On Sept. 25, In Touch has obtained the victim impact statement of Bill Cosby‘s first accuser Andrea Constand. Though we have heard her recounting of the 2004 attack before, her heartbreaking five-page letter dove into the aftermath of the crime. She says Cosby’s assault changed her from “a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” to “a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.”
“To truly understand the impact that sexual assault has had on my life, you have to understand the person that I was before it happened,” she began, describing her former self as a “fit, confident athlete” who knew who she was, “at the top of” her game. She considered Cosby to be a mentor and a friend to her, until the attack.
“Instead of being able to run jump and pretty much do anything I wanted physically, during the assault I was paralyzed and completely helpless,” she recalled. “I could not move my arms or legs. I couldn’t speak or even remain conscious. I was completely vulnerable, and powerless to protect myself.”
That powerlessness continued after the crime. “The shame was overwhelming,” she wrote. “Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself. I couldn’t talk, eat, sleep or socialize.” And when she tried to do something about it, Cosby’s legal team’s response “was swift and furious. It was meant to frighten and intimidate and it worked.”
Not only was she threatened legally, but socially. “The psychological, emotional, and financial bullying included a slander campaign in the media that left my entire family reeling in shock and disbelief,” she said. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his lawyers made her recount the assault, which proved even more harrowing.
“I felt traumatized all over again and was often in tears,” she said. “I had to watch Cosby make jokes and attempt to degrade and diminish me, while his lawyers belittled and sneered at me. It deepened my sense of shame and helplessness, and at the end of each day, I felt emotionally drained and exhausted.” After they settled and signed a non-disclosure agreement, Cosby continued publicly attacking her and she could not even respond.
But now, sharing her story may very well have lead to the downfall of someone who has caused numerous women a similar torture. “We may never know the full extent of [Cosby’s] double life as a sexual predator,” she wrote, “but his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over.”
“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy, young spirit and crushed it,” she said. “He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature, and my trust in myself and others.” But her life isn’t over, and she’s ready to heal. “Instead of looking back, I am looking forward to looking forward. I want to get to the place where the person I was meant to be gets a second chance. I know that I still have room to grow.”