One of the women who helped bring Bill Cosby to justice is thanking all the others who helped make it a reality. Namely, Andrea Constand, a supporter of the "Me Too" movement, and the woman whose story of sexual assault at Cosby's hands ultimately led to the famed actor and comedian being convicted for his crimes.
Cosby was found guilty of sexually assaulting Constand back in April, convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He faces sentencing in September; at 80 years old, he's likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. She's far from the only woman to have spoken out about being sexually assaulted by Cosby, however ― in total, 60 women have gone public with their stories, although Constand was the only one to bring a case in court.
Constand sat down for an interview with NBC News' Kate Snow, which aired on Dateline on Friday night, and she confirmed that she considers herself a figure in the #MeToo movement, and wants to be a part of the progress that's still yet to be made. It was her first time speaking publicly about Cosby's assault against her.
We will hold people accountable. We will teach consent. This is just getting started," Constand told Snow, as BuzzFeed detailed on Friday. "I'm glad to be a part of where it's going and the future of #MeToo, Time's Up."
When Snow remarked to Constand that she would go down in history as the woman who "took down Bill Cosby," she didn't entirely agree, giving an important clarification: it wasn't just her who brought down the now-convicted sexual predator, but rather, all the dozens of women who spoke out against him.
"I never set out to bring down anybody. And I haven't necessarily, because I'm not alone. This is a collective consciousness. And so, I would rather say, we brought down Bill Cosby. But I just had the shoes on.” Constand also acknowledged that in the immediate aftermath of the assault, she didn't feel as though she could take any action of accuse Cosby publicly, owing to his towering profile and reputation.
"I didn't think anybody would believe me. It was Bill Cosby, it was Dr. Huxtable,” she told Snow. “I thought I was the only person that he did this to. Who’s gonna believe me?”
Constand was one of the few Cosby accusers well-positioned to take legal action against him, thanks to various statutes of limitations on sex crimes. Her assault at Cosby's hands took place in 2004, when she was an employee of Temple University; the comedian, who she's said she had once viewed as a mentor, drugged and sexually assaulted her. Cosby paid her a settlement of more than $3 million in 2006 over the assault, and an initial criminal trial in the summer of 2017 ended in a mistrial.
Constand also told Snow that she's forgiven Cosby for his crime against her, saying that she found it necessary to achieve a sense of peace after the assault.
"I forgave Bill Cosby for what he did to me. I forgive him. It's been many, many years, and if I did not forgive him, I wouldn't have peace. And I sit here today, and I have my peace." she said.
It remains to be seen what kind of sentence Cosby will receive, although again, given his advanced age, it's likely to be an effective life sentence. Cosby's attorneys are likely to plead for leniency in the sentencing process, and it's clear that he's not done fighting, either; his lawyers have reportedly pledged to appeal the conviction.