Fighting Rape Culture: Care2 Protests Cosby

On May 2, I represented Care2 at a protest of Bill Cosby’s performance in Atlanta. It was an absolutely thrilling, empowering, heartbreaking, surreal and exhausting month/weekend

CREDIT: Getty Images/Marcus Ingram

CREDIT: Getty Images/Marcus Ingram

organizing and promoting the protest! Nearly 50 women have accused Cosby of rape and sexual assault, which led more than 34,000 people to sign a Care2 petition asking Outback Concerts, the show’s promoter, to cancel the show. When Outback refused, we took to the streets.

We were joined by famed civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing 17 of the women who have brought accusations against Cosby. Her client, Lili Bernard, also joined us. Bernard is an artist who alleges Cosby drugged and raped her while she was a guest star on the last season of The Cosby show. She gave a brave and emotional speech in which she took back her power. We were also joined by Kaya Thompson, and her wonderful parents, Judy and Bill. Kaya alleges she was coerced into sexual activity with Cosby when she was just 17 years old, and has been a brave and vocal advocate throughout our journey to protest Cosby’s show.

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Julie Mastrine speaking to press. CREDIT: Getty Images/Marcus Ingram

For those who do not believe the alleged Cosby victims, I urge you: read their stories. You will be horrified by what you learn. Understand that for decades, these women have lived with this anguish. They have suffered from PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues because of what this man did to them. For decades they refused to speak out because Cosby’s fame, money, and power led them to fear they would not be believed. It’s up to us to believe them. It’s up to use to stand up for all survivors of rape and sexual assault. To let them know: we hear you, and we believe you. It was an amazing day speaking truth to power and privilege, and I’m endlessly grateful to work for a company where I can be vocal about issues that matter and provide a voice to those who need it. A just society is not one in which a violent predator is provided a platform that affords him riches and fame. I hope we were able to remind Cosby, and his supporters, of that on Saturday evening.

CREDIT: Getty Images/Marcus Ingram

Julie Mastrine speaking to press. CREDIT: Getty Images/Marcus Ingram

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Gloria Allred and Lili Bernard speak to press. CREDIT: Getty Images/Marcus Ingram

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Protestors gathering

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Organizer Brandy Betts leading the protest. CREDIT: Getty Images/Marcus Ingram

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Bill and Judy Thompson, mother of victim Kaya Thompson, hold signs and don shirts reading “Our Daughter Survived Bill Cosby”

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Care2 intern Sarah Rose, Julie Mastrine, and supporter Madeline Boyer

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Cosby survivor Kaya Thompson speaks to press

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Bill, Kaya, and Judy Thompson

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Lil Bernard, Gloria Allred, and protest organizer Brandy Betts

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Gloria Allred speaks to press

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Sarah Rose holds protest signs

View more photos on Getty Images here

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