Sitcom personality Bill Cosby was found guilty of all three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. An 80-year old former American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and author can also add to his list the title of a convicted felon.

Cosby has had numerous sexual assault allegations made against him, the earliest dating back to the mid-60s. Women have made claims of rape, drug-related sexual assault, sexual battery, child-sexual abuse, and other sexual assault. They only became more public recently, in 2014. He has repeatedly denied and refuted the allegations, convincing the world and his die-hard fans that he was innocent.

Most of the alleged acts were not eligible for persecution, therefore Cosby was in the clear for many years. It wasn’t until July 2015 that Andrea Constand’s lawsuit, which was opened in 2005, was released to the public.  In November of 2015, eight cases were active against him, with 33 victims being represented. One was Constand’s, who filed 2 Class II felony charges of aggravated indecent assault against Cosby, based on incidents from 2004. Constand’s state of mind was disrupted for 14 years, until finally her perpetrator could be brought to justice.

Before her trial, his previous trial ended in a mistrial. At her retrial, victims of Cosby’s sexual assault testified, which led to the decision that was made days ago. The “He said, she said” case was unnecessarily prolonged. Costand first testified that Cosby, who worked with her at Temple University, drugged and sexually assaulted her when she visited his home, seeking solely career advice. Instead, her life was changed forever, as she spent the next year dealing with the mental toll of the incident, and the subsequent years fighting to put him into jail. She was attacked in the media, as Cosby’s defense team spun stories to make her incredible. She suffered through rumors and public humiliation until the day that he was found guilty, in which she walked out of the courtroom with a smile on her face.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented many of the women who spoke up against Cosby had much to say regarding the verdict of the trial. “We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed. And not only on #MeToo but in a court of law where they are under oath, where they testified truthfully, where they were attacked. After all is said and done, women were finally believed.”

Now, all of Cosby’s accomplishments, life achievements, and career goals were all potentially dismissed with his conviction. His first stand-up comedy show, his Kennedy Center honor, his lone sailor award: they are all invalidated after the realization of the world that he is a corrupted, perverse, coercive, manipulative man. All of these words are taken from stories in which a woman comes out about their experience with rape. Now, we are using them against a man who many of us looked up to as a kid. The classic comedy show dad who raised his kids to know better, and loved his family just as he should. The one who cracked jokes and made people of all ages, all generations, full of laughter. Now, he has made us full of hatred, full of grief.

Regardless of his past, regardless of his achievements, he deserves to go to jail for his actions. We must take into consideration the women who have faced this head-on. We must hear them out, let them speak, do not silence them. Not even if silencing them means hearing out the celebrity instead. No, we must allow them to say, “Me too.”

Featured Image via Flickr/fuzzcat

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