Forty-six women have accused the comedian and once-beloved TV dad of sexual assault. Forty-six! Now 35 of those women have agreed to be photographed and come out on the record with their faces and stories, and the resulting article is a must-read.
All 35 women appear on the cover of the new issue of New York, with an empty seat at the end for all the women who have not yet come forward. Contrary to what the Cosby apologists would say, there does not seem like any fame or money waiting for these women. Knowing what we know of the Internet, it seems more likely that all that awaits these women is anonymous abuse, gaslighting, and harassment. But still they came forward in the hopes that sharing their stories and faces would make it harder for people to continue to insist that Bill Cosby was just a successful comedian with some famous sweaters.
The worst thing about all this is that it illustrates the insane standard of proof to which rape victims are held. Not only have 46 women come forward with accusations, but just last week a testimony allegedly in Cosby’s own words was revealed by the New York Times in which Cosby allegedly admitted to using drugs to seduce young women.
Most of us don’t call giving a woman drugs to make her have sex “seduction.” Mostly we call that rape.
One of the most striking things about these profiles of Cosby’s accusers is that their stories are so similar, even though they were all interviewed separately.
“All 35 were interviewed separately, and yet their stories have remarkable similarities, in everything from their descriptions of the incidents to the way they felt in the aftermath,” wrote New York‘s Noreen Malone. “Each story is awful in its own right. But the horror is multiplied by the sheer volume of seeing them together, reading them together, considering their shared experience.”
Many of the women report being sent by agents, having allegedly been told that Cosby wanted to mentor them. Several talk of having allegedly had a couple sips of wine and blacking out. Many of them report allegedly being told, by Cosby or others, that nobody would believe them, so they might as well just stay quiet. But now there are enough voices, and enough support on social media, that more women say they felt like they could come forward.
”People often these days say, ”˜Well, why didn’t you take it to the police?’ Andrea Constand went to the police in 2005 ”” how’d it work out for her? Not at all,” said alleged victim Tamara Green. “In 2005, Bill Cosby still had control of the media. In 2015, we have social media. We can’t be disappeared. It’s online and can never go away.”
(Photo by Marcus Ingram / ”‹”‹Getty Images)