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Chester County Press

Editorial: Toward a tumbledown of change

05/01/2018 12:30PM ● By Richard Gaw
Last week, in a Montgomery County courtroom, a jury found the comedian Bill Cosby guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, related to Cosby's role in his drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a Temple University administrator, in 2004, at Cosby's home in suburban Philadelphia. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled, but it is likely that Cosby, 80, will spend ten years in jail for his crime.

That the incident and subsequent trial both took place in our region of the world is of little importance, because when it comes to sexual assault, there aren't geographic boundaries, just as there have seemingly been very few guardrails to prevent the behavior that ends in the sexual assault of a woman, nor a collective and calamitous voice that begins to shame perpetrators out of their protective cocoon and into the open.

Until now.

The silent seasons of shame are over.

The camera is on, and so is the microphone.

The door, once slammed shut to the narrative of truth, has been pushed wide open, and it's naming names.

Grief has become testimony.

The trial and sentencing of Cosby – who has been accused by 35 women for crimes similar to the one perpetuated on Constand, for decades – is the exclamation point at the end of one sentence in a story that has just stopped long enough to take on and take down a once trusted father figure of significant idolatry. Yet the truth is this: Cosby is just another name on a police blotter of a movement, one that now has a hashtag. It has mounted a firestorm on some of our most recognizable names – a list that extends from Hollywood and media power brokers to the gluttony of elected officials who have been accused of wrongdoing, that extends in a long line from the House to the Senate to the White House.

While the #MeToo Movement has been groundbreaking in its strength, it has also been revelatory in the way it continues to unfold, because it now includes the rest of us, those who have never had to live through sexual assault. It invites us to the courtroom and to the interview; it provides a Twitter feed into what the room looked like, what was spoken and what resulted, and the unimaginable and lingering truth of a nightmare.

Everyone knows now. Ignorance can no longer be tolerated.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the story now owns the surging acceleration of a tidal wave, with nary a signal that the tide will fall. It's no longer just A-listers, but men and women from every country in the world, and very likely, some of the stories come from Chester County, in the towns and neighborhoods where we all live.

It is exposing the guilty and surrendering the victimized, and as this movement continues to galvanize – as it continues to recruit the silent – we are best advised to engage in its momentum, because truth and revelation has a way of dividing the good from the evil, on its way toward a tumbledown of change.


Resources

#MeToo Movement www.metoomvmt.org.

Domestic Violence Center of Chester County www.dvcc.com.

Rape Crisis Center/Daemion Counseling Center www.daemioncounseling.org.

Protection from Sexual Intimidation/Chester County www.chesco.org.

Crime Victims' Center of Chester County www.cvcofcc.org.



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