From opening statements to closing arguments, the defense has been using tactics of victim blaming and shaming. These are tactics that are used to intimidate survivors – but Andrea Constand will not be intimidated. -ANGELA ROSE
STATEMENT FROM ANGELA ROSE, PAVE FOUNDER
My name is Angela Rose and I am the Founder and Executive Director of the national nonprofit organization PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment and we work to prevent sexual assault and help survivors thrive after trauma. When I was 17 years old, I was kidnapped at knifepoint and sexually assaulted by a man who was on parole for murder. The responding detective accused me of lying – so I became very passionate about the re-victimization survivors often face.
On behalf of PAVE’s fifty chapters and affiliates nationwide, we wish to express our gratitude to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office, the jury for taking time away from their loved ones, and journalists for helping to shatter the silence of sexual violence.
We are proud to support Andrea Constand and her family through this journey. Ms. Constand has been an integral part of PAVE speaking at events such as PAVE’s Empowerment Summits aimed at helping survivors thrive after trauma.
Despite the intense and emotional nature of the trial, Andrea is calm, strong, and grateful that she spoke her truth in the courtroom. In turn, we are grateful to her for endeavoring to do the right thing even when it was far from the easy thing to do.
A hero is not a person who runs into a burning building without fear. Rather, it is a rescuer who sees all the risks, and runs toward danger anyway in order to help others. Ms. Constand knew full well the risk to herself she undertook when she spoke her truth; she did so anyway to pursue justice and to help other victims.
It shows an incredible strength of character to be on the witness stand for over 7 hours with unwavering resolve. From opening statements to closing arguments, the defense has been using tactics of victim blaming and shaming. These are tactics that are used to intimidate survivors – but Andrea will not be intimidated; she courageously shared her truth even when she knew doing so might lead some to question her character. Although the jury may not have reached a consensus, this is still an active trial and is not over.
These shaming tactics are what makes survivors afraid to report – and sexual assault remains to be the most under-reported crime in the country. Yet all of us know a survivor. Every one of us personally knows a survivor of sexual assault, but sadly these crimes are still shrouded in silence and shame. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 females and in 1 in 6 males will be sexually assaulted. We all have someone in our lives who is a survivor, but these crimes are still shrouded in silence and shame. It’s time to remove that shame.
All too often, survivors of sexual assault share common experiences of not being believed, of being blamed, of being ostracized, of being re-victimized, and of being dis-empowered by some of the very people charged with helping them. While Andrea’s story is one of courage and perseverance the nightmare of re-victimization and victim blaming of her and her family are sadly, quite commonplace.
I understand that it may be difficult for people to imagine an icon like Bill Cosby committing such a heinous act as drug-facilitated rape, but people like this – charming and charismatic, can often perpetrate these crimes. Sexual offenders aren’t the strangers in the bushes our parents taught us to fear – it’s our mentors, dates, acquaintances, father figures and people we trust who are most likely to commit a sexual offense. And this can have long lasting, damaging effects.
In 2015, PAVE organized the campaign to revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom with a White House petition that was directly responded to by President Barack Obama in a statement he made about the importance of consent. We did this after a decade-old deposition was unsealed in which Cosby admitted under oath to obtaining Quaaludes, a known narcotic that depresses the central nervous system often described as a sedative with hypnotic effects, to give to women he wanted to have sexual relations with.
This case has brought to the national forefront what defines consent, and we will continue to educate all women and men that drug-facilitated sexual assault is non-consensual. Consent is sober, verbal, enthusiastic and freely given. Consent is a freely given yes, not the absence of a no.
We are passionate about consent education. PAVE’s #ConsentIs campaign has impacted hundreds of thousands of men and women, students and military service members across the country.
Anchored in the definition of empowerment, we must teach consent, mutual respect and honor choices over people’s bodies and their destinies. When we create a world where systems will have survivor’s backs when they speak out — there is no telling the power we will vest in future generations to make the world more just and equitable for all.
Those seeking to do so will learn early on that they are empowered to speak out and to come together in pursuit of such liberty and justice for all, and those few still seeking to perpetrate an assault on the freedom of others will come to realize the power of people coming together.
