All Articles Tagged "sexual assault"
I’ve been gravely disappointed during this ongoing Cosby scandal. Partially because the Bill Cosby I’d watched and admired was now marred by this scandal but mostly because of the people in my circles who tried to demonize the women who spoke out against him. After all, I never knew Bill Cosby. I do, however, know the family members, friends, distant associates and others who asked questions like “why are these women just now coming forward?”
This type of thought pattern just showed that there is a gross ignorance among people about sexual assault and what happens, emotionally and psychologically, to the women who have endured it.
And while I’ve tried to fight the good fight on my Facebook page and in conversations where it happened to come up, explaining that there is no set way to process trauma; now there is empirical, anecdotal evidence to support what I had been saying all along, especially as it pertains to Black women.
A New York based human right’s organization, called Black Women’s Blueprint, is conducting an ongoing study which found that nearly 60 percent of Black women have been involved in a coercive sexual assault by the time they are 18-years-old.
And in relaying her own story, one of these women explained in an article with Raw Story why it’s so hard for Black women to report their sexual assaults to the authorities.
If we report our assaults to police, we risk being retraumatized not only by the inhumane process of reliving a violent experience through sharing its gory details – but also by the violence of the criminal justice system itself , which treats rape victims like suspects . Worse yet, the police themselves commit assault with impunity ; often, they target black women in particular , knowing our existence at the intersections of racism and misogyny make crimes against us far less likely to be investigated .
To be a “ good rape victim ” is to immediately report your assault to the police (even knowing you will likely never see “justice” ), but to be a good black person is to avoid the police entirely because your life quite literally depends on it . The tightrope walk is impossible.
These words sound alarmingly like the ones Beverly Johnson wrote when she detailed her sexual assault with Cosby. You might recall that she hesitated coming forward because, with all the racial tension in the country these days, she didn’t want to be the Black woman attempting to drag a Black man down.
She knew before the essay was even published that she would be in for a world of scrutiny and judgement.
And she was right. My heart broke as I watched people, some of them MN readers (women), call Johnson everything but a child of God for daring to step forward with this story.
If Johnson, with her illustrious career and the respect she’s earned in the industry, was torn down in this way, imagine what happens to the “unknown” women who tell their doubting family members and law enforcement officers about their own sexual assaults? The outcome is not likely to provide any closure. In fact, the experience of being doubted, questioned or further victimized might just result in even more trauma.
To paraphrase one of my Facebook and real life friends: ladies and gentlemen, the women in your life, who’ve been quietly living with the secrets and burdens of their own sexual assaults, are watching you and your reaction to this whole Bill Cosby situation, wondering if they should continue to remain silent and whether or not you’ll doubt them too.
To date, 29 women have come out and accused Bill Cosby of varying levels of sexual assault. Woven throughout their stories are the same claims of drug use and an abuse of both Cosby’s power and celebrity status. The allegations date as far back as 1965 and as recent as 2008. And while there are no criminal investigations going on for any of these claims, a few of his accusers are launching civil lawsuits.
Despite the overwhelming uproar and the many allegations, the embattled comedian has kept very quiet. As his lawyer put it, “he will not justify these allegations with a response.” So instead, the few friends he does have left in the business have been stepping up to take the heat for him. Most of them are women.
Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, Keshia Knight-Pulliam, Whoopi Goldberg, Jill Scott, Stacey Dash and Vivica Fox have all come to the defense of their friend, mentor and/or former co-star. Most of these women have dismissed or questioned the claims of these accusers, and a few have even called the allegations baseless, much like Cosby’s lawyer has every time a new accusation surfaces.
But while they feel that they’re speaking up for good reason, their dismissal of what these women have allegedly gone through is hurtful.
When the media swarm began and women from all walks of life started to come forward, I didn’t want to believe them either. This is someone I grew up watching faithfully. He was behind the strong on-screen African-American family I would hope to one day have when I reached adulthood. This is a man known for his many philanthropic efforts. This is also a man who motivated me during his commencement speech at my alma mater, Temple University.
