A jury found Bill Cosby guilty on three counts of sexual assault on Thursday. After a jury failed to reach a verdict last year, the outcome of the retrial represents the first step toward getting justice for his victims, many of whom remained silent for decades.

In recent years, at least 60 women have come forward with stories of being sexually abused, assaulted, or raped by Cosby. However, the 80-year-old has only been found guilty of sexually assaulting one of those women, Andrea Constand, who he drugged and then assaulted in 2004. 

The statute of limitations for most of the other women the comedian abused has run out, meaning they will never see their day in court. However, several of the women testified during the trial and have said they feel validated by Constand’s win.

Take Action: Tell World Leaders to Redouble Their Efforts By Amending Laws to Prevent Sexual Violence

“I feel like I’m dreaming. Can you pinch me? I feel like my faith in humanity is restored,” Lili Bernard, one of the women Cosby allegedly abused, told MSNBC after the verdict was announced.

After a slew of accusations against powerful men in Hollywood have come out in the last year following the bombshell reports on movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Cosby is the first to actually be convicted for his crimes. He has not been sentenced yet, but could receive up to 30 years in prison — 10 years for each charge.

Read more: The Very Good Reason People Are Posting ‘Me, Too’ All Over Social Media

Now people are celebrating the verdict for bringing victims of sexual assault everywhere one step closer to justice and restoring the hope that one’s abusers can and will be brought to justice, no matter how powerful they may be.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexually abuse and assault in the workplace, the jury’s verdict reflects progress in the fight for women’s rights and equal protection by the law. But as Vox’s Anna North points out, the trial itself shows there’s still a ways to go under women are treated fairly by the American justice system when it come to sexual assault accusations.

In both the trial last year and the recent retrial, Cosby’s lawyers used smear tactics and openly victim shamed the women who bravely testified against him — but this time it didn’t work. People have also been quick to point out that the man whose decades of abuse gave rise to the #MeToo movement, producer Harvey Weinstein, has yet to be taken to court and held to account.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of gender equality and women’s rights. You can take action here to call on those in power to #LeveltheLaw by enacting policies to protect women and girls against sexual violence and amending gender discriminatory policies in legislation.


Demand Equity

11 Inspiring Reactions to Bill Cosby’s Guilty Verdict You Need to See

By Daniele Selby