Larry Wilmore’s Brilliant (And Helpful) Words re: Sexual Assault Survivors

July 4, 2017

As we all know, I adore my old boss, Larry Wilmore. He’s totally the bees’ knees, and hopefully you’re all listening to his podcast!

Anyway, as we all know, he’s a big champion for women – for which I will always greatly be very grateful. And he said something so great on a somewhat recent episode of his podcast. (If you’re searching for it in iTunes, it’s the one with Kumail Nanjiani (who’s a great guest, of course!) from June 22nd.) And anyway, I just thought I’d share what Larry said on this episode in response to everything going on in the Cosby trial. Here it is:

Abuse is a very problematic issue, because people are irreversibly changed in this process. And when – many women are afraid to even report these things, and to go to trial, you know? And the behavior around it is not behavior that can be explained with logic. You know, but that’s how it’s put on display on trial. You know, there are many questions that are presented to the women that um, is trying to explain away the illogic, let’s say, after the abuse happened.

“Why did you call him so much?” “Why did you act like that?” You know… And the fact of the matter is, when you’ve been sexually abused or assaulted, there is no logic to your actions at this point, because you have been victimized. It can’t be explained with logic. And that is a very problematic issue if you are in a court of law.

I wanna know why there aren’t more questions directed at “why did you give her pills?” “Why did you drug someone?” “Why did you think that was a good thing?” To me, that should be the important questions – not about her behavior of “why did you call him so much?” It’s always putting so much emphasis on the victim in these cases. You know, I just think, that’s what makes these issues problematic for juries, problematic for people to sort out the issues, because they are he said/she said and that sort of thing.

One of the things that comes out of it is that because these issues are very problematic, and because they’re hard to convict, it prevents women from speaking out against it and from uh, even wanting to take these things to trial, um, because of these sort of outcomes.

But let me just say this, I know that that’s difficult and everything. I wanna send a message to the men out there who I believe should make an effort to become bigger allies for women in this case. I think if more men become allies for this, and you know, stand up with a voice on this issue as much as possible, I think it can help people who have been victimized and abused to come out (as problematic as these things can be).

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?