Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Politics of Believing Women: Bill Cosby

More than twenty-five women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and rape, but the eerily similar and disturbing stories have not been enough to gain enough support for these survivors. Cosby’s success and talents have shielded him from the backlash that should have followed after the first accusation years ago. Cosby supporters used every excuse to deny the accusations from his age to his charity work to the lack of evidence, but finally a few days ago court documents from 2005 showed that Bill Cosby admitted to buying Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with. That is not exactly an admission of rape in the eyes of the law, but for the victims it is a small victory in gaining back their credibility. 

There is a sickness within our society that prioritizes rapists over their victims. Rape is the only crime that people have a hard time believing with or without definite proof. Why is that? Why does society not believe women? It took a leaked court document to convince people that Bill Cosby is not all what he seems to be. He is not a martyr. Why would twenty-five plus women lie about the same thing? Why would a group of women choose to ruin Bill Cosby’s reputation and career if there was no truth to their accusations? Women do not lie about rape or sexual assault as much as the media makes it seem. Numerous colleagues of Bill Cosby have stood up for him just because they have only experienced his public persona. In public he is a funny, magnanimous social activist who has been a pillar in the black community, but behind closed doors something perverse and despicable has been happening for forty years.

The worst part about the discourse regarding Bill Cosby is the idea that art can be separated from the artist. This way of thinking is inherently wrong because even though the Cosby Show is iconic and transformed the way society viewed black families, at the end of the day the man at the helm of that cultural phenomenon is morally repugnant. Society should demand art be created by those who do not destroy people. It is not a big request to make that society appreciate everything good Bill Cosby did, but to leave it in the past and to see this man for who he really is, and to support the women who have tirelessly fought for the right to share their stories, and who so bravely have persevered despite the media and Bill Cosby’s lawyers using scare tactics to silence them. These women may never get legal justice, but they have survived one of the worst crimes that can befall anyone, and that is something that cannot be taken from them.

Written By: Enxhi Liti, Intern- NOW Oakland/Macomb County Chapter

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