But something is definitely going on that can’t be ignored.
Whoopi Goldberg’s open skepticism of Barbara Bowman’s accusations on “The View” came off as distasteful: “Don’t you do a kit when you say someone has raped you? Isn’t that the next step once you make an allegation? Don’t the cops take you into a hospital for a kit?” Her questions may seem appropriate, but her choice to pose them on her platform is what keeps other victims of sexual assault from coming forward.
Phylicia Rashad’s own controversial comments and choice to make this situation less about the women and more about a legacy being tarnished alludes to the idea that their hurt and shame isn’t worth listening to.
Like Goldberg and Rashad, I wanted to find “holes” in these stories. I questioned and asked, why now? But that is simply victim shaming, and finding an excuse for Cosby, who chooses to use this situation as material for his stand-up.
And while I look up to most of these women and can appreciate that they have positive relationships with Cosby, they were not there and certainly shouldn’t shut down these women and their stories. Without the facts, you can’t dismiss them or Cosby, so people should stop trying.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 68 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Discounting these women for when they decided to come forward sends a message to other victims that the road in seeking justice may be too hard and not worth the fight, especially if and when your attacker is rich and famous. Bowman claimed that she was laughed out of an attorney’s office once for coming up with such “stories” about what she had claimed to have been through.
Rape and sexual assault are very hard to talk about. Whether the alleged attacker is John Doe who bags groceries, or a powerful actor with a lengthy list of accomplishments, it is not the VICTIM who should be heavily scrutinized.
We don’t know what happened 20, 30 or 40 years ago in those dressing rooms or within the walls of the home he shares with his wife, Camille. But in such a high-profile case, we should not put these women on trial just because they have been unable to put Cosby on trial within the courts.
A former Uber driver in Chicago has been hit with criminal assault and criminal sexual battery charges after a young woman said he forced himself on her during a ride home.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the woman was hanging out with her co-workers on the North Side of the city when she decided to call an Uber in the early hours of November 16. She was picked up by Maxime Fohounhedo around 3 a.m., and instead of riding in the back per the usual, she was asked to ride shotgun. Fohounhedo claimed that he didn’t know the directions to get to her place and said she should sit in the front to point out where he should go.
After a short while, Fohounhedo started to touch the woman inappropriately as he pulled up to a residence that was not her own, and she ended up blacking out. It’s unclear if she blacked out from his attack or from being inebriated, but when she awoke, the woman told police that Fohounhedo was on top of her, and on top of her in an unidentified residence on the 2600 block of West Lawrence Avenue.
According to the Tribune, Fohounhedo finally took the woman to her residence after assaulting her, and when she got home, she contacted a friend to tell them that she had been raped. According to the Washington Post, in the police report, officers said that her message to her friend read like this:
“I was just sexually assaulted by my Uber driver and I’m supberb[sic] drunk, but I need someone to remind me to follow through to make sure this never happens again.”
Hours later, she went to police and filed a report. Afterwards, she was taken to the hospital.
Since then, Fohounhedo, who was a driver for the lower cost option UberX, was removed as a driver by the company and charged by police. He is scheduled for a bond hearing today.
Back when police were first investigating the assault claim, a spokesperson for the company, Jennifer Mullin, had this to say:
“We immediately removed the driver from the Uber platform when we learned of the incident and are cooperating with the Chicago Police Department in the ongoing investigation.
This is an appalling and unacceptable incident, and first and foremost our thoughts are with the victim and her family.”
Mullin also stated that drivers do undergo a “rigorous background check.”
