Spoiler alert: my comments are bout to offend some readers. Sorry/not sorry. I’m confused by the people, women especially, who find excuses for Bill Cosby and seriously suggest that he is already “being punished enough” just by the fact that his eyes seem to be screwed up. WTF. Bill Cosby is a creep and it’s very unfortunate the jury could not figure out how to unanimously find him guilty.
Other statements that drive me crazy are: “Why did the women wait so long?” Now listen, first of all where is the empathy for the victims? Seems to be lacking. That feels sexist to me, mixed with some racial digs because some people have also said, “Most of the victims were white”. So what that mean? Are we prepared to say they don’t deserve justice because of the color of their skin? Hmmmm. Doesn’t that sound disturbingly familiar? Not cool. For many victims of sexual abuse, the predominant feeling is shame which means essentially they turn inward and blame themselves. This translates into not wanting to tell anyone about what occurred for fear they will also be blamed by family, friends and strangers. Unfortunately, all too often, this is exactly what happens. This kind of thing has no gender either. I remember a story a colleague told me at least 20 years ago. His young son was molested by a family member and when my colleague confronted the perpetrator his whole family turned against him and he and his child were ostracized when they pressed charges. What is that about? Why would folks be so pressed not to reveal terrible secrets even to the detriment of young loved ones?
Most of the women (and some men) that I know well, have confessed to being molested or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, sometimes more than once. I, too, am a member of that club. It’s an ugly thing, fraught with terrible feelings that last a long time. I was very young and only held onto my secret for a day or too because it hurt to much to keep it to myself even though I was petrified to reveal it. My parents rallied and removed the violator from our premises. (He was renting an apartment in the house our family owned.) Despite his removal, no one followed up with me to find out how I was feeling, discuss the matter and tell me that it wasn’t my fault, and/or reassure me that I was safe. I do understand that many people don’t know what to do under the circumstances but all those “hush hush” vibes lead to nefarious sentiments.
What bothers me the most about the Bill Cosby saga is how some folks have confused his on air persona and his philanthropic endeavors with his life as a perpetrator of high crimes and think the former rules out the latter. Not. By the way, I was a Cosby show fan, too, of the highest level (I even sent him a sympathy card when his son was murdered) and I feel bad that the other actors have to suffer the non-residuals because of his poor choices but it is what it is. I can’t unhear and unsee that there is a lot of smoke around him and consequently, some pretty hot fire. Snoop Dogg made an ignorant statement (actually an instagram post) about the “powers that be” not dragging Bill O’Reilly “through the mud” in the same way Bill Cosby supposedly was. It’s not the same situation though, bruh. Bill O’Reilly did horrific things, no question. He should have lost his job some time ago. Bill Cosby went beyond Bill O’Reilly, however, by giving women drugs without their consent and having sex with them without consent. That is known as rape aka a crime. This doesn’t feel racial to me.
Yet another weak argument is that Cosby’s activities would not have garnered so much attention had he not been a celebrity. This is probably truth but those are the trappings that come with being a celebrity. You gotta take the whole package: fame and fortune and magnifying glasses laser-focused on your off-screen life.
Yesterday I heard a news report that black women were outside the courthouse lashing out at each other re: Cosby’s trial and although I was not privy to the disputes I can imagine them. All of the above and more. Remember when he got on his high horse and verbally attacked black parents at a 2004 NAACP event? I was incredulous because we knew even then that he had done some shady things while married to Camille. So the hypocrisy is real on his part. This scenario reminds me of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill fiasco of a judiciary hearing when black people were at one another’s throats about who to believe. Really? There were women and men lined up to give testimony against Clarence and they were never called forward. (Just as we know there are other women who could testify to what Cosby put in the espresso drinks he offered and did to them, against their will.) Why do you think that is? And race was involved in Clarence’s case (no, not the “high tech lynching” he faked being upset about knowingly playing into his questioners’ white guilt). Had Anita Hill been a white woman, I wouldn’t be able to add his name to this essay. Trust – he never ever would have become a Supreme Court Justice.
In any case, I can only hope the prosecutor brings the case again with more than one witness against Cosby and a jury unified towards achieving justice for his victims. #SexualAbuseVictimsLivesMatter