It is time to have a real conversation about all of the allegations of rape that have come against the famed Dr. Bill Cosby. Not for the benefit of Mr. Cosby, or for the benefit of the women who have accused him of rape, but for the benefit of all rape victims around the world.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you have probably heard about the rape allegations that have come against comedian Bill Cosby. While everyone has been quick to jump to conclusions about his and/or the victims guilt or innocence, no one in the media is addressing the gigantic elephant in the room.
“If these women were raped by this man, why did they go back to him?” is the “elephant” on everyone’s mind. And in all honesty, if the media and/or the victims want a public trial, then the public has a right to ask this and other questions. What the public does not have the right to do is to impute the same judgment given to this case to all rape victims. Which I believe will happen if some questions are left unanswered.
**(There are more women coming out saying that he was being inappropriate and/or attempted to attack him; which they fought off. This post is in reference to some of the women who state that they were actually raped and that they continued to see him after the rape. )
Before I get into it, let me start off by saying that in no way is this post meant to shame any of the women who have accused Mr. Cosby or vice versa. Nor is this post meant to support these women or Mr. Cosby. The purpose of this post is to stop society from reverting back to the archaic mentality that rape isn’t a serious issue and that no one, regardless of sex, age, race or circumstance wants to be or deserves to be raped.
Let’s face it; the stories we are hearing from some of these women are not what we consider to be “normal” accounts of rape; if there is ever such a thing. These women were not kidnapped or held at gun point to take any of these drugs or held hostage by this man; some of them remained with him willingly. The majority (not all) of these women who claim he raped them state in their own claims that after they were drugged and raped by this man that they either lived with for a few months after the rape or they continued to see him in some sort of capacity after the rape. Because of these statements, many people-myself included-have questioned whether or not these women can truly say that any rape happened at all.
While the media has concluded that Mr. Cosby is a rapist, public opinion has not made that same conclusion. Although the media does have the strong power of persuasion, we all know that when it comes to the media versus public opinion, public opinion wins all the time. From some of the comments, posts and even conversations I have had with others and conversations I’ve overheard, public opinion is leaning more toward branding these women as “hoes, prostitutes, opportunists, gold diggers, attention whores, drug addicts, money hungry want-a-be’s and liars.” The people making these comments validate their conclusions of these women by the fact that some of them received “payments” as one person put it, in the form of rents, money, trips, college tuition, and etc.
Additionally, public opinion has not only concluded these women were “opportunistic hoes” looking for a payday, some have even gone further to conclude that these women went back because “they wanted it.” I actually overheard a group of young adults talking about these cases in line at the drugstore the other day and all of them agreed that the reason these women went back to this man was because “they liked it. They wanted him to do it to them over and over.” And to validate their conclusions, they used the fact that none of these women called the police to report this man; therefore they got what they wanted.
I almost fell to the floor when I heard this conversation. And when I saw other comments similar to these posted online, I got sick and decided that I had to say something. To hear someone say, even to read someone saying that a person wanted to be raped is terrifying to say the least. We cannot let one person on this planet to believe that anyone wants to be raped. That’s why we need to cut the crap and talk about this. We can’t let the elephant sit there shitting all over the place and walk around it like it doesn’t stink. Eventually we are going to have to either move the elephant or clean up the shit; I prefer to move the elephant…it’s easier.
As I stated earlier, the purpose of this post is not to validate or shame anyone involved in this case. My sole purpose it to prevent society from reverting back to a time in which rape victims were vilified for being raped. To do that, I am going to address the questions that I saw posted most often on various news sites as it pertains to rape and the mentality of victims. And I’m going to do that from the point of view of a rape victim…me.
In the fall of 1990 I was a freshman at college. I’m not going to name the college because it isn’t necessary for this. But anyone who knows me personally knows the school I am referring to. I was 18 years old, in a new state surrounded by new people. I had made a nice amount of friends. There was one group of girls that I hung around with all the time. But outside of that, I had some other friends. Long story short, I was invited to a dorm room party by one of my other “friends”, who was a guy. These little parties were common. You’d go to someone’s room and play cards (normally the game of spades), listen to music, watch Scarface or Super Fly and drink. So I went. I knew the person to whose room we were going to and most of the people there; so I was totally comfortable going without my girls. After a couple hours of playing cards, I was ready to go. I hadn’t drunk anything and didn’t want to drink. I had a full class day the next day and just didn’t want to deal with a hangover and classes at the same time. I got ready to leave, and the person who invited me said that he would walk me back to my dorm-after I had at least 1 beer. He pestered me a little, and I said “OK. One beer isn’t going to hurt me.” So he gave me some beer from a 40 Ounce bottle in a plastic cup and I drank it while we hung out a little more. I finished the beer and was ready to go. I remember I was getting really tired and irritated for no apparent reason. I told him I was ready to leave and he said “OK.” We said our goodbyes and we left. The rest of the night was like a jumble of pictures. I remember the walk down to my dorm and putting the key in the lock to the building, but I really don’t remember anything after that. I don’t remember going upstairs to my room on the second floor or getting into my room or anything that happened after I opened the main door to the building. What I do remember, and will never forget, is what happened the next day when I woke up.
I’m going to stop there and get into answering some questions that I hope will help a lot of people understand the mentality of a person who was raped. Keep in mind that not all rape victims respond to rape in the same way. While I didn’t respond exactly the same way that some of these women did, there were some similarities that I think will help to validate some of what they and other rape victims have to report.
Why didn’t they call or go to the police? I totally understand why these women didn’t go to the police, because I didn’t go to or call the police either. Fear is the number one reason why rape victims don’t report a rape; especially familiar rape, in which the victim knows the attacker. Not only was this individual who raped me a “friend” of mine, he was part of my social group at the time. All of my friends knew him. He was like our buddy. We went to his dorm, he visited ours. We went to parties together and the whole nine yards. I was a new person, in a new place, far from home, and these were the only people I knew. I was afraid that if I told anyone or contacted the police there would be a big disturbance in my life. What if everyone thought I was lying? What if my friends hated me or wanted to fight me? What if I got kicked out of school? What would my mother say? What about my friends at home? Was it really my fault? Was it really rape? I mean, it can go on and on and on in your mind, the “what if’s”. And after assessing all of that, I determined that I didn’t want to deal with it. In all honesty, I was afraid to deal with it. And that is why millions of people who have been raped, especially by someone that they know, don’t report it. The fear of their entire world coming in upon THEM is a legitimate fear that keeps us quiet.
One woman said that she was so shocked by the fact that this person raped her, that she tried to block it out. I can relate to that. I didn’t want to believe that the person who raped me had done it. I knew that I had been sexually assaulted when I took a shower that next day. I was bleeding and in pain and I knew that I had not consented to having sex. What I was not sure of was who had done it. So, I tried to contact the person who walked me home. Maybe he saw someone follow me in the building or the room. Maybe he left the door unlocked…but no way could I believe that it was him at that time. I tried calling him all night and didn’t get an answer. The next day I went to his dorm room and his roommate was there. He let me in and said that the person I was looking for wasn’t there. When he said it, he said it with a funky little smirk; like he knew something. After telling him to ask his roommate to call me, I scanned the room real quick and saw some of my things on my “friend’s” desk that I did not give him-a silver necklace and a couple of my music magazines (in the 90s, Right On! and Word Up! were valuable commodities for young people. All of the cool kids had subscriptions to one or both of them. If you wanted to be up on the latest trends in music, celebs, fashion, hairstyles and even technology, you got it from a magazine in those days.) That’s when I knew it was him. Not only did he rape me, but the son of a bitch stole from me! I almost passed out at the revelation of it all.
Familiar rape is more prevalent than we think and it doesn’t just happen to college students away from home; it can happen to anyone, of any sex, any race and of any age. I personally know of people who were drugged and raped by parents, siblings, other family members, co workers, bosses/supervisors, and friends. And men are not the only perpetrators of such acts either. Women, while it is rare, can be sexual offenders as well. With that said, we have to take into consideration the relationship dynamics that come into play when someone is sexually assaulted. The assault doesn’t just affect the person assaulted; it could affect everyone and every relationship in their entire lives. So please, don’t judge a rape by whether or not someone pressed charges; in some cases, it’s just not that simple.
Why didn’t they tell anyone? The same fear that keeps you from reporting it to the police, keeps you from telling your friends that you were raped. I did speak to a counselor about a week after the assault, but it took me 16 years to tell someone I personally knew what happened to me. To this day, I have not come out and told my mother. In fact, this is the first time I am releasing in a public forum that I was raped. What prompted me to talk with others about what happened to me was my initial involvement with Christian ministry. As a minister, I spoke with various people about various spiritual and mental issues that they were dealing with, and some of the issues that seemed to come up a lot was either sexual assault, sexual molestation as a child and/or rape. In order to be of better counsel I began to release what happened to me, purely on a peer level. At no time was I trained to be a rape counselor. I just use my experience to relate to others who have been through the same thing with the intent of helping them get through it. And over the years I have spoken with hundreds of former victims, most of whom never reported their rape to the police or told someone close to them what happened. And in that I found that fear was the primary reason as to why people keep the assault to themselves. Fear of their world coming in on them, fear of loosing loved ones, fear of scrutiny, and fear of further attack-all legitimate fears. Again, telling someone, especially someone you love, that you were violated in such a way is not an easy thing to do. So please, don’t judge anyone by the fact that they didn’t tell anyone the moment it happened or that they took so long to do so. Every rape and every victim is different, but the fear is the same. And not everyone is ready to face all of those fears head on immediately after such a violation.
