A juror serving in the Bill Cosby sexual assault mistrial told reporters that he did not believe Andrea Constand's allegations against the famous comedian because she made the choice to visit Cosby's home bearing gifts and her midriff.
Basically, Constand's story didn't fit his narrow-minded idea of what rape is.
"She was well-coached,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, referencing Constand's two grueling days of testimony. “Let’s face it: She went up to his house with a bare midriff and incense and bath salts. What the heck?”
The Inquirer reports that the juror went on to preach that Constand should not have gone to the entertainer's home unless she was "dressed properly and left the incense in the store," a tone of response many of those who have come forward about being sexually assaulted unfortunately know well. It's the "she dressed like she was asking for it" sentiment that's so common it shows up on T-shirts and signs at every demonstration against rape culture.
In contrast, the juror had a more favorable view of Cosby.
"He was extremely honest," he told reporters. "He admitted to things."
He also expressed worry for Cosby's health, describing him as "weathered" and that he was concerned if the aging comedian was "going to be able to make it through the whole trial."
The juror did not reveal his vote, but Rolling Stone reported that two of the 12 jurors prevented a guilty verdict for Cosby on two of the three counts against him.
For some this view may be a wake up call, but for those who have any experience with sexual assault themselves or who advocate on behalf of survivors of rape it is not a surprising one. Rape culture is synonymous with victim-blaming culture, and often before people evaluate the alleged rapist, they have already discredited the story of the accuser. Impartiality is something that victims of sexual assault do not expect to be given, but nevertheless often still hope for.
The American legal system is working how it is supposed to when everyone in the courtroom gets a fair shake, but after this juror's comments we have to wonder if Constand did.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters