'Justice can be done:' Community reacts to Bill Cosby guilty verdict

Updated: Apr. 26, 2018 at 10:36 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The world continues to react as a once-beloved comedian and "TV Dad" has been found guilty of sexual assault. 80-year-old Bill Cosby could face up to 30 years in prison.

"I think it means justice can be done," said Mary Maupai with Safe Harbor. "Coming forward and sharing your story can be scary and traumatizing, and there's the question of 'will it make a difference?' I think that's what this trial shows - it's taken a while, but it can make a difference."

With Safe Harbor, Maupai provides support to sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. She says the Cosby retrial shows there can be a strength in numbers, and hearing the stories of others can compel women to share what they have gone through.

"I think people are understanding no woman deserves this, no individual deserves this," she explained. "This is being done to them without their consent by an abuser. I think the more people that come forward, the more people that talk about it, there's power in that."

Maupai says the verdict of the Cosby retrial is one of the first high-profile convictions in the era of the #MeToo Movement. She says it is important for survivors in the case, and so many others, to receive counseling and be surrounded with an uplifting support system in the healing process.

"Being a victim of domestic violence, I know it's not easy to go through the courts," said Henrico resident Claire Green."They treat you as if they might be lying."

Green admits at some point she "was rooting" for Bill Cosby, hoping the allegations against him were not true.

"I thought, maybe they were doing this because he's too good of a black man, but it wasn't the case," said Green. "A lot of people are going to see it and still call it a lie, but make sure you read and you listen carefully to all the details."

Green says the verdict gives a renewed sense of faith and hope to survivors of sexual assault.

"I'm glad they came to something, a decision in the courts, because it solidifies a lot of things for people who thought they were conspiracies, or not taking it seriously," said Green.

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