Why were they drinking with him and taking drugs? First of all, just because a person was drinking does not mean that they wanted to have sex with the person or people they were drinking with nor does it mean that they deserved to be raped. And an agreement to engage in drug use with someone does not mean that the person is agreeing to have sex nor are they agreeing to be raped. Secondly, think back (if you aren’t already there) to your pre and early adult ages. We all, yes ALL, did stupid things to make us feel more “adult”; and drinking was one of them. As it pertained to me, the day I as drugged I wasn’t putting them away; but I had done my damage with alcohol prior to this. In the state I went to school in, the legal drinking age was 18 at the time. Trust me, it was on! I either beer bonged with the hippies, went to frat keg parties, or drank 40s with my group of friends just about every weekend. Ok, every weekend. And while I didn’t do any of what I consider to be “hard drugs”, I did smoke a good share of weed back then. It had nothing to do with wanting sex or being promiscuous, it simply had to do with the fact that I was away from home and I wanted do I wanted to do. I wanted to experience things on my own terms. And quiet frankly I thought I was grown. Many young people do this. But to assume that anyone who drinks with or does any type of drug with someone is looking for or even wants to be taken advantage of is just crazy thinking.
If he raped them, why did they keep coming back? This is the biggest question on everyone’s mind in these cases; including mine. I even stated as much on a few posts to other sites. The fact that a few of these women were saying that they were raped and that they put themselves in a position to allow him to do it again angered the hell out of me. As a person who has seen the brokenness of others from rape and from experiencing it myself, just the thought of something like this made me mad. And I know I’m not the only one. I’m pretty sure there are other victims out there that are screaming inside about this whole thing.
The first and last time I saw the man who raped me after the rape, was one of the scariest moments in my life. I was walking to class and got just past my dorm when I looked up and saw him coming directly at me. I actually felt him before I saw him, if that makes any sense. When I saw him, I stopped dead in my tracks. I was so terrified that after standing for a few seconds, I just broke out running. I ran like hell toward the closest building with the most people. I ran so fast, I couldn’t even feel my legs moving. I swear I felt like one of those cartoon characters with the spinning legs I was running so fast. When I got to the building, I believe it was the student recreation center; I ran inside and stood by the window. I was looking out to see if he was following me. When I didn’t see him anymore, I just burst our crying. I was shaking, crying, out of breath-a total mess. I sat down in a chair in the lobby, and when I finally felt my legs I noticed that they were wet. I had urinated all over myself. It was humiliating. After concluding that the coast was clear for me to leave, I went back to my room and lay in the bed. I didn’t even take off my urine stained clothes or take a shower; I just got in the bed and cried.
So, no, I can’t imagine going back to someone who raped me. And I can’t imagine putting myself in a situation to allow him to do it over and over again. This is where I think we really need to talk. If any of these women came forward for the purpose of helping someone else, then they need to articulate to us why they went back. And they have to do it without the fear of thinking that the final conclusion to what happened to them was something other than rape. What I mean by that is, there are many young people out there that are trying to get into the entertainment industry; more so now than ever before. And they need to hear the truth about what goes on in that business; the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m pretty sure that there are some people who will put themselves or find themselves in the same situations that these women were in, and they need a voice of experience to help them either get out or prevent them from going in. I believe that if each of them concentrated on exposing the ugliness that goes on in the entire industry versus pointing the finger at just one person, they would really help a lot of people. There really isn’t any other good that can come from all of this if you look at it. Mr. Cosby may have lost out on some future ventures for now, but he has his millions and his freedom. He can’t be prosecuted for any of these allegations. And to be fair, I have to mention that he was prosecuted by the same women with the same allegations and he proven innocent in a court of law. So what is the point is just focusing on him? If all any of these women want to do is get it off of their chests that he raped them then fine. Say your peace. But if any of them want to make a difference, they have the perfect opportunity to do so if they want to get real about it.
Ok, I have said my peace on this particular subject. I really hope that what I have shared has helped to defuse any ill notions that anyone has about rape and the victims of it. And I also hope that what I shared will help someone in some way feel as though there is a voice in the darkness willing to cry out on their behalf. Look for more posts of support from me about sexual assault. If I want to make a difference, then it’s time I got real about a few things too..
With that, I’m going to bid you all a good night.
Love, Blessings and Peace,