Our communities are only safe when their most vulnerable members - women, children, and the elderly - are protected from harm. That means no one, not even society's elites, are "above the law" if they seek to exploit our weaker neighbors. Since the women who spoke out against superstar actor Bill Cosby's sexual assaults have finally been vindicated, now more than ever is the time to take the claims of abuse victims seriously.
Let's keep in mind that the women Cosby assaulted have been waiting not years, but decades, for justice. In fact, the record of allegations against the beloved comedian and TV dad goes back 50 years, a full half-century. And until only very recently, every woman who came forward against Cosby with her story of abuse was shouted down and ridiculed by his lawyers, ignored by the media, and silenced by a well-oiled PR machine.
The Cosby case is just one among many of powerful abusers acting with impunity. Besides Cosby, no one should forget the case of Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, whose charitable Second Mile Foundation was a cover for pedophilia. Over in Great Britain, meanwhile, a number of politicians, businessmen, and celebrities have been exposed as child predators acting in an organized fashion. The well-known late television DJ Jimmy Savile was revealed as a monstrous serial pedophile with likely thousands of victims, while serious allegations against Prince Andrew and deceased former Prime Minister Ted Heath are in the news. Back here at home, no less than former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert was shown to be paying hush money to a victim who was molested as a teenager.
Sexual abuse is a phenomenon that manifests at all levels of society, and the emotional effects are often as terrible as the crime itself. But something is seriously wrong when powerful rapists and pedophiles can freely break the law, preying upon the weak without fear of punishment. Bill Cosby covered his tracks with charities and scholarships, as did Jerry Sandusky, and rest assured that so have other wrongdoers. So how much longer do the wounded among us have to endure in silence? Let's put a stop to abuse right now - if you or one of your friends or loved ones has suffered from sexual assault, stand up and speak out as soon as it's safe. Nobody deserves what these victims have been through, and it's time for the perpetrators - regardless of their social standing - to be held fully accountable.