When it comes to sexual assault, the idea of justice almost seems there just to make people feel like something is being done. When we really think about it, there’s no such thing as justice for sexual assault because the survivors of such incidents are always left with the painful memories. There are, however, consequences for such crimes, but justice is hard to imagine when we really put things into the perspective of the survivors.
Bill Cosby was sentenced on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and got three to 10 years in prison for the multiple sexual assaults he was found guilty of in April. I am glad there were consequences for his actions and this is a celebration for the women that came forward with their stories. This same energy however, needs to be spread across all groups of people.
A lot of people took to social media emphasizing the fact that Cosby has been one of the only people besides Larry Nassar to be sentenced since the #MeToo movement started while others think this sentencing is too light. Many other individuals across various industries have yet to be charged and it seems that race has something to do with it. Our justice system wastes no time punishing African Americans for crimes that white people either get away with or get little to no time for.
During the investigations, Cosby’s awarded honors were revoked and reruns of “The Cosby Show” were pulled by many media organizations. It appears that the consequences can vary depending on who you are, and unfortunately, the whiter and more powerful you are, the lighter the consequences, if any. For example, in the recent sexual assault case involving Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump argued that because this incident went 36 years without a complaint, the allegations were suspicious.
There are similarities in both cases in terms of years it took for the survivors to come forward, but Kavanaugh is still being referred to as a “fantastic” man by the president while Cosby is being categorized as a “sexually violent predator.” This decision seemed uncalled for to Cosby’s lawyer, Joseph Green, who argued that at 81 years old and legally blind, Cosby is not a threat to the public.
Whether or not one believes the survivors to be telling the truth is not the point of focus when it comes to sexual assault. While the investigations are going on, the least our justice system can do is give the survivors respect by taking some form of action against those accused. Kavanaugh is still nominated for Supreme Court Justice even though the investigation is ongoing. The position he is running for is significant to this country and the person assuming this role, and others like it, need to be trusted without any hesitation, something difficult to do if the person assigned to the position is a suspected sexual offender.
Both cases are happening in a crucial time where social media is heavily involved and the survivors have to deal with both support and ridicule from the public. The #MeToo movement that embarked as a result of the numerous allegations across various industries brought about support but also a great deal of exposure to the survivors. Their experiences are discussed all across the country and every person that comes forward needs to feel heard regardless of the position of the accused. I am not in any way suggesting that people of color need to walk away unpunished, rather, the punishment needs to be equal across borders and, while we’re at it, Harvey Weinstein is still not in prison.