I’m No Longer Afraid
This is a picture of how difficult it is to break through denial about respecting women’s voices and the silencing power of men, especially men with money. It’s also about allegations that missed their day in court because for decades, no one listened to women.
For so many women to have been silenced, even today, is an affront to human decency. Let us hope that this story stays with us as future stories about sexual abuse and rape surface, and we learn to make the court of public opinion a just place.
“The group of women Cosby allegedly assaulted functions almost as a longitudinal study — both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period. In the ’60s, when the first alleged assault by Cosby occurred, rape was considered to be something violent committed by a stranger; acquaintance rape didn’t register as such, even for the women experiencing it. A few of Cosby’s accusers claim that he molested or raped them multiple times; one remained in his orbit, in and out of a drugged state, for years. In the ’70s and ’80s, campus movements like Take Back the Night and “No Means No” helped raise awareness of the reality that 80 to 90 percent of victims know their attacker. Still, the culture of silence and shame lingered, especially when the men accused had any kind of status. The first assumption was that women who accused famous men were after money or attention. As Cosby allegedly told some of his victims: No one would believe you. So why speak up?”