Uber is a car ride-sharing service available in more than 50 countries, and it was picked as USA Today’s tech company of the year in 2013. But Uber has also faced quite a bit of criticism, specifically from taxi companies who oppose it, as well as from people who criticize it for occasional exorbitant trip prices and for putting passengers and other people’s safety at risk. In August, a driver suffered a seizure that resulted in the individual hitting a pedestrian. A man was reportedly kidnapped in D.C. after an Uber driver wouldn’t let him out of the car as it was being chased by police. And a driver in San Francisco was charged with manslaughter after hitting a family walking in a crosswalk. A 6-year-old girl died.
But despite all that, the service is gaining popularity for its convenience, and considering that taxi cab drivers aren’t out here with flawless records, more needs to be done in general to ensure the safety of passengers.
With sexual assault awareness on the rise, the Department Of Justice recently released a study looking at which women have the greatest risk of being raped and, surprisingly, the study found women who don’t enroll in college have a higher risk at being raped than their collegiate counterparts. Study authors Callie Marie Rennison of The University Of Colorado and Lynn A. Addington of American University noted in their New York Times editorial piece:
“We found that the estimated rate of sexual assault and rape of female college students, ages 18 to 24, was 6.1 per 1,000 students. This is nothing to be proud of, but it is significantly lower than the rate experienced by women that age who don’t attend college — eight per 1,000. In other words, these women are victims of sexual violence at a rate around 30 percent greater than their more educated counterparts.The focus on sexual violence against some of our most privileged young people has distracted us from the victimization of those enjoying less social and economic advantage.”
Rennison and Addginton also discovered that despite the statistics stating women who don’t go to college have an increased chance at becoming sexually assaulted, they didn’t find any studies that could specifically point to where the connection lies between rape and socio-economic disadvantages. Their study did find women who lived in households with annual incomes less than $7,500 are sexually victimized 3.7 times more than women who live in households with incomes of $35,000 or more. Home ownership is also a factor concerning sexually assault, with the study stating “Woman living in rented properties are sexually victimized at 3.2 times the rate of women living in homes that they or a family member own.”
In the conclusion of their study, Rennison and Addington claim it is important for sexual assault awareness campaigns to focus on women who are marginalized and don’t have the same resources as those who are educated. Interestingly enough, there are women who are enrolled in higher education but still lack basic resources they are believed to have. Depending on the campus culture, many sexual assaults and rapes go unreported or uninvestigated leaving victims to fend for themselves.
Jezebel also notes, campuses are not “rape-riddled places in society” where parents cannot send their daughters without feat of assault, but the way campus administrations have historically handled rape allegations has lead the greater public to expect the disappointing norm: closed-door hearings and a lack of disciplinary consequences. What appears to be the missing link between poverty, sexual assault and even education is how law enforcement participates in bringing justice to victims.
This past summer, a group of North Carolina State University students launched their roofie-nail polish alert product. By just swirling your fingernail in your drink, you would be able to tell if you had been drugged:
If common date rape drugs such as GHB, Xanax or Rohypnol are present in the drink, the nail polish color will change. The inventors of Undercover Colors: Stephan Gray, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, Tasso Von Windheim, and Ankesh Madan state via their business Facebook Page:
With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger. If her nail polish changes color, she’ll know that something is wrong. Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators. We are Undercover Colors and we are the first fashion company empowering women to prevent sexual assault.
More recently, another company called Stiletto has released their own product to help keep women from becoming victims of sexual assault. Used as a bracelet or necklace, Stiletto is a pendant that can be double clicked when a woman is harmed or feels unsafe. It will notify her emergency contacts along with a text that can include a selfie, other emergency contacts to call, medical conditions and her insurance information according to Cosmopolitan. The pendant will also share the woman’s location and call 911 for her.
“The very nature of wearables, because they are on the body, there is an expectation that they need to be more fashionable, more stylish, and more unique to the individual,” said , Michael Kisch, CEO of Soundhawk a wearable technology company. He also claims within the next few years wearable tech products with help tackle issues such as personal security. Moreover, stories of sexual assault and domestic violence have been making headlines here and around the world more and more this year.
