Local Rape Crisis Advocates React to Cosby Deposition

Newly released information on a deposition Bill Cosby gave in 2005 is prompting reaction nationwide and here at home.  At the time, Cosby was being sued by an employee of Temple University.  The Associated Press worked for months to obtain the deposition after allegations of rape and sexual assault by 22 women became public.  The women claim they were given drugs, often without their knowledge and then sexually assaulted and or raped. No criminal charges have been filed.

In the deposition, Cosby admitted that he obtained sedatives to give to women he wanted to have sex with.  He says he obtained seven prescriptions for quaaludes and gave the pills to at least two people.  On advice of attorneys, Cosby did not answer a question about whether he had given women drugs without their knowledge.

“Consent is key in sexual assault and rape,” says Kesha Gibson-Carter, head of the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire.  “And a person who is under the influence of any alcohol or drugs is not capable of giving consent.”

Gibson-Carter made a point of saying it “doesn’t matter” if a woman voluntarily takes a substance of drinks alcohol.  ”
being under the influence means you cannot give consent,” she said.

She called the new details in the Cosby case troubling.  But says that will be fought out in national headlines.  Locally, she says this story brings attention to the message that there are victims in our own community, a message she wants to . Emphasize.  “Our focus is always using opportunities like this to encourage our victims not to be paralyzed by fear, not to be paralyzed by shame or regret, but to reach out for help.

She does say it’s not unusual for victims to come forward after others reported the crime.  It gives them the strength, the courage the confidence to know what happened to me really wasn’t my fault, this person was capable of this and this is proof,” she said.  “It’s hard for us when we hold individuals in high regard. Tthey are our mentors our educators our friends our family members and when they do something that crosses that ugly line, it’s hard for us to come to grips with it. And that’s also the reason why sexual assault goes unreported and “under”

GIbson-Carter says 40 percent of local assaults are acquaintance rape, which can make victims blame themselves. She urges victims to call the Rape Crisis Center at 912-233-3000.

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