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How to Help Stop Sexual Assault in the Wake of the Bill Cosby Verdict

How to Help Stop Sexual Assault in the Wake of the Bill Cosby Verdict

 New York Magazine:  July 27, 2015

New York Magazine:  July 27, 2015

The Bill Cosby verdict is in.

For decades, sexual assault allegations followed “America’s dad”.

But it seemed that no matter how excruciating the accounts of druggings or rapes, nor how many women who came forward, the comedian was never held to account.

After all, the first time Cosby faced those allegations in court last June, he walked away on a mistrial.

But today, Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, a verdict that could land him up to 10 years behind bars.

A vindication for many of the 60 women who have publicly accused Cosby of assault, the verdict also represents a milestone in the #MeToo era.

Though the legal battle for Cosby’s accusers began years before our recent cultural reckoning over power and sexual harassment, today’s news marks another step toward change. Women are increasingly empowered to speak out, the public is becoming more accepting of their stories, powerful men are being held to account, and slowly, justice is being served.

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How to help stop sexual assault in the wake of the Bill Cosby verdict

Revisit the stories of the brave women who came forward about their experiences with Bill Cosby and helped establish the groundwork for #MeToo.

You can find 35 of their stories here.

Learn from the movement’s leaders.

Tarana Burke, originator of the #MeToo Movement, suggests taking a community-based approach in combating sexual violence.

“Look for the gaps — that’s all we’re doing. We are looking for the gaps in our community, the gaps in services, the gaps in resources,” she told Variety earlier this month.  Burke says that action comes in many forms. You can start by looking up the sexual harassment policy at your own workplace and ensuring the standards are adequate. Or look for new legislation, Burke says, to help fight sexual violence at the state and local level.

Donate to organizations working to stop sexual assault.

Tarana Burke's me too movement supports survivors of sexual violence, and the Times Up Legal Defense Fund has raised millions of dollars to provide legal aid to survivors of workplace discrimination and sexual assault.

This one's for the men.

See our prior post on how you can help stop sexual harassment and assault.

Also:  connect with and support organizations working to stop sexual harassment and assault.

In addition to the me too movement and the Times Up Legal Defense Fund, check out Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN, which also runs the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline), the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, End Rape on Campus, ReThink, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, and Hollaback. You can find a much longer list here.

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