Prosecutors at Invoice Cosby’s sentencing Tuesday in Norristown, Pa., launched this sufferer affect assertion of Andrea Constand, the previous Temple College worker Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting in 2004:

To actually perceive the affect that sexual assault has had on my life, you must perceive the person who 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 prime three feminine highschool basketball gamers in Canada. Dozens of American faculties lined as much as provide 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 workforce, scoring as much as 30 factors a sport. It was a tremendous time in my life, and I discovered loads, developed a circle of actually good buddies, 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 once they gamely agreed to maneuver greater than 2,000 miles to assist me alter to life away from residence. 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 residence, however I spoke Greek earlier than I spoke English. They obtained an condominium near mine, and I used to be there most days, speaking and laughing over my favorite home-cooked meals. The homesickness rapidly 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 workforce 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 workforce at Temple College in Philadelphia. It was a busy, difficult place that required me to handle plenty of logistical particulars in order that others may concentrate on coaching the workforce for competitors. I additionally made all of the journey preparations and went to tournaments with the workforce and help employees.

Invoice Cosby is taken away in handcuffs after he was sentenced to 3 to 10 years for felony sexual assault on Tuesday. (Mark Makela/Related Press)

It was a fantastic job however after a couple of years, I knew I needed to pursue a profession within the therapeutic arts, my different ardour. I additionally needed to work nearer to residence, the place I might be reunited with my massive, prolonged household, and lots of buddies.

I knew who I used to be and I favored who I used to be. I used to be on the prime 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 mistaken I used to be. The truth is, nothing may 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 having the ability to run, bounce and just about do something I needed bodily, throughout the assault I used to be paralyzed and fully helpless. I couldn’t transfer my arms or legs. I could not converse and even stay acutely aware. I used to be fully susceptible, and powerless to guard myself.

After the assault, I wasn’t certain what had truly occurred however the ache spoke volumes. The disgrace was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion saved me from turning to my household or buddies as I usually did. I felt fully 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 workforce was in the midst of the Atlantic 10 match and was travelling loads. It was a particularly busy time for me, and the distraction helped take my thoughts off what had occurred.

When the workforce 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 cellphone 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 crammed me with dread. I did the whole lot my job required of me however saved my head down, counting the times till I may return to Canada. I trusted that when I left, issues would get again to regular.

The sound of his voice over the cellphone felt like a knife going by way of my guts.– Andrea Constand

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 obtained 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 residence with my household, I felt extra remoted than ever. As an alternative of my legendary large urge for food and “hole leg” — a operating joke in my household — I picked at my meals, wanting 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.

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I used the calls for of my new programs to choose out of household gatherings and occasions, and to keep away from going out with buddies. So far as anybody may inform, I used to be pre-occupied with my research. However the horrible reality about what had occurred to me — by the hands of a person my household and buddies 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 grew to become increasingly 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 referred to 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 mistaken. She would not accept something lower than an entire and truthful rationalization.

After we launched civil claims, the response from Mr. Cosby’s authorized workforce was swift and livid. It was meant to frighten and intimidate and it labored.– Andrea Constand

Reporting the assault to the Durham Regional police in Toronto solely intensified the worry and ache, making me really feel extra susceptible and ashamed than ever. When the Montgomery County District Lawyer outdoors 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 workforce 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 total household reeling in shock and disbelief. As an alternative of being praised as a straight-shooter, I used to be referred to as a gold-digger, a con artist, and a pathological liar. My hard-working middle-class mother and father had been accused of attempting to get cash from a wealthy and well-known man.

On the deposition throughout 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 yet again and was typically in tears. I needed to watch Cosby make jokes and try to 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 believed that lastly — lastly — I may get on with my life, that this terrible chapter in my life was over finally. These very same emotions adopted me all through each prison trials. The assaults on my character continued, spilling over outdoors the courtroom steps making an attempt to discredit me, and forged me in false mild. These character assassinations have precipitated me to undergo insurmountable stress and nervousness, which I nonetheless expertise immediately.

Constand embraces prosecutor Kristen Feden, proper, throughout a information convention after Cosby was discovered responsible in his sexual assault trial in April. (Matt Slocum/Related Press)

I nonetheless did not know that my sexual assault was simply the tip of the iceberg.

Now, greater than 60 different girls 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.

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I’ve typically requested myself why the burden of being the only real witness in two prison trials needed to fall to me. The strain was —monumental. 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 correct factor to do, and I needed to do the correct factor, even when it was probably the most troublesome factor I’ve ever executed. When the primary trial led to 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 looking out ahead to a future shiny with prospects. Now, nearly 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 lovely, 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 dwell alone. My canine are my fixed companions, and the members of my rapid household are my closest buddies.

My life revolves round my work as a therapeutic therapeutic massage practitioner. A lot of my shoppers need assistance decreasing the results of gathered stress. However I’ve additionally educated in medical therapeutic massage at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Most cancers Heart in New York, and infrequently assist most cancers sufferers handle the negative effects of chemotherapy and radiation. I assist many others, too — individuals with Parkinson’s, arthritis, diabetes, and so forth. A few of my shoppers are of their 90s. I assist them address the ravages of previous age, decreasing stiffness, aches and pains.

Cosby’s conviction has been hailed as a milestone for the #MeToo motion. (Matt Slocum/Related Press)

I like my work. I like understanding that I may help relieve ache and struggling in others. I do know that it helps heal me too.

I not play basketball however I attempt to keep match. Largely, I observe yoga and meditation, and when the climate is heat, I prefer to pedal my bike up lengthy steep hills.

All of it seems like a step in the correct course: away from a really darkish and lonely place, towards the individual I used to be earlier than all this occurred.

As an alternative of wanting again, I’m wanting ahead to wanting ahead. I need 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 wish to acknowledge a number of the individuals who have helped me get right here immediately. I’ll at all times be thankful for their counsel, friendship and help.

To begin with, my attorneys Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kivitz. These two sensible, brave girls have been there for me for the reason that starting. With out them, I might by no means have been in a position to navigate this authorized and emotional minefield.

I can even be eternally grateful to Kevin Steele, the District Lawyer of Montgomery County, who had the center to imagine in me, within the reality, and for trusting that the justice system may get issues right- even when the method needed to be repeated.

I additionally need to thank Mr. Steele’s unimaginable workforce 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 lots of others, for his or her ardour for justice, their ability, and their exhausting work and perseverance regardless of the chances.

Thanks to the jurors for his or her civic responsibility and nice sacrifices.

Thanks to all the buddies, previous and new, who’ve stood by me. You realize who you might be, and every one in all you has made an enormous distinction. Please know that.

Final however not least, I need to thank my unimaginable household: my mom, Gianna, and my father, Andrew, my sister Diana, her husband Stuart, and their lovely daughters — my nieces Andrea and Melanie. Thanks for proving time and again that if there’s one factor in life you may at all times depend on, it is household.

CBC | World News


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