In January, the LA Times premiered a new podcast which followed the career, and dark personal history, of comedian and convicted sex criminal, Bill Cosby. The six-episode podcast, Chasing Cosby, is available wherever you get your podcasts.
The podcast is an important reminder that we can’t assume someone is safe just because they are famous, powerful, or well-liked in our communities. The podcast sends the message loud and clear that we must Start By Believing and trust survivors when they come forward. Only by believing survivors, supporting survivors, and holding perpetrators accountable, can we truly end sexual violence in our world.
The podcast is powerful, moving, and haunting and please please please be cautious in listening if you are a survivor or may be triggered by stories of abuse. This is not an easy podcast to hear. But it is important for many of us.
We’ll be sharing more of our thoughts on different episodes and themes through the podcast, but first and foremost, the lesson we can learn from this podcast is how incredibly strong survivors are. Anyone working in this field or industry will tell you, the ones who are making a difference and the ones who are changing the world are survivors. We are in the background, offering support and guidance, but the real power behind the movement to end violence is and always has been survivors.
The women who reported Bill Cosby’s abuse not only had the courage to share their stories, to press charges, or to testify in court, but many of them ALSO advocated for changes in the laws of their home states. State after state changed or discarded restricted statute of limitation laws for reporting sexual abuse and they did so because of the advocacy of survivors of Bill Cosby. These women not only sought justice for themselves, but they sought to make the world a more just place for future survivors.
They had no responsibility to anything but their own healing, but they still took this stand. Because of them, Colorado DOUBLED the length of time a survivor has to report assault and abuse. Nevada and California removed any statute of limitations on reporting these crimes. Women and all survivors are safer, our world is safer, because of their courage.
Remember each day as we work together to end sexual violence to listen to survivors. Ask survivors in your life what they need and how you can support them. Look to survivors in the news, buy and read books by survivors, watch Ted Talks from survivors (may we recommend any and everything by Tarana Burke?), and learn from them. We don’t do this work FOR survivors of violence, we do this work WITH them.
Thank you, to each and every person, who has survived sexual violence and is fighting for yourself and for the world. We are honored to fight with you.