Cosby is not innocent
As both a sexual assault survivor and the board chair for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, I was shocked, saddened and angry when I learned that Bill Cosby was released from prison on June 30th.
The Crisis Center serves as Hillsborough County’s certified rape crisis center. We are very concerned that Cosby’s release will discourage current and future survivors from seeking the help they need after a devastating and traumatic event like a sexual assault.
Cosby’s release was due to issues with the legal process and not with the facts presented in the trial. Cosby is a serial rapist who used a position of power as a Hollywood icon. He admitted in court proceedings that he had given Quaaludes to women in an effort to have sex with them. Over 50 women have accused him of rape or sexual harassment. Can you imagine being raped by “America’s Dad”?
Help is available to all sexual assault survivors. Don’t let this frustrating news stop you from getting support. You can call 211 to connect to organizations, like the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, who will believe you, won’t judge you, and want to help you.
Barbara Curts, board chair of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
Mental health help
Failing to help the mentally ill comes with a steep cost | Editorial, July 1
Thank you for your continued coverage of mental health, a problem in all of society. Although there is indeed more awareness and support in comparison to many years ago, the mental health system is still quite fragmented and dysfunctional and in need of improvement, at times even major resuscitation and life support. As evidenced by the now all too frequent mass shootings and other consequences of, in no small part, poorly or untreated mental health illness.
As a long time emergency physician and past associate director of one of the busiest emergency rooms in Florida and one of the few Baker Act receiving hospitals remaining in our region, I continued to witness these significant issues and barriers. We must not only continue but significantly ramp up our efforts to help those in need. As the editorial nicely indicates, we need early recognition and treatment before escalating exacerbations of acute mental illness occurs, while a situation can often be easily handled before a tragic ending results. An ounce of prevention can save physical and emotional injuries, along with health care burdens and costs to our families and friends and potentially avoid loss of lives to everyone in our community and society.
Charlie Sand, MD FACEP, FACP, FAHA, Tampa
The writer is an emergency physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and a part of the Hillsborough County Emergency Medical Planning Council.
Eroding voting rights
Voting is fundamental to our freedom. In the face of efforts to roll back voting rights, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is yet another affront to Americans’ constitutional right to pick their elected officials. We must move quickly to ensure our democracy works for every American.
Paul Bacon, Hallandale Beach