More than 50 women have claimed that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them — allegations he has roundly denied — but thanks to the statues of limitations in various states, only one of his accusers was able to bring him to court. The fear of social stigma and accusations of lying have in part caused Cosby's alleged victims to stay silent for years. But the sole woman who was able to press charges, Andrea Constand, is standing up for sexual assault survivors, and according to other Cosby accusers, her courage makes her a hero.
In her powerful courtroom testimony on Tuesday, Constand tearfully explained that she felt "frozen" as Cosby touched her inappropriately after giving her sedatives when the two met in 2002 in his home outside Philadelphia. Cosby denied her allegations, claiming that the encounter was consensual. Constand said she initially remained silent about the incident because she felt "an element of fear." But once she made her allegations public, many other women followed suit.
In a society that often labels sexual assault victims "liars" and "gold-diggers," Constand's testimony is an important reminder that coming forward and sharing your story can send a strong message to others, inspiring them to do the same. In America, around two-thirds of sexual assaults go unreported. But hopefully, Constand's testimony can help to change that figure.
Here's what other Cosby accusers had to say about Constand.
She Has No Fear
Donna Motsinger claims that Cosby assaulted her in the 1970s. Cosby has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
She Has Core Values
She Inspired Me To Come Forward
Tamara Green, a retired lawyer, claims that Cosby assaulted her in the 1970s. Cosby has denied Green's allegations, and repeatedly called her a liar. Green publicly spoke about her alleged assault in 2005 — more than 20 years after it reportedly occurred.
She Is Brave
Victoria Valentino, who remained silent about Cosby's alleged assault for years, flew from her home in Los Angeles to Philadelphia to watch the trial. Cosby has denied all sexual misconduct allegations made against him.
She Is Doing This For All Of Us
Janice Baker-Kinney, a former bartender who says she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby in 1982, came forward with her allegations in April 2015. Cosby's then-lawyer, Marty Singer, said in a previous statement that his accusers' "alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous."
She Is A Hero
Heidi Thomas had claimed that Cosby took advantage of her during an acting lesson in 1984. (Cosby has repeatedly denied all allegations against him.)
Constand has formed an incredible bond with many of the other Cosby accusers. The women have shared, online and in person, their experiences and tips for moving forward. They have even adopted the symbol of a bright pink gladiolus flower as a symbol of their strength and resilience — a symbol that Constand proudy displays on her tattooed arm. Together, they just may inspire other survivors to see themselves as strong and resilient, too.