According to Stiletto’s website, the pendants currently cost an between $179 and $349. This also creates a financial barrier and raises the question: What demographic or even type of woman do these companies want to keep safe?
“It Was As If Bill Had Morphed Into Another Person” Katherine McKee, Sammy Davis Jr.’s Former Girlfriend, Says Cosby Raped Her
The list of women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault continues to grow. Today it’s 65-year-old Katherine McKee, actress, casting director and former “road wife” of the late Sammy Davis Jr. McKee told the New York Daily News that Bill Cosby, a mutual friend of Sammy and hers, raped her in the early seventies when she was on tour, in Michigan, with Davis.
McKee, a former Vegas show girl, said that she had known Cosby for eight years when the rape took place, making her one of more than 20 women who have accused the comedian of sexual assault.
She said, “Back then, I was Sammy’s road wife. He had an open marriage, and we were lovers. That’s how it went.”
McKee said Cosby raped her seemingly out of nowhere when she decided to extend her stay in Detroit so she could visit family. Cosby was in town too and invited her to attend a party on a boat.
McKee said she accepted the invitation because “He was a buddy. He knew I was Sammy’s girl.” Before she was to meet up with Cosby in his hotel room before the party, he asked her to pick up some ribs from a local spot called Checker Bar-B-Q.
“I remember I walked in the door, and he had a robe and cap on. He took the ribs from my hands and just grabbed me. He spun me around, pulled my panties down, and just took it. We were still standing at the door when he attacked me. It was so fast and so shocking and so unbelievable. To me, there was a different personality involved. He was a different man. It felt like a different person performing that act.”
Afterward, McKee said that she ran to the bathroom to compose herself. Cosby got dressed and said nothing until he told her it was time to go and they rode the elevator down to the lobby where someone was waiting to escort them to the party.
“I never said a word. I was too uncomfortable about it. Bill was so rude and cold toward me the rest of the night. I thought, ‘When this boat docks, I’m out of here.’ I just left.”
McKee said she never spoke of the incident to Sammy Davis Jr. She said the entertainer had enough problems of his own and “I didn’t want to put that in Sammy’s head.”
She said, “I was mad at my own self for not saying, ‘What the f—?’ Why didn’t I stop it and get him away from me? But it happened too fast. I was absolutely flabbergasted. And I had the guilt. I questioned myself, ‘Why did I go there? Why did I bring him those ribs? Maybe he thought that’s what I wanted too?’”
McKee, who appeared on “The Bill Cosby Show” back in 1971, before the attack and “Sanford and Son” in 1972, said that she buried the incident.
“I figured, ‘If I don’t think about it, it won’t bother me.’ Of course with all these women surfacing now, it flushed it out.”
“It was rape, but it seemed so strange to call it that. We think of rape as a stranger who attacks you in a parking lot.”
“I chalked it up to another powerful person in Hollywood who just felt he could take what he wanted from women.”
McKee also addressed the statement Camille Cosby recently released, calling it embarrassing, particularly the part where she called her husband the victim in this situation.
“I knew (Camille). We’d been to dinner, all of us, many times. This is not a stupid woman. She has her head buried in the sand.”
And she also explained why she waited so long to speak about this.
“I was really afraid for my career. Afraid that it wasn’t the smart thing to do, to make a big stink of it. I have discovered and learned in my years in show business, which have been quite a few– I started my career in the late sixties– that this kind of thing happens a lot. Men in show business are very powerful and they assume that they’re going to get from you, sex. It’s an unspoken word. It just happens. They expect that you’re going to give it to them and you kind of figure you’re going to give it to them and they take it often, what they want. I figured because of the Hollywood mindset, it would be better for me if I didn’t say anything to anybody.”
