THEY CALL it a "sisterhood."
Brought together by the pain and unthinkable acts allegedly inflicted on them by "America's Dad," the more than 50 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them over decades have formed a closed social-media group in which they share fears, hopes, and experiences.
"We have a private social-communication tool we use to stay in touch, to let each other know what's happening and when it's happening," said Lise-Lotte Lublin, one of Cosby's accusers. "Almost all of the women are a part of this group ... We call it a sisterhood."
Yesterday, as word of Cosby's arrest on felony sexual-assault charges in Montgomery County spread across the country, the sisterhood got to share a new experience together - joy.
"Our social media started blowing up like you wouldn't believe," Lublin, 49, said from her home in Las Vegas. "There's excitement and elation, but there's fear at the same time, because this is something we dreamed about, we waited for, we hoped would happen, something we prayed would happen, and the reality of it was just surreal.
"There's this fear that somebody is going to take this away from us."
Because the statute of limitations to file criminal charges has run out for many of Cosby's accusers, some regarded his arrest yesterday on charges that he sexually assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004 as a victory for themselves, too.
Janice Baker-Kinney, a New Jersey native now living in California, who said she was sexually assaulted by Cosby in Reno, Nev., in 1982, said his arrest was "a great way to start the new year."
"I've spoken to many of the survivors, and we are thrilled and feel very validated," said Baker-Kinney, 57. "It's a very emotional day, but we have a wonderful support group and a wonderful support system."
Baker-Kinney is one of 29 alleged Cosby victims represented by lawyer Gloria Allred. In a statement yesterday, Allred said that seeing Cosby criminally charged was "the best Christmas present" her clients had ever received.
"So many women who allege that they are victims of Bill Cosby have cried out for justice for so long. In Pennsylvania, there is now a journey to justice in the felony case filed against Mr. Cosby," Allred wrote. "I am very happy this day has finally come."
Dolores Troiani, a lawyer who represents Constand, also issued a statement yesterday:
"On behalf of our client, Andrea Constand, we wish to express our appreciation to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, the county detectives, and the Cheltenham Police Department for the consideration and courtesy they have shown Andrea during this difficult time. In that this matter is now being pursued in the criminal justice system, we will not comment further."
Donna Motsinger, 73, who alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at a California jazz club where she worked in 1971, said she was "having a happy moment" after she learned of the charges.
"I feel very happy for all of the women who have had a really rough year," Motsinger said from her home in New Mexico. "Some of them were so viciously maligned because of their bravery, and so today is a good day for me because it's a good day for them."
Motsinger, who has said she was one of the Jane Does in Constand's 2005 civil suit against Cosby, called Constand a friend.
"She's a beautiful woman, and a brave woman and inspirational," Motsinger said.
Joyce Emmons of Las Vegas, a former comedy-club manager, said that in 1979 or 1980, Cosby gave her a pill for a headache and she then lost consciousness. She said she woke up the next afternoon with a male friend of Cosby's naked in bed with her.
"I was victimized, all right," said Emmons. "I don't know whether he [Cosby] joined his friend or not."
Regarding the criminal charges lodged against Cosby in Montgomery County, Emmons, 71, said yesterday that she would like to see Cosby face Constand in court, but that she was leaving it "in the hands of my lord, Jesus Christ."
Emmons said she believes that strong evidence will be required to convict Cosby.
Asked if she thinks he should go to jail, Emmons said, "Let God take care of him. His career is ruined."
Lublin, on the other hand, said she wants to see Cosby serve time.
"There was always this lingering hope that someone else could get him into jail, because even if just one of us makes it, it makes a difference," she said. "That's what I've been hanging onto this whole time, and to finally see it come to fruition is really incredible."
Lublin, who met Cosby when she was a 23-year-old model in Las Vegas, said she lost consciousness after Cosby gave her two drinks one night in his Elvis suite at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1989. She said she woke up the next day in her own home, unaware of how she got there.
After Lublin went to report the assault to police in Nevada last year and learned that the state had a four-year statute of limitations in sexual-assault cases, she and her husband worked tirelessly to get the statute changed. In May, Nevada's governor signed a bill that raised the statute of limitations for sexual assaults to 20 years. The law went into effect in October.
"I really felt like he had taken something from me, and working on the bill, my husband and I were able to grab control of our lives a little bit, because it felt like it was complete chaos," Lublin said.
"This was more important and it was bigger than Bill Cosby. This was about people's lives and the ability of people to come forward to report a crime when they're ready, and not when somebody else tells them they're ready."
Yesterday, Lublin, now a mother of two and a teacher, said watching Cosby head into District Court on television was "a nice sight."
"I am glad to see he had to walk in there and face what he has done. This is real for him now. He has to stand in front of everybody and accept that everybody knows what he has done," Lublin said. "I hope he feels every moment of it. Every moment and every second, I hope, he is experiencing the fear and confusion of what being arrested is like."
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