There's been a welcomed shift in how we see men like Bill Cosby. Here's why.

Women around the nation are cheering as a former television powerhouse was brought to justice.

On April 26, Bill Cosby, 80, was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.  

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.


The charges, brought against Cosby in December 2015, were first taken to trial in 2016 but ended in a mistrial because of a deadlocked jury. The case against Cosby was granted a retrial despite attempts of dismissal from his attorneys, and the case was heard in April 2018 in a Pennsylvania courthouse, where the jury entered a verdict of guilty on all charges.

Women at the courthouse and around the nation reacted with pride, gratitude, and a sense of relief that justice had finally been served.  

"This was the story of all of those that took that risk against a rich, powerful, famous man," California lawyer Gloria Allred said outside the courthouse, "took the risk of being denigrated publicly, took the risk of being shamed and blamed."

The well-known comedian, actor, and producer is most recognized as the beloved dad from "The Cosby Show." For decades, the actor led a seemingly respectable, revered life, to the point where he was viewed by many as self-righteous. But, thanks to the raised voices of several women, including Andrea Constand, a very dark truth finally came to light.

Andrea Constand successfully made her case in a retrial against Bill Cosby. Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

According to Constand's testimony, in 2004, Cosby drugged and raped her in his home.

"I was kind of jolted awake and felt Mr. Cosby on the couch beside me, behind me, and my vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully, and I felt my breast being touched," Constand told the jury. "I was limp, and I could not fight him off."

Constand sued Cosby years ago, but Cosby was never charged, and the case was eventually settled. It took this retrial to finally receive any justice.    

Constand's story wasn't unique. To date, more than 50 women have accused Cosby of criminal acts, including rape and sexual assault.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

The face and figurehead of one of the most beloved shows in American television history, Cosby’s downfall seemed unlikely. A formerly revered celebrity, he was a person many believed in and admired. Cosby's character, Heathcliff Huxtable, was a loving father, leading an affluent black family — a rarity on television screens in the 1980s and '90s. For many, it was difficult to separate the character from the man, particularly since there had been such little prior representation of positive black male figures. Even more, Cosby was a wealthy, powerful man who used money and character assassinations against his victims to cover up his crimes.    

Thanks to #MeToo — and the dozens of women who came forward prior to the movement’s rise — judicial standards for how to deal with those accused of sexual assault are starting to shift.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

Originally created by Tarana Burke, the #MeToo movement has taken the world by storm. Not only is it amplifying the voices of sexual assault survivors, it's also helping bring about real justice against powerful men who've been able to get away with their crimes and condemning those who've been complicit in their behavior.

"You have to really fight to get people to pay attention to sexual violence as an issue, specifically as a social justice issue," Burke said.

Cosby’s conviction came just after some speculation claimed that the recent #MeToo movement likely wouldn’t play a role in the case. The movement had certainly gained traction, but it was unclear if the changing norms and visibility of sexual assault would make it to the courtroom. Thankfully, it appears they did.

Photo by Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images.

What's next for Cosby? Each count of assault can incur up to 10 years in jail, so he's facing a maximum sentence of 30 years. While it's unclear how his sentencing will play out, one fact remains transparent.  

Power and privilege no longer have a place in our courts when uplifted, empowered women have the space and capacity to raise their voices.

Hopefully, Constand is able to feel some sense of relief about justice being served and can inspire other women who've gone through similar experiences to fight for what's right. Our judicial system holding Cosby accountable is on behalf of brave, outspoken women who chose to no longer be silent. Our world is slowly but surely becoming better for it.      

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

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