Andrea Constand, the previous Temple College worker whom Invoice Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting in 2004, submitted her sufferer affect assertion to the court docket in Norristown, Pennsylvania, earlier than Cosby was sentenced to a few to 10 years in jail. Beneath is Constand’s full assertion:
To actually perceive the affect that sexual assault has had on my life, it’s a must to perceive the individual that I used to be earlier than it occurred.
On the time of the assault, I used to be 30 years previous, and a match, assured athlete. I used to be sturdy, and expert, with nice reflexes, agility and velocity. After I graduated from highschool in Toronto, I used to be one of many high three feminine highschool basketball gamers in Canada. Dozens of American schools lined as much as supply me basketball scholarships, and I selected the College of Arizona.
For 4 years, I used to be a taking pictures guard on the ladies’s basketball group, scoring as much as 30 factors a sport. It was an incredible time in my life, and I discovered quite a bit, developed a circle of actually good mates, a lot of them teammates, and travelled across the U.S. to compete.
The one draw back was that I missed my household and developed extreme homesickness. When it began to have an effect on my research and my coaching, my Dad got here up with the concept to maneuver his personal father and mom to Tucson.
My grandparents had been of their late 60s after they gamely agreed to maneuver greater than 2,000 miles to assist me modify to life away from dwelling. They had been retired after promoting their Toronto restaurant enterprise, and figured the nice and cozy, dry local weather would swimsuit them anyway. I had at all times loved a particular relationship with my grandparents. Not solely had I grown up of their dwelling, however I spoke Greek earlier than I spoke English. They acquired an house near mine, and I used to be there most days, speaking and laughing over my favorite home-cooked meals. The homesickness shortly evaporated.
After I graduated from the College of Arizona with a level in Communications, I signed a two-year contract to play skilled basketball for Italy. Going professional took my athletic coaching to an entire new stage. As soon as once more, I thrived within the group environment, and loved travelling Europe though we not often noticed greater than the basketball venues and the lodge rooms the place we slept.
When my contract ended, my former coach from the College of Arizona inspired me to use for a job as Director of Operations for the ladies’s basketball group at Temple College in Philadelphia. It was a busy, difficult place that required me to handle a number of logistical particulars in order that others might deal with coaching the group for competitors. I additionally made all of the journey preparations and went to tournaments with the group and help workers.
It was an ideal job however after just a few years, I knew I wished to pursue a profession within the therapeutic arts, my different ardour. I additionally wished to work nearer to dwelling, the place I’d be reunited with my massive, prolonged household, and plenty of mates.
I knew who I used to be and I appreciated who I used to be. I used to be on the high of my sport, sure that the groundwork offered by my schooling and athletic coaching would stand me in good stead no matter challenges lay forward.
How fallacious I used to be. In truth, nothing might have ready me for a night of January 2004, when life as I knew it got here to an abrupt halt.
I had simply given my two-month discover at Temple when the person I had come to know as a mentor and pal drugged and sexually assaulted me. As an alternative of with the ability to run, soar and just about do something I wished bodily, in the course of the assault I used to be paralyzed and utterly helpless. I couldn’t transfer my arms or legs. I could not converse and even stay acutely aware. I used to be utterly weak, and powerless to guard myself.
After the assault, I wasn’t positive what had really occurred however the ache spoke volumes. The disgrace was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion stored me from turning to my household or mates as I usually did. I felt utterly alone, unable to belief anybody, together with myself.
I made it by way of the following few weeks by specializing in work. The ladies’s basketball group was in the midst of the Atlantic 10 match and was travelling quite a bit. It was an especially busy time for me, and the distraction helped take my thoughts off what had occurred.
When the group wasn’t on the highway, nevertheless, I used to be within the basketball workplace at Temple, and was required to work together with Mr. Cosby, who was on the Board of Trustees. The sound of his voice over the telephone felt like a knife going by way of my guts. The sight of the person who drugged and sexually assaulted me coming into the basketball workplace stuffed me with dread. I did all the pieces my job required of me however stored my head down, counting the times till I might return to Canada. I trusted that when I left, issues would get again to regular.
As an alternative, the ache and anguish got here with me. At my father or mother’s home, the place I used to be staying till I acquired settled, I could not discuss, eat, sleep or socialize. As an alternative of feeling much less alone as a result of I used to be again dwelling with my household, I felt extra remoted than ever. As an alternative of my legendary huge urge for food and “hole leg” — a operating joke in my household — I picked at my meals, trying extra like a scarecrow with every passing week. I used to be at all times a sound sleeper however now I could not sleep for greater than two or three hours. I felt exhausted on a regular basis.
I used the calls for of my new programs to decide out of household gatherings and occasions, and to keep away from going out with mates. So far as anybody might inform, I used to be pre-occupied with my research. However the horrible fact about what had occurred to me — by the hands of a person my household and mates admired and revered — was swirling round inside me.
Then the nightmares began. I dreamed that one other lady was being assaulted proper in entrance of me and it was all my fault. Within the dream, I used to be consumed with guilt, and fairly quickly, that agonizing feeling spilled over into my waking hours too. I turned an increasing number of anxious that what had occurred to me was going to occur to another person. I grew terrified that it’d already be too late, that the sexual assaults had been persevering with as a result of I did not converse out.
