All Eyes on Cosby Accuser as Sexual Assault Trial Begins

While dozens of women have leveled sexual assault allegations at comedian Bill Cosby, destroying his reputation as “America’s dad,” the question of whether he will be imprisoned will hang on the words of a single woman when his trial starts this week. But Jennifer Long, a former Pennsylvania prosecutor whose non-profit AEquitas advises prosecutors on sexual violence, said she is optimistic that the sight of Constand testifying against a major celebrity could inspire more women to come forward. Experts in sexual assault say victims often behave in inconsistent ways for a variety of reasons. For instance, it is not uncommon for victims to remain in contact with their attackers, perhaps to regain a sense of control or normalcy or to try to understand what happened, Long said. “Although people would like to think that there’s one way that victims of a crime react, we know that how victims react to a trauma is varied,” she said.