WOMEN

The 'Cosby Effect' Could Be Causing A Spike In People Reporting Rape

So says New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

There has been a rise in the reporting of rape in New York City, and it's being partially attributed to the visibility of the Bill Cosby allegations.

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton went on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC radio on Tuesday to talk about the low crime rate, gun control and homelessness.

Bratton spoke specifically about sexual assault after Lehrer brought up that the reports of rapes were up 6 percent in 2015. 

"We had a significant increase in 2015 of rapes that were reported from previous years... some of this is going back many, many years," Bratton said, around 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the discussion.

According to Inside Edition, 1,439 rapes were reported in New York last year, up from 1,354 in 2014. Some have pointed to the more than 50 women who have come forward with allegations of sexual assault against comedian Bill Cosby as a potential reason why more women are feeling empowered to come forward and tell their own stories, even if the assaults took place years ago. 

Bratton suggested the the "Cosby effect" in conjunction with the NYPD's concerted effort to encourage victims of rape to come forward, have made a difference in the increase of reports.

Rape is one of the most underreported crimes and experts have pointed to a culture of shame and silence as one reason victims may be hesitant about coming forward.

As 2016 begins, we can only hope that more women and men feel empowered to share their stories and report incidents of sexual assault to the police. If what's happened with Bill Cosby this past year opened a door, then let the new year knock the whole house down.

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