What shocked me and surprised me was as this story is beginning to come out and all these women are coming forward the things that happened with the other women–because Bill didn’t drug me and it was so quick and so fast– I was standing. But to hear, it doesn’t surprise me. I’m not shocked by it. I totally believe it and I felt it was time to step up and step forward. And also I think that a lot of young women trying to have a career in show business, I think they really believe that they have to put up with these kind of things in order to make it and have a career…It is common in the business and I just felt that now I’d be safe with the other women in the group and I would come forward and support them and say ‘Yeah it happened to me, also.'”
McKee also said that she believes all the women with allegations should take a lie detector test.
McKee said if she could ask Cosby one thing, it would be why? Why would he do this to her when they were friends, when he knew she was Sammy’s girlfriend, and why when he had women throwing themselves at him.
As far as punishment, McKee said what she thinks needs to happen to Bill Cosby has already happened and is happening to him and she wonders why he thought he could continue to live this secret lifestyle without anyone ever finding out.
“Bill’s not the only man in show business that’s behaving this way, it’s just–I guess– his turn right now.”
You can watch McKee’s interviews in the videos below.
What happened to her that night
On why she’s speaking up now.
Some of us understand the prevalence of rape. Some of us even know how such heinous, inhumane acts affect the psyche. And even though some of us have grasped these concepts, we were still astounded to learn of Jada. The Houston teenager was not only drugged and raped by two different men, images of her naked body sprawled across the floor were posted all over social media. They even created a hashtag, #jadapose. And as if this weren’t enough, people were using Twitter and other social media websites to shame Jada, blaming her for her own rape.
This story could have ended tragically. But luckily, instead of keeping it to herself or being to ashamed to speak up, Jada fought for herself. And thousands across the country, including celebrities, fought with her, creating the #IAmJada hashtag.
Thankfully, today, five months after the incident occurred, MSNBC reported that two people have been arrested in Jada’s rape. One of them a grown man and another, a minor.
This is what Jada had to say about the arrests, support from her followers and what a family spokesperson had to say about legislation and cyberbullying.
“It’s wonderful about the arrests. But I’m just grateful and thankful for everyone who followed and supported me.”
“I would like to see justice. Justice in full effect and that’s it.”
Quanell X, a local leader of the New Black Panther Party and the family’s spokesperson said that he was surprised it took authorities so long to make an arrest when both accused rapists confessed and were even bragging about the incident on social media. There was also evidence that showed Jada wasn’t the only girl they did this to. But at one point another investigator took over the case.The adult man was charged with two counts of child sex assault.
Jezebel exposed Quanell X’s interesting backstory. In 2011, 13 African American men were accused of gang raping an 11-year-old Hispanic girl. X held a rally that seemed to play on the tension between the Black and Latino community, asking the group where was the girl’s mother, father and even asking why an 11-year-old child, who had been assaulted by these two men before on a separate occasion, didn’t report her rape to the police. Quite sick and in direct contention with the story he’s supporting today.
Commenters on Jezebel have argued that Quanell follows the cameras. But perhaps there’s more to it. Maybe X felt justified in blaming a Hispanic girl if it would protect the images of these Black men, though some of them admitted their guilt as well. The point is a child should never be blamed for something like this–nor should she be further shamed with questions about why she didn’t report it.
Perhaps he’s had a change of heart on rape victims and his former rape apologists views. But either way, severe side eye to Quanell…
As far as this case goes though, X hopes the social media attention Jada’s story has raised will help legislatures make some type of move against cyberbullying.
“I believe that we’re attempting to work with state legislatures right here in Texas to make cyber bullying a crime. Because you have so many people out there who are victims of sexual assault but they don’t want to be bullied through social media, so they tend to keep their stories to themselves and never come forth. We don’t want to allow social media, which has been a gift and a curse in many cases, to stop victims from speaking up about being a victim of a sexual assault or a crime.”
Jada says her life is not the same anymore but it’s also not the worst. She also said that while she hasn’t gotten much support from the teenagers in her community, the adults and people she doesn’t know have been very supportive.
Ronan Farrow asked Jada before she left what advice she would give to others who find themselves in a similar situation.