Then one morning I known as my mom on the phone to inform her what had occurred to me. She had heard me cry out in my sleep. She would not let me put her off, and insisted that I inform her what was fallacious. She would not accept something lower than a whole and truthful clarification.
Reporting the assault to the Durham Regional police in Toronto solely intensified the concern and ache, making me really feel extra weak and ashamed than ever. When the Montgomery County District Lawyer exterior Philadelphia determined to not prosecute for lack of proof, we had been left with no sense of validation or justice. After we launched civil claims, the response from Mr. Cosby’s authorized group was swift and livid. It was meant to frighten and intimidate and it labored.
The psychological, emotional and monetary bullying included a slander marketing campaign within the media that left my whole household reeling in shock and disbelief. As an alternative of being praised as a straight-shooter, I used to be known as a gold-digger, a con artist, and a pathological liar. My hard-working middle-class mother and father had been accused of making an attempt to get cash from a wealthy and well-known man.
On the deposition in the course of the civil trial, I needed to relive each second of the sexual assault in horrifying element in entrance of Mr. Cosby and his attorneys. I felt traumatized once more and was typically in tears. I needed to watch Cosby make jokes and try and degrade and diminish me, whereas his attorneys belittled and sneered at me. It deepened my sense of disgrace and helplessness, and on the finish of every day, I left emotionally drained and exhausted.
When the case closed with a settlement, sealed testimony and a nondisclosure settlement, I assumed that lastly — lastly — I might get on with my life, that this terrible chapter in my life was over eventually. These very same emotions adopted me all through each prison trials. The assaults on my character continued, spilling over exterior the courtroom steps trying to discredit me, and forged me in false mild. These character assassinations have brought about me to endure insurmountable stress and nervousness, which I nonetheless expertise at the moment.
I nonetheless did not know that my sexual assault was simply the tip of the iceberg.
Now, greater than 60 different ladies have self-identified as sexual assault victims of Invoice Cosby. We might by no means know the complete extent of his double life as a sexual predator however his decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over.
I’ve typically requested myself why the burden of being the only witness in two prison trials needed to fall to me. The strain was —huge. I knew that how my testimony was perceived — that how I used to be perceived — would have an effect on each member of the jury and on the long run psychological and emotional well-being of each sexual assault sufferer who got here earlier than me. However I needed to testify. It was the proper factor to do, and I wished to do the proper factor, even when it was probably the most tough factor I’ve ever finished. When the primary trial resulted in a mistrial, I did not hesitate to step up once more.
I do know now that I’m one of many fortunate ones. However nonetheless, when the sexual assault occurred, I used to be a younger lady brimming with confidence and searching ahead to a future shiny with prospects. Now, virtually 15 years later, I am a middle-aged lady who’s been caught in a holding sample for many of her grownup life, unable to heal absolutely or to maneuver ahead.
Invoice Cosby took my stunning, wholesome younger spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my well being and vitality, my open nature, and my belief in myself and others.
I’ve by no means married and I’ve no associate. I reside alone. My canine are my fixed companions, and the members of my instant household are my closest mates.
My life revolves round my work as a therapeutic therapeutic massage practitioner. Lots of my purchasers need assistance decreasing the results of collected stress. However I’ve additionally educated in medical therapeutic massage at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Most cancers Middle in New York, and sometimes assist most cancers sufferers handle the uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. I assist many others too — folks with Parkinson’s, arthritis, diabetes, and so forth. A few of my purchasers are of their 90s. I assist them deal with the ravages of previous age, decreasing stiffness, aches and pains.
I like my work. I like figuring out that I will help relieve ache and struggling in others. I do know that it helps heal me too.
I now not play basketball however I attempt to keep match. Largely, I apply yoga and meditation, and when the climate is heat, I wish to pedal my bike up lengthy steep hills.
All of it looks like a step in the proper route: away from a really darkish and lonely place, towards the individual I used to be earlier than all this occurred.
As an alternative of trying again, I’m trying ahead to trying ahead. I wish to get to the place the place the individual I used to be meant to be will get a second likelihood.
I do know that I nonetheless have room to develop.
I want to acknowledge a few of the individuals who have helped me get right here at the moment. I’ll at all times be glad about their counsel, friendship and help.
To begin with, my attorneys Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz. These two good, brave ladies have been there for me for the reason that starting. With out them, I’d by no means have been capable of navigate this authorized and emotional minefield.
I may also be eternally grateful to Kevin Steele, the District Lawyer of Montgomery County, who had the heart to consider in me, within the fact, and for trusting that the justice system might get issues right- even when the method needed to be repeated.
I additionally wish to thank Mr. Steele’s unbelievable group of execs. together with assistant district attorneys Kristen Feden and Stewart Ryan, detectives Richard Schaffer, Mike Shade, Harry Corridor, Jim Reape, Erin Slight, Kiersten McDonald, victims providers, and plenty of others, for his or her ardour for justice, their ability, and their exhausting work and perseverance regardless of the percentages.
Thanks to the jurors for his or her civic obligation and nice sacrifices.
Thanks to all the mates, previous and new, who’ve stood by me. You realize who you might be, and every considered one of you has made an enormous distinction. Please know that.
Final however not least, I wish to thank my unbelievable household: my mom, Gianna, and my father, Andrew, my sister Diana, her husband Stuart, and their stunning daughters — my nieces Andrea and Melanie. Thanks for proving time and again that if there’s one factor in life you’ll be able to at all times rely on, it is household.