We must come together to recognize that an injustice to any one of us is an injustice to all of us.
The time is now to come together in our communities to educate, empower, remove the shame and shatter the silence of sexual violence.
STATEMENT FROM DELANEY HENDERSON, PAVE AMBASSADOR
As a survivor of drug-facilitated sexual assault, I have been standing with Andrea since the nearly beginning of this journey through the court system. I personally understand the struggle and pain of being forced to relive my experience on the stand, and having to sit patiently and quietly while a defense attorney works so hard to discredit your character and belittle you. I understand what it is like, to sit back and listen to your perpetrator and his team tell lie after lie about an intimate relationship that never existed.
Andrea is one of the most honest, kind and noble people I’ve ever met. Bill Cosby said himself that he has NEVER known Andrea Constand to be an untruthful person.
Andrea’s story is a symbol for survivors all over the world. So let us not forget, regardless of the outcome today, this case is a huge step forward for survivors of sexual assault in this country.
Lastly, I have a message for all survivors, stand in your truth, it is NOT your fault and there is no shame in being a survivor.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JUNE 16, 2017
MEDIA: DANIELLE FIFE – JAVELIN
* * Media Advisory * *
#WeStandInTruth PRESS CONFERENCE:
SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR’S GROUP STANDS WITH ANDREA CONSTAND SPEAKING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS EVERYWHERE
PAVE AND CONSTAND PARTNER TO PROMOTE HEALING
Norristown, PA – The difficult deliberations over the highly anticipated verdict in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial continue. Angela Rose, executive director of PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment), is holding a press conference on Friday, June 16 at 12:30pm at the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Rose said, “Although the jury has not reached a final decision, this is still an active trial. This is not over and we applaud Ms. Constand for speaking her truth and shattering the silence of sexual violence. This case has brought to the national forefront what defines consent, and we will continue to educate all women and men that drug-facilitated sexual assault is non-consensual. Consent is sober, verbal, enthusiastic and freely given.”
Despite the intense and emotional nature of the trial, according to Rose, “Andrea is calm, strong, and grateful that she spoke her truth in court.” Ms. Constand has been an integral part of PAVE speaking at events such as PAVE’s Empowerment Summits aimed at healing.
PAVE has been supporting the survivors and victims who said they have been harmed by Bill Cosby for years. In 2015 PAVE organized the campaign to revoke Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom with a White House petition that was directly responded to by President Obama in a statement be made about the importance of consent.
This trial also provided a crucial platform to talk about consent. PAVE’s #ConsentIs campaign has impacted hundreds of thousands of students and military service members across the country to educate about the 5 essentials of consent: verbal, enthusiastic, sober, consistent, and freely given. To bring the campaign to your community, you can order the poster set and gender neutral custom “Consent Is____” wristbands by visiting ConsentIs.org. These materials are also available in Spanish.
These efforts are in addition to the PAVE Hollywood initiative that seeks to educate and empower members of the entertainment industry and celebrities to shatter the silence and prevent sexual violence. These members have come together to take a stand against sexual assault and make a difference in their community. Angela Rose, PAVE’s founder, has her own remarkable story of surviving kidnapping and sexual assault that was featured on 48 hours and the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Angela has been featured on Good Morning America, the TODAY Show, CBS This Morning, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN. She was invited to the White House’s launch of the It’s On Us Campaign following her contributions with Vice President Joe Biden to The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, and has been a vocal supporter of Sen. Gillibrand’s work in the senate to aid survivors of sexual violence. Last year Angela was invited to speak at the 2016 United State of Women Summit hosted by the White House.
PAVE has been on the front lines of sexual assault awareness for nearly fifteen years, working on prevention mechanisms and helping survivors heal. They have trained over 50,000 students, 2,500 professionals and military service members to recognize and take a stand against sexual violence. Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE) is a multi-chapter national 501c3 nonprofit that works to prevent sexual assault and heal survivors through social advocacy, education, and victim support. PAVE’s work has appeared on TODAY, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and many others.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Angela, please contact Danielle Fife at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703)490-8845.