My advice to you guys is just to pray and speak out and just tell nothing but the truth.
Is she glad she spoke out?
Yes, I am glad because I needed my story to be heard.
What have you learned from all of this?
“I learned that some people have hearts and some people just go off of what they hear.”
What do you want to do in the future?
“I would like to keep working on this with others, other people who are going through this in the near future. But I would like to go to college and then become a pharmacist.”
Again, we commend and even thank Jada for stepping forward after an unimaginable ordeal and using her trauma to help others. We wish her nothing but the best.
Earlier this month, we reported about Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings and his disparaging comments to the female students on campus.
His comments were so foul and brought so much negative attention to the university that Jennings was forced to resign.
In case you don’t remember or didn’t initially hear or see what he said, the gist of it is he told an assembly full of women not to put themselves in situations where they could be raped. He encouraged the female students not to report their rapes, if they did indeed occur because they could ruin someone else’s life. And then he went so far as to say that the three women who did report their rapes last semester were lying, that they wanted relationships with the men who raped them and when it “didn’t turn out the way they wanted,” they cried rape.
I wish this weren’t true.
His remarks were widely reported after they were recorded and posted on YouTube. And naturally, subsequently shunned. Several individuals, media outlets and even parents of current students criticized the comments as appearing to blame women for sexual assault.
Jennings attempted to apologize for his remarks, saying that he would never discourage women from reporting rape or sexual assault.
But the damage had already been done.
According to theGrio, Lincoln University accepted Jennings’ resignation Monday morning and named the school’s general counsel Valerie Harrison as acting president while they search for a permanent 14th president for the University.
Just Like She Said: Janice Dickinson Releases Pictures Of Bill Cosby In That Patchwork Robe+ New Victim Steps Forward
Earlier this week, we told you about Janice Dickinson stepping forward once again with her allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her in Lake Tahoe back in 1982. And in detailing the story, she recalled that right before she remembers passing out, she watched as Bill Cosby untied the belt of his patchwork robe.
Well, Janice recently sent polaroid pictures from that night to TMZ. And like she says, Cosby is sitting there, in a patchwork robe, talking to someone on the phone.
Judging by the amount of skin you see on his chest and his legs, under the table, I doubt he has a whole lot of clothes on underneath.
Janice told TMZ she took these Polaroids in the hotel room after she took the pill but before she actually blacked out.
Dickinson says she woke up the next morning with semen in between her legs.
The pictures certainly don’t corroborate, without a doubt, Janice’s story of sexual assault. But I certainly find it jarring to see these images after listening to her story.
Several will reference Dickinson’s sexual past, to which she’s admitted, as a reason not to believe her. But perhaps, she took the picture before the assault because she could feel herself slipping away.
Unless that picture reveals something we can’t readily see, we’ll probably never know what happened.
Whatever did happen that night, we can all agree that Cosby, with his wedding ring on his finger, and in this state of undress, shouldn’t have been there.
What do you make of the pictures?
And in other Bill Cosby sexual assault news, poet Nikki Giovanni, seven years ago, spoke openly about Bill Cosby’s penchant for pulling his pants down.
Then, as if all of this weren’t enough, another victim has come forward. 52-year-old Angela Leslie, a former model and actress, spoke the the New York Daily News about her Bill Cosby sexual assault story. And shockingly, her story is much like Barbara Bowman.
Cosby, under the guise of advancing her career, invited her to meet with him. And like Bowman, he told her to pretend like she was drunk and gave her a dark drink to aide her in the exercise. But Leslie said she only pretended to drink it because it was too strong for her.
Afterward, Cosby instructed her to wet her hair. She did so and when she came back into the room, Cosby was in bed.
“He had taken his clothes off. He summoned me over to the bed and I walked over. He proceeded to get some Vaseline lotion and he put my hand on his penis and did the masturbation movements with his hands on mine.”
