Today, End Rape on Campus (EROC) stands in solidarity with Andrea Constand, the more than 50 brave survivors who have come forward against Bill Cosby, and all survivors of sexual violence. While we at EROC believe that justice was not served in this case, we unfortunately were not surprised with this outcome, as it is a single incident that exemplifies the massive failings of a system that survivors are supposed to be able to trust — but cannot.
In the United States, survivors rarely receive justice, government leaders are still elected after bragging about sexually assaulting women, perpetrators openly admit to rape, and society fails to believe survivors every day. It is no wonder so many survivors fear coming forward. If survivors do come forward, far too often, they do not receive the justice they deserve from the criminal justice system. For every 1000 rapes, only 7 will result in a felony conviction — in the United States, the courts rarely hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable. Therefore, survivors are often forced to choose between remaining silent or suffering from disbelief and retaliation, with little hope of justice. The consequences of the choice between silence and suffering are exacerbated when one’s assailant is a community leader, politician, a well-known athlete, or a celebrity.
It is clear from this week’s events that the criminal justice system fails many marginalized communities including survivors, women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. End Rape On Campus is committed to alleviating some of the obstacles caused by systematic oppressions by providing services, assistance, and support to survivors of sexual violence, and by believing survivors like Andrea Constand. We will not stop fighting until case outcomes like this one are seen as surprising and unacceptable.
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End Rape on Campus (EROC) is a national nonprofit that works to end gender-based violence on college campuses through survivor support, prevention to education, and policy advocacy on the campus, local, state, and federal levels. You can learn more at www.endrapeoncampus.org.