PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The chaos over the Cosby case is headline news and all that attention is apparently helping victims of sexual abuse to reach out.
“The silver lining, I believe, is that this case has empowered individuals who have been victimized to come forward with their case. Their story,” Teresa White-Walston, of Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR), told Eyewitness News. “We are Pennsyvlania’s first rape crisis center.”
White-Walston says since the coverage of Cosby’s sex assault hearing began, she’s seen a 10 percent increase in calls for help, and she expects even more.
“The Cosby case does address the fact that these issues have occurred in people’s lives. And now there is a reason to come forward, and we’re hoping as a result of this, many survivors do come forward,” she explained.
“I unfortunately was a victim of both child sex abuse as well as sexual abuse as a college student,” Laquisha Anthony, a survivor of sex abuse, said. Now, Anthony is an outspoken supporter of victims like herself. “Sexual assault has been this taboo thing where we think it doesn’t happen in our community, or it’s not happening to the rich or the poor, when sexual assault has no gender or economic class. At the end of the day, it can happen to anyone.”
And she also believes the more we can talk about sex absue, even in the context of a celebrity case like Cosby’s, the more other victims will be able to come forward for help.
“I can say it empowers people because you can see the solidarity of victims coming together and saying, ‘this happened to me and you’re not alone,’” Anthony said.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse or would like more information, you can call WOAR’s 24-hour helpline at 215-985-3333 or visit the organization’s website by clicking here.