the dozens of women who have come forward sends a message to survivors that their stories matter. And it sends a message to those who have committed sexual violence that they cannot hide from the harm that they have inflicted on others.
As we continue our efforts to end sexual violence and ensure that #MeToo has positive outcomes for survivors, we take this opportunity to pause and honor the work that has been done so far. This conviction and sentencing could not have happened without the collective work of advocates, preventionists, survivors, and allies across the country. Our work continues; during the same week that Bill Cosby is sentenced we will likely see survivors testify on Capitol Hill and cable news commentary will follow. It is up to us to continue to center the conversation on survivors and those communities most impacted by sexual violence.
We honor all those who choose to speak out and the great personal cost that comes with telling their stories. We also honor those who choose not to share their experiences and hold that each survivor decides in their own time when and if to tell their story.