Park LaBrea Beverly Press, Nov 2015

Beverly Press

Park LaBrea Beverly Press

The following are two separate articles

Activists rally around Cosby star on Walk of Fame

By Daniel Langhorne, 11/25/2015

Protestors want comedian’s landmark off Hollywood Boulevard

Tourists visiting Hollywood Boulevard on Saturday couldn’t ignore the chants from 80 protestors demanding that California lawmakers end the statute of limitations on rape, following allegations against actor Bill Cosby at his star on the Walk of Fame.

Protestor Ann P. Meredith marched on Saturday at actor Bill Cosby’s star on Hollywood Boulevard. (photo by Daniel Langhorne)

Bill Cosby, the popular comedian and formerly the star from “The Cosby Show,” faces fallout from accusations by women who claim he drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Saturday’s rally was spearheaded by LGBT rights activist Ivy Bottini, 90, of Hollywood and Caroline Heldman of the End Rape Statute of Limitations campaign. Lili Bernard and Victoria Valentino, both of whom claim they were raped by Cosby, passionately spoke of the trauma they suffered and said rapists should not be able to escape justice because the damage they inflict stays with survivors for a lifetime.

“Rape is the murder of the soul and there is no statute of limitations on murder,” Valentino told the group of protestors.

Passersby joined the protestors pacing around Cosby’s star, chanting slogans including, “Hey hey, ho ho, Cosby’s star has got to go” and “However we dress and wherever we go, no means no.”

Bottini said she decided to start the campaign to abolish the statute of limitations after becoming fed up with depictions of women being raped and abused on television shows like “Law and Order.”

“The one thing I know is that when you put feet on the streets, things change,” Bottini said.

Bernard recounted the story of how she was allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. She claims the sound of running water triggers traumatic memories because Cosby poured water on her after the attack apparently to get rid of DNA evidence.

“These are traumas that we [survivors] deal with on top of the re-victimization with shaming,” Bernard said.

She also described the attack as “chemical warfare” on her body because she was drugged and described how she was unable to even wipe tears away because of the drug’s paralyzing effects.

The End Rape Statute of Limitations campaign received support from the Los Angeles chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW/LA). Alexa Schwartz, a program assistant for NCJW/LA, was among Saturday’s speakers advocating for justice for rape survivors.

“There should be no time limit to report this heinous crime,” Schwartz said.

Among the protestors at Saturday’s rally was Ian Jackson, 30, of Los Angeles, who chanted and held a sign that read “Shame on Bill.”

“We take certain crimes in society more seriously than others,” Jackson said. “Certain crimes have no statute of limitations, and rape does and it shouldn’t.”

Jackson also believes that Cosby’s star should be removed from the Walk of Fame in light of the many allegations against him.

“The star is a reflection of what we celebrate in society,” he said. “What does it say about society if we continue to celebrate this kind of person?”

Meanwhile, Cosby faces a defamation lawsuit brought by model Janice Dickinson in Los Angels County Superior Court following his statements that Dickinson lied about being raped .

The rally’s participants were asked to support a bill proposed by State Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) that would abolish the 10-year statute of limitations on rape. Leyva said in a statement posted on her website that she plans to introduce the bill in January.

“Survivors of sexual offenses, including rape, deserve to know that California law stands on their side as they seek justice,” Leyva said. “A sexual predator should not be able to evade legal consequences in California for no other reason than that the time limits set in state law have expired.”

Victims to rally at Cosby’s Walk of Fame star to abolish prosecution time limits

Survivors of the alleged rapes by Bill Cosby will join the End Rape Statute of Limitations (ERSOL) campaign for a public rally  at noon on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cosby’s star is located on Hollywood Blvd. and N. Orange Drive, one block west of Highland Avenue, across from the Chinese Theater.

Organizers are calling for state legislators and the governor to overturn the statute of limitations on rape/sexual assault cases in California. The current time limit is 10 years, which means rape victims who come forward later cannot file charges. Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) will sponsor legislation to abolish the statute of limitations in California this upcoming legislative session, and this rally is in support of her efforts.

“It is vital that we abolish the statute of limitations for rape/sexual assault because it often takes years for victims to report this crime due to fear of retaliation, stigma and victim blaming,” ERSOL representatives said in a statement. “This is a serious crime and victims should be able to report it whenever they feel comfortable doing so.”

Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia abolished their time limit on prosecuting rape.

“It is high time that the most progressive state in the union get on the right side of history with this issue,” the statement read.

Several women who were allegedly victimized by Cosby will be speaking at the event, as well as representatives from ERSOL, the National Organization for Women, Faculty Against Rape, the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles and the Stonewall Democratic Club.

“Survivors have to find the strength to shed the fear of retaliation from the perpetrator, and brave the inevitable blaming and the shaming from others,” said alleged Cosby survivor Lili Bernard. “Rape is such a heinous crime that it shouldn’t matter how much time has passed, if the victim has credible witnesses and evidence.”

Ivy Bottini, organizer and founder of ERSOL, said she decided to put ERSOL together because many women are now coming forward to report rapes and cannot get justice. “Justice must not have a time limit,” she said.

Caroline Heldman, campus anti-rape activist and part of the ERSOL campaign noted that there is no time limit on prosecuting crimes like embezzlement of public funds.

“Survivors of sexual violence rarely come forward to the police,” said Alexa Schwartz, NCJW/LA Program Assistant and 2014 USC graduate. “So when we make that brave step, it is unjust that the law stands in the way because too much time has passed for some of us.”