After sexual assault, when should women come forward?

With allegations surfacing against celebrities Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi, Sheridan Sun reporters Michael Rodrigues and Robert Sgotto look at how women share their stories with the world. Should the victims try to keep it a hushed court case? Is that even possible with today’s technology? Or is going public a better way to get their stories told?




Op Ed-Sgotto


America’s dad – it’s the way a generation views Bill Cosby. Or at least used to, that is before the allegations of sexual assault began to pile up. Just one month after revelations surrounding the outlandish sexual tastes of Jian Ghomeshi, yet another icon has fallen.

It’s good that these women are coming forward, supporting each other and seeking justice, but a troubling question remains: Why did so many wait so long before speaking up?

In Ghomeshi’s case, the allegations go back from mid-to late 2000. For Cosby, the claims reach as far back as the 1960’s. What were these women waiting for?

Leveling accusations of rape and sexual assault against people in positions of power can be intimidating for victims, even more so in past generations. After all, Cosby and Ghomeshi were just so gosh darn charismatic, who would believe an accuser?

But we’ve seen this movie before. People in power might hold a lot of sway, but they are not immune to the law.

Mike Tyson served three years in person for rape against Desiree Washington. Former Green Bay Packer Darren Sharper is being held in L.A. on charges of sexual assault. 2pac was sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison, although a record company bailed him out for $1.4million. NHL L.A. Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was charged with domestic violence for allegedly attacking his wife. The NHL has indefinitely suspended Voynov since he was arrested in October.

Sneeds to learn when we keep quiet about sexual assault for years, or even decades it can cause further harm and put others in danger.

Let’s say Tamara Green, a Californian lawyer who claims that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her in 1970, brought the case to the police immediately following the incident. Let’s say that because Bill Cosby is so family oriented and well connected, the court throws the case out and he walks.

Then a few years later, Cosby is at it again. Once more, the accusations are brought forward. Eventually, the authorities are going to see a pattern and will deal with the problem – which is Cosby himself.

Obviously, for rape victims, going public is hard, but they have a responsibility to seek justice. If these issues were brought up sooner, maybe fewer people would have been affected.

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People who prey on others are sickening.

When the powerful take the influence they hold over others and use it to force the vulnerable to act in their twisted sex fantasies, then they deserve to be publically humiliated.

The most recent celebrities, Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi, now stand accused. Women from all walks of life allege these men made them unwilling participants in depraved sexual fantasies. Although some of these acts allegedly happened years ago, the women are just all starting to come out now.

And good for them. In cases where there are multiple people involved, all it takes is for one to stand up and declare they were victimized. Once that silence is broken, others can step forward and the wall of secrecy crumbles.

Going public is the only way to deal with the problem.

When the offender has 100 per cent been proven guilty, they deserve to have their name disgraced across every newsstand and television in the country. When they commit the crimes they do, they steal a piece of the victim’s soul. Isn’t it fair that they should have their own damaged too?

When people have a piece of their soul taken away they feel hopeless. They feel as if life has been taken away from them and they have nowhere to turn.

In this case, the women are left devastated and it is hard for them to think of going up against people that are so high on the socio economic food chain.

Although the alleged abusers may never be charged, bringing what they did to light dishonors their names and shows the world what they are. For example, 2012 singer CeeLo Green was accused for sexual battery. Although the case was thrown out for insufficient evidence, his name still remains hindered to this day.

When these incidents come into the public eye, it provides a beacon of light to other victims. They realize they don’t have to be scared and embarrassed for what occurred.

Celebrities, politicians and professional athletes, are supposed to be role models. Society should hold them to high standards; their status certainly shouldn’t give them carte blanche to do whatever they want. With the technology and media in today, if you’re not a good person, it will come out.