Sexual assault survivors, local community discuss reliving trauma following Bill Cosby's release
LOS ANGELES - After Bill Cosby was released from prison due to a legal technicality, supporters of sexual assault survivors and women who say they survived Cosby are speaking out.
In 2015, the New York Magazine ran a photo of 35 women who accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them. Since then, the total number of accusers rose to more than 60.
One of the victims was Playboy Playmate Victoria Valentino who calls the survivors she bonded with family.
"We are all just stunned and devastated and outraged," Valentino said.
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Angela Rose shared a three-year-old photo of her with the accuser and lone plaintiff Andrea Constand. Rose said she reached out to Constand when she heard the news about Cosby's release.
"I can imagine how re-traumatizing that can be," Rose said. "I personally know how difficult it is to go through the criminal justice system. Sexual assault is the most underreported crime in the country."
Rose is a sexual assault advocate and survivor with her group, Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE).
Valentino says the silver lining for her is knowing she and other Cosby accusers changed California law in 2017 to eliminate the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault.
"It hasn’t all been in vain," she said. "He will always be a predator pariah, and we can always walk down the street with dignity intact."
If you or someone you know are a victim of sexual assault, help is available. A 24/7, free and confidential hotline is available at 800-656-HOPE (4673).