I watched both Barbara Bowman and Janice Dickinson (see here) speak out about their story of rape by Bill Cosby.
I believe them.
They are telling the truth without a doubt. Both women show palpable disgust when recollecting or talking about Bill Cosby. Their stories flow. They both express deep pain on their faces that anyone can see. And their stories are eerily similar. And there aren’t just two accusers. The list is up over a dozen now.
Many people wonder why they didn’t come forward long ago when this originally happened, and I don’t think people realize the multitude of factors that came into play for these women.
First, rape is a very hard topic to broach with a stranger–especially if you are young woman trying to find your place in this world.
Second, you have to realize that these women didn’t wake up knowing they had been drugged or raped. They woke up in a blur, had a fuzzy head, and had to be unsure of what had transpired.
They had to wonder: Did I fall asleep? Did I drink to much? Did I pass out from something? Did I eat something funny?
Most people don’t automatically wake up and say, “Hey I was drugged and oh, yeah, wow: Raped.” It’s hard to believe someone would actually violate another person–especially someone you looked up to.
These women woke up in a state of bewilderment and had to pick up and carry on with life, and in the middle of it try to figure out what happened.
That takes time to figure out and process that someone violated you–not in one way, but two. The shock and denial can cause people to push it away. It’s a painful realization that they lost lost control somehow. That they were violated.
Also, when people are sedated, they are not in any position to take a stand, stand their moral ground or fight anyone, but its hard to rationalize that–that they did something that they didn’t want to do, regardless. How could that happen?
People in this situation will become overrun with feelings of incredible guilt and shame, feelings of responsibility, even when they had none, and can’t be held culpable in anyway. They don’t realize the psychological effects of these drugs. They will literally battle themselves thinking, “Why didn’t I fight back? What was wrong with me? That was sick!” They will viscerally want to hide. They will feel repulsed.
They also will begin to feel that people won’t believe them because they didn’t fight back in their unaware drugged state. They will fear that people will blame them, tell them they wanted it or they would have fought back. Then they will start to hate themselves for not fighting back, and feel more and more insecure because they didn’t, which causes them to bury everything and try to push it away, instead of deal with it head on. They go into a tailspin of negativity, and this will erode their chances of ever speaking about it to anyone.
Now imagine processing all of this and trying to understand it, and you must figure it all out before the drugs (or DNA) leave your system. Figuring something like this out could take weeks or even months to mentally sort through, and by then the evidence has cleared the body. It’s gone forever.
Then, they don’t just have to say some strange guy did this to me, if they figure it out. No, they have to point to a beloved, trusted, highly regarded mega star, and say he did it! They have to accuse America’s favorite and most trusted Dad.
Imagine for just a minute how hard that would be.
I don’t think we are giving these women near enough space considering what happened. This would be hard for the most mature, self-assured middle age woman, let alone someone newly starting their career.
And Barbara Bowman found amazing courage to tell people what happened. She went to her agent and spoke out, and to an attorney, and both refused to take her seriously. I believe it.
Think about why this would happen.
If the agent or the attorney weren’t powerhouses themselves, going forward against a mega star was also risky for their careers. If they came forward to support Barbara publicly and the case was rejected to do lack of evidence (rape is very hard to prosecute without evidence), these professionals risked having their reputations put into the same category as Barbara. They could easily be labeled as not credible, troublemakers, or foolish themselves for questioning such a loved mega role model like Bill Cosby. After all he was America’s most wanted Dad.
Speaking about Bill Cosby wasn’t just risky for these women. It was risky for others, too. It could have truly killed or disabled their careers and tarnished their reputations, too, and these people knew it. That’s why they likely didn’t take Barbara’s situation on and go forward. Because the risk was high for them, too. They too stepped away in the shadows.
I feel for these women. This was a very traumatic experience where they were forced to carry the burdens quietly themselves for years. I wonder if they can ban together and sue Cosby in civil court. He needs to face up to this and deal with it once and for all, and stop trying to sweep it under the carpet.
I hope more women get the courage to speak out. It will only empower them now. As they gain numbers, the power will be given back to them and the one who caused all this pain will stand farther and farther alone and in the corner of shame he so deserves.