The Hamilton Spectator

Memoir details journey following Cosby assault case

Victim’s book was meant as act of closure after disgraced star was sent to prison


Andrea Constand was taking what she has described as a step toward healing: 16 years after naming Bill Cosby in a lawsuit as the man who had sexually assaulted her, and three years after he was convicted and sentenced to prison for the crime, she was ready to tell her story in a memoir due to be published in September.

The forthcomin­g book traces Constand’s journey from disbelieve­d accuser to a powerful voice in the #MeToo movement, one of dozens of women who came forward with similar accounts of abuse and misconduct by Cosby but the one who, in the words of her publisher, had “the power to bring him to justice.”

But instead of having the last word, a key part of Constand’s narrative — if not her book — was rewritten last week when the Pennsylvan­ia Supreme Court freed Cosby on procedural grounds. The court did not exonerate Cosby, 83, but said he should not have been charged because a previous district attorney had given him assurances that he would not be prosecuted.

The court’s decision was “disappoint­ing,” Constand and her lawyers said in a statement. And in a case once seen as a harbinger of women’s right to justice, the effect, Constand and her lawyers feared, would be to once again silence victims of assault.

Constand, 48, has movingly described how much the Cosby case upended her life. She called her memoir “The Moment,” as in, the moment everything changed.

“I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward,” she said in her victim impact statement before Cosby’s sentencing in 2018, describing the rippling after-effects of the night when she said he drugged and violated her in his suburban Philadelph­ia mansion.

At the time, in 2004, she was a 30-year-old director of operations with the Temple University women’s basketball team and she considered Cosby, then 66, a grandfathe­rlike friend and mentor. Their encounter — when she was literally immobilize­d by the pills Cosby gave her, according to her testimony — was a profound betrayal, she said.

“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it,” she said in her statement to the court.

Writing the memoir was meant to be an act of closure — a long-delayed one. “I did not want to lose any memories to time and believe that reflection is a necessary final step toward true healing,” she said in an interview with her publisher, according to CBC Books. “By sharing stories, we can begin to help those whose lives have been impacted by sexual violence.”

Neither Constand nor a representa­tive for Viking Canada responded to requests for comment about the status of the book.

In an excerpt that was published last month in Elle, Constand describes the moment in 2005 when she learned that Bruce Castor, who was then the district attorney in Montgomery County, Penn., had decided not to move forward with her case. “It was yet another sharp blow in what had already been, without a doubt, the most difficult year of my life,” she wrote.

It was a decision that would have unanticipa­ted ramificati­ons this year. Castor announced in a news release at the time that his investigat­ion had found “insufficie­nt” evidence to proceed with the case. He has since said that he assured Cosby that he would not be prosecuted to pave the way for Cosby to testify in Constand’s civil case. In deposition­s for the civil case, Cosby acknowledg­ed giving Quaaludes to women he was pursuing for sex.

When the civil case was settled in 2006 for $3.38 million (U.S.), Constand later said she believed that “this awful chapter in my life was over at last.”

But when a new district attorney decided to pursue the charges that Castor had not, Constand agreed to once again put herself on the stand, though she was shamed and exhausted by the process, she has said.

It ended with his conviction in 2018, a moment that was hailed at the time as a sign that in the #MeToo era the accounts of women would be given more credence.

Though her story now has an unwelcome coda, Constand appears unbowed.

Last week, she retweeted a message from Hope, Healing and Transforma­tion, a foundation she started last year to offer guidance and support to survivors, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from her memoir. “Your story and voice matter right now more than ever. Silence is NOT an option. BILL COSBY IS NOT INNOCENT.”

 ??  ?? Andrea Constand’s book, “The Moment,” is set for release in September. It explores her journey after she named Bill Cosby as the man who assaulted her. He was released from prison last week.
Andrea Constand’s book, “The Moment,” is set for release in September. It explores her journey after she named Bill Cosby as the man who assaulted her. He was released from prison last week.

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