Just when you thought you couldn’t feel any more icky about the entire Bill Cosby scandal, Cosby’s lawyer comes out and claims that the victims had a “responsibility” to immediately report the sexual assault.
During an interview with HuffPost Live, Monique Pressley rejected the fact that this textbook victim-blaming was actually what she was doing, and said that evidence does not exist in the case again Cosby.
“I’m not speculating, I’m not thinking, I’m not opining, I’m not waxing poetic, but what I’m saying is women have responsibility. We have responsibility for our bodies, we have responsibility for our decisions, we have responsibility for the way we conduct ourselves,” Pressley said.
She continued, “The only way for a woman to get [the] justice that she seeks — and that, if her allegations [are] true, that she deserves — is to come forward [soon after the crime]. And even if the reasons that the woman did not do that are legitimate ones, what cannot happen — in my opinion, in the United States — is that 40 years later, there is a persecution tantamount to a witch hunt, where there was no prosecution timely and there was no civil suit timely. And there’s not any testimony or any accusation from any of these women that Mr. Cosby in any way bound them, gagged them, prevented them from coming forward and saying whatever their truth was at the time. That’s not what happened.”
So let get this straight: because he didn’t lock the accusers in a basement to keep them from reporting, there is no other reason on God’s green earth they shouldn’t have come forward? Never mind the fact that less than 32 percent of rapes and sexual assaults get reported to begin with, and even then, only 2 percent of rapists will even see the inside of a jail (Justice Department National Crime Victims Survey: 2008-2012).
Just in case you didn’t catch that, that leaves 68 percent of all sexual assaults unreported.
The reasons why a woman chooses not to report that she was the victim of sexual assault are vast and personal, but here are just a few to jog Pressley’s mind for the future: They don’t want anyone to know, as it can be ostracizing. Women can be confused as to what actually constitutes sexual assault (and with such disgusting victim-blaming going around and people screaming that her skirt was too short, who can blame them?).
They are often afraid of how they will be viewed or treated by the police. And with the staggeringly low number of rapists who actually go to jail for their crimes, maybe the accusers, facing an even larger uphill battle because their alleged victimizer was a beloved all-American dad, knew the chances of getting any kind of justice were almost nonexistent.
But no, they weren’t tied up, so it’s their own fault they didn’t report anything.
For Pressley to claim that she is not victim-blaming is just a bold-faced lie. Partially blaming a victim is still blaming the victim for the harm that befell them. In no way, shape or form do victims share in any of the blame for a crime committed against them, and saying it is their own fault for not coming forward is disgusting and obscene.
He is still technically innocent unless proven guilty, and the allegations are still just that. But these women should get the dignity of telling their truth without the indignity of saying it was their responsibility — and ultimately their own fault — for not coming forward immediately following the alleged crime.
Watch Pressley’s entire interview below.