It makes little sense that some of us are blaming the victims accusing comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
Understandably, it was difficult to reconcile the wholesome, TV super-dad as an alleged sexual predator.
But many of us were quick to condemn the entire Catholic Church when decades-old allegations surfaced of sexual abuse by priests.
At this point, 15 different women have claimed Cosby behaved more toward them like a pervert on an episode of “Criminal Minds” than like Dr. Huxtable of the iconic “The Cosby Show.”
In recent newspaper interviews, Barbara Bowman alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her multiple times in the 1980’s when she was a 17-year-old aspiring actress.
“Over the years, I’ve struggled to get people to take my story seriously,” Bowman told the Washington Post.
“I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me. But as a teenager, I tried to convince myself I had imagined it. I even tried to rationalize it: Bill Cosby
was going to make me a star and this was part of the deal,” she said.
On Wednesday, Cosby’s lawyer responded to yet another rape allegation.
Janice Dickinson, a high-profile former model and entertainer, claims Cosby “raped” her in 1982 after giving her a “pill with red wine.” She told “Entertainment Tonight” she is just
coming forward because “it’s the right thing to do.”
In a statement to CNN, Martin Singer, an attorney representing Cosby, called Dickinson’s allegations a “defamatory fabrication.”
“The only story she gave 12 years ago to the media and in her autobiography was that she refused to sleep with Mr. Cosby and he blew her off.
Documentary proof and Ms. Dickinson’s own words show that her new story about something she claims happened back in 1982 is a fabricated
lie,” Singer said.
Still, that would mean 14 other women are suffering from some sort of mass delusion. I find that hard to believe.
When that many victims make similar accusations against one man, there’s usually a cause for concern. So frankly, I was stunned when “The View” co-host Whoppi Goldberg expressed skepticism on the show about Bowman’s rape claim, and questioned why Bowman didn’t go to
“Perhaps the police might’ve believed it. Or the hospital, where you go — and don’t you do a kit when you say someone has raped you? Isn’t that the next step once you make an allegation?” she asked.
Yet, should it really come as a surprise that a young woman would be reluctant to run to the police when the abuse involves a famous individual?
For one thing, such a woman would think no one would take her word over the word of the accused. And if the victim didn’t immediately report the rape, she would rationalize that it
would be best to move on.
Additionally, reporting a sexual assault by a person as powerful as Cosby is likely to put a victim in a terrible conundrum.
If prosecutors refuse to take the case, where would that leave the victim? You can’t blame a person in this predicament from concluding it would be better to keep their secret.
The Pentagon is facing a similar challenge in its efforts to reduce sexual assaults in the military.
In 2012, nearly 26,000 service members said they were victims of sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact, but only a fraction reported the incident.
A report earlier this year found a sharp increase in reports of sexual assaults. But of the 5,051 reported cases, only one in 10 went to trial.
Obviously, the allegations against Cosby are just that. But don’t dismiss his accusers solely because they are just beginning to talk. By now, we should be ready to listen.
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