I love Bill Cosby. He had a positive influence on my life. But it’s clear now that much of his image was a carefully constructed lie. Not only have 35 women told their stories, but a man who worked for Cosby said one of his jobs was to pay off women.
Some people say we shouldn’t accuse Cosby, because in our justice system, he’s innocent until proven guilty. Well, I say these 35 women are innocent. They are not liars. I am sick and tired of rape victims being treated like they’re the criminals. In our country the evidence must be weighed in a court of law for a conviction, and that’s a good thing. But that doesn’t stop me from having an opinion.
Perhaps you are among those who say the women should have come forward at the time. Even though you don’t believe 35 adult women now, if one teenager had come forward at the height of Cosby’s popularity, you would have believed her and been supportive? I think that is unlikely. I think the people who believe Cosby is innocent now, would most likely have believed the same then. She would have been hated and vilified, receiving even more animosity than these women are today.
Some of the victims were as young as 16 when they were raped. I’m sure Cosby picked many young women who were insecure and far from home, lacking a good support network of friends and family, making it hard for them to deal with the trauma of rape. And, actually, not all of them were silent, although no charges were filed.
Not to mention that 16 is a very young age to have to give up your chosen profession, and to accept that the rest of your life will be difficult, no matter what the outcome. Anyone who had come forward at the time, would never have worked in Hollywood again as anything but a sad curiosity. You know what happens in a situation like this. They may get offers to be in Playboy, or worse. They’re never offered real roles again. If one of the young women had come forward, she probably would have fled the spotlight when it was over and still been badgered by people who blamed her, and called her a liar, even if Cosby was convicted.
The statute of limitations has run out on these cases, there will be no criminal trials. In 2006, Cosby settled a lawsuit from one victim for an undisclosed amount of money. There will be more lawsuits, from women who want the truth to come out. And we need to listen. Shouting them down won’t encourage future rape victims to report crimes. It adds insult to injury, and ensures that rape will continue to thrive in the shadows.