A juror in Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial has made vile comments about alleged victim Andrea Constand, proving how far we still have to go to combat dated attitudes towards consent.
The anonymous man told the Philadelphia Inquirer he did not believe the testimony of Constand because it was claimed she had willingly gone to Cosby’s home and brought him gifts on more than one occasion, once with her midriff exposed.
He said: “Let’s face it: She went up to his house with a bare midriff and incense and bath salts.
“What the heck?”
The juror, one of seven men and five women that made up the panel deciding Cosby’s fate, said that the 44-year-old accuser from Toronto, who said she viewed Cosby only as a friend and mentor and never sought a romantic relationship, should only have gone to his home if she was “dressed properly”.
He also added that he believed Cosby had “paid dearly” for the accusations because his career was in tatters and that he should not face a retrial.
But he refused to say whether he wanted to convict or acquit the disgraced entertainer.
According to a deposition from Cosby read to the jurors, Constand had arrived at the actor’s house with her midriff exposed sometime before the night of the alleged attack, and a consensual sexual liaison had occurred.
Constand denied that this ever took place but the defense’s version of events clearly made an impression on the juror.
When the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict after 52 hours of deliberations, Judge Steven T. O’Neill was forced to declared a mistrial on June 17th, to the consternation of many.
Attitudes like those displayed by the juror show the depressing reality of sexual assault cases and illustrate perfectly why victims are reluctant to report their attacks or seek a prosecution.
Despite the best efforts of campaigners to educate people that how women dress and behave has no bearing on rape; that the blame lies solely with the perpetrator, victim blaming still prevails.
Over 60 women have made accusations against the former household name, with the alleged offences dating back as far as the 1960s.
The juror also told the US newspaper that he believed many of those women “jumped on the bandwagon” and were not telling the truth.
After walking free from court this week to possibly await another trial, the 79-year-old caused further controversy when he announced he was going to hold a series of talks based on sexual assault -not on consent, but on how “young athletes” and “married men” can avoid accusations “when they are doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing.”
Images: Rex Features