Leslie said she stood there frozen but then start pulling away from him.
“I felt pretty dirty and disgusted. I really wanted to act and be a dancer in the entertainment industry. After I didn’t go along with what he did, he sort of dismissed me from his room. He didn’t speak to me the next day. I really feel he took away my ability to do what I’ve dreamed of all these years. I was on my way. I did several movies. After I met Cosby, nothing. I feel he should not clip the wings of people with dreams and desires to be in the industry just because he’s in a high position. He should use it to help, if possible. I feel I was hindered by him because I just didn’t go along with what his usual scheme and plan was for women.”
Leslie believes had she drank the whole drink, she would have been raped. She makes the 8th victim to come forward with these allegations.
“I’m coming forward now because I’ve been watching the news and seeing these ladies come forward. Cosby’s not saying anything. He’s not apologizing. He’s pretending that it didn’t happen and it happened. It happened with me. He got my hand, he put it on his penis. It’s something I did not got there for. I did not initiate that kind of action. I want people to know that he’s not the person America thinks that he is.”
I get Dr. Bill Cosby’s silence regarding the resurfacing rape allegations against him. If I were in my 70s, I would want to live out the rest of my life with as little drama and ruckus as possible, and perhaps, being only human, if I were in his shoes, I would respond to the questions about the allegations the same way.
But I am not in his shoes. I am in a very different position. I am a young woman of color who grew up tuning into The Cosby Show weekly, feeling loved and embraced and understood by a family structure that seemed so close to mine in a great many ways but so different in others. I was too young then to give any thought to any allegations. I didn’t understand the severity of such claims. My mind had not yet been open to the gross mistreatment of women who have suffered rape at the hands of any man – but especially at the hands of powerful or beloved men. Without giving it much thought, I believed he could do no wrong. Not Heathcliff Huxtable. Not the jazz enthusiast. Not the tough-loving, baby-delivering father figure who just wanted to eat his sub sandwiches and raise sane children.
As a teen, I dismissed the allegations as some money-hungry woman’s ticket to her 15 minutes of fame. I never once questioned. That is a problem. Not just because I never questioned but because that sort of apathy is all too common even among women. How often do we wonder, “Well, what did she do?” “What is her end-game?” and “She probably just wants his money” when a woman is brave enough to come forward and say that she has been violated by a well-respected man? How often do we victim-blame and never once question the person in question?
We have all fallen into the trap of believing that some of us are infallible. Why is getting angry and mistrusting the victim(s) our normal reaction? What is that bitter root in our society that teaches us to blame the victim before ever even giving a thought to the perpetrator?
As a survivor of sexual assault, I am equal parts disappointed and disgusted. My adoration for Heathcliff Huxtable aside, this cannot be ignored. More than 13 women have been suffering in silence for years. Had I gone to authorities about my sexual assault, I am almost positive I would have faced much more scrutiny than the perpetrator. More than 13 accounts. More than 13 women. It is not out of line to say that at the very least, these allegations deserved an in-depth investigation ages ago.
The alleged victims deserve more than silence from Mr. Cosby. All of his supporters who grew up looking up to him deserve more than his silence. The general Cosby-adoring public needs to put aside their adoration and look at the situation for what it currently is. And as vocal as Dr. Cosby has been about the respectability of Black Americans, this is much more important to speak on. Sexual assault, especially when you are allegedly involved in any way, shape, or form, is serious. It is one of the leading but most underreported crimes, most especially against women. This issue deserves as much of an outcry if not more. Dr. Cosby has made it a point to condemn young people of color who don’t speak or dress appropriately, and he’s done the same to those who give their children names that aren’t easy to pronounce, but it is time, Mr. Cosby, to be open, honest and tell your truth–whatever it is. If not for yourself, but for the women who have come forward and for the great many of us who wait, with bated breath, for your response.
La Truly is a writer, higher education professional, and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @ashleylatruly and check out her site: www.ashleyjh.com.