Justice

New Host Larry Wilmore's Stance on Bill Cosby is Braver Than You Might Think

January 23rd 2015

By:
Ashley Nicole Black

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (which took The Colbert Report's old time slot on Comedy Central) has been on for less than a week, and it is already killing it!
 
The second episode centered around the rape allegations against Bill Cosby. And Wilmore didn't pull any punches. He started the broadcast by saying "That mutha-f*cker did it!" And it only got funnier and more pointed from there.
 
Watch the clip of Wilmore's opening monologue below:
 

In addition to being funny (Wilmore's Cosby impression is particularly hilarious), the monologue is insightful and important. 

When it comes to sexual assault, it is bold and radical to default to believing the accusers over the accused. 
 
Sexual assault is the only crime in which the victims are put on trial as much as, if not more than, their attackers. When the people in the clip above give their reasons for assuming Cosby's innocence, try substituting any other crime into their skepticism and see if it still makes sense. Can you imagine someone discounting a mugging because there wasn't a photo of it? Are victims of carjackings accused of trying to get money or fame by reporting the crimes? 
 
Yes, America's judicial system operates under an assumption of "innocent until proven guilty," but as Wilmore points out, that does not apply to the court of public opinion. And in cases of sexual assault, we often seem more willing to assume innocence for the accused, than we are willing to extend the same assumption of trustfulness to the accusers. 
 
Sexual assaults are still grossly underreported (see below). In part because public debates, like the one surrounding the allegations against Cosby, make victims feel that they will not believed if they come forward. Kudos to Larry Wilmore and his team for using their television platform to stand up for assault survivors. 
 
  • Approximately two-thirds of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
  • One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).
  • 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
  • Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
  • Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 68 percent still being left unreported.
  • Only about two percent of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.
The FBI estimates that 1.5 percent to 8 percent of sexual assault allegations are false or unfounded, while the DOJ puts the figure of false accusations at only two percent. (The discrepancy may be due to the FBI including "unfounded" allegations in their figure, which includes cases in which police chose not to pursue investigations for reasons other than the perceived truthfulness of the claim.) 
 
To learn more about efforts to combat sexual assault, click here