Bill Cosby to Hold Town Halls on Avoiding Accusations of Sexual Assault

(Source: WBRC Fox 6 News Birmingham)

Yes, you read that correctly, and all I can really say — in an exasperated tone of voice — is, “What?”

In case it wasn’t obvious given Cosby’s, uh, situation, these won’t be town halls — god forbid they actually happen — on raising awareness for and bringing to light tangible actions that citizens can take to fight rape culture.

No, these will be town halls on how to avoid ACCUSATIONS of sexual assault, meaning these will be town halls with a target audience of people who struggle to elucidate the supposedly blurry boundary between rape and not-rape.

Because Cosby’s spokespeople are citizens of Alabama, they stated these plans on “Good Day Alabama,” a morning news show on WBRC Fox 6 in Birmingham. (The video is available in the above link.)

Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s representative, said, “This issue can affect any young person — especially young athletes of today, and they need to know what they are facing when they are hanging out and partying, when they are doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing.” He said this issue (i.e., determining what constitutes sexual assault) “also affects married men.”

It’s about to get more infuriating and unfathomable.

Ebonee M. Benson, Wyatt’s assistant, said, “People need to be educated on a brush against the shoulder. Anything at this point can be considered sexual assault.”

No words.

Apparently, after the declaration of a mistrial, Wyatt said that Cosby’s “power is back.” You know, like, the power to drug and rape women I guess.

People have spoken out about this being an effort to influence the jury for the retrial — if it happens — and that he would be better off teaching people not to rape. Uh, yeah, no shit.

That NY Times article also says that a juror in the deadlocked initial trial said Cosby had already “paid his price, paid, suffered.” I’m assuming this refers to his loss of being held in high-esteem in the public eye. I mean, god forbid.

I’m sorry, but if you can’t tell the difference between a brush on the shoulder and nonconsensual sex, you probably shouldn’t be having sex in the first place.

At any rate, any unwanted contact shouldn’t happen even if that’s just a brush on the shoulder — unless, of course, it’s a crowded metro or something. I think, however, the difference between unwanted, ulteriorly motivated contact and accidental, unwanted contact is fairly obvious. Are we going to treat the potential perpetrators of sexual assault as dense enough to not be able to see said difference?

“I didn’t know,” isn’t an excuse for rape, and no, the growing statute of limitations on sexual assault isn’t indicative of a brush on the shoulder being considered sexual assault, Benson. It’s indicative of the least lawmakers can do to eradicate rape culture.

Inability to consent, lack of consent, uncomfortable consent, coercion to give consent, and non-affirmative consent IS NOT consent. That’s not an attempt to ruin important men’s reputations. It’s an attempt to stop rape or at least, make it so victims can come forward and get justice! (!!!!!!)

Cosby is in a position of immense privilege, but let’s not forget that black men disproportionately receive harsher sentences for similar crimes. That includes sexual assault. Remember the Stanford rapist. All anybody worried about was his “ruined reputation” and “wrongfully truncated swimming career.”

Privilege allows rapists to be above the law, case in point, and Cosby’s town halls will just teach people how to take advantage of their privilege as a means to evading punishment for their crimes.

I can’t conceive of a reason sexual assault victims would come forward other than to get justice. The defamation they receive is not worth a payout or getting revenge for a sexual encounter they later regretted. To reduce all sexual assault victims’ stories to that is ridiculous and an indefensible effort to protect rapists.

Some 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, and they came out in droves because one woman coming forward encouraged others to do the same, not because they banded together to ruin Cosby’s life and take him to the cleaners.

For Wyatt and Benson to sit there with a sly smile and act like Cosby will be doing a service to society by holding these town halls is the epitome of rape culture in action.

I don’t understand. I can’t understand. I can only hope this will fuel the fight to eradicate rape culture because learning how to avoid accusations of rape is simply learning how to be a successful rapist. Teaching people to NOT RAPE is the only ethical way to combat rape.

Rapists alone are responsible for rape and no one else. Claiming to not know what constitutes rape is a feeble and duplicitous defense. The loss of reputation is not payment enough — rather, not justice — for ruining sexual assault survivors’ lives. Why is that not already clear?

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