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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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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