I’ve been putting together my Avengers Half Marathon Weekend Recap, but my computer’s been acting up. Correction: Zorro knocked a drink across my laptop and borked the keyboard and trackpad. I can boot it and get information off… so after Thanksgiving, I’ll be taking that over to the genius bar so that they can try to salvage my baby.
When I told TheBoy about it, his first response was “And Zorro’s still alive?”
But I realized that before I share some pictures and talk about last weekend, I should address a much more serious issue. The rape allegations against Bill Cosby.
Just in case you’ve been frozen in a block of ice since the 80s, Bill Cosby was once sued by a group of mostly anonymous women because they alleged that he raped them. Bill Cosby settled. Then about a month or so ago, comedian Hannibal Buress brought up Cosby and the rape allegations in a set and the video went viral.
And for the first time since the social media age began, the internet became aware of the allegations. Then, for reasons unknown, Bill Cosby’s PR team asked people to meme him… and the majority of the meme posts referenced those rape allegations.
Women have started to come forward, and the similarity between all of their stories is that they were drugged, woke up in a state of undress, and weren’t believed by anyone they told. Or were told to keep quiet because of Cosby’s influence.
I’ve seen a lot of people doubting these accusations on the grounds that charges were never filed, that there are no rape kits, that some of the women admitted to additional encounters with him.
This is the same thing you hear with victims of abuse. Most of these women were young, early on in their careers and looking for some guidance. When faced with an older man with a pristine reputation in the public eye- there would always be an uphill battle. And much like victims of physical violence, there’s always the hope that they were wrong. That it wouldn’t happen again.
Today, it’s easy to judge and say that someone would be believed. But there was no social media. PR firms could do a much better job of controlling what people believe about celebrities.
Case in point, do you remember hearing about the time that Sean Penn almost killed Madonna? Did you hear about Charlie Sheen shooting Preston before that weird descent into madness a couple years ago? It’s because these things could be covered up, because the news hadn’t hit a 24/7 cycle with social media fueling it.
Most of these women didn’t come forward because they knew that nobody would believe them. It was their word against the man perceived as America’s TV Dad. So if you hear more victims pop up (and you will), understand that they’re doing so because people are finally listening. People are finally willing to believe that public image isn’t always what someone is like.
Not to mention that inconsistencies are common in stories from rape victims. Often, they’ll tell an account that minimizes what happened (to help themselves cope, or diminish the risk of being judged by others) and then later tell the full story. It’s hard to admit when you’re a victim when you aren’t sure how it’ll be received.. (It was hard for me to admit I was being stalked, or that I’d had a sex tape stolen, so I can’t imagine how hard it would be for someone who was assaulted)
So before you start judging, just remember that most of these occurred at a time when he had all the power, and they had no platform to speak. Now they do. So, listen. Don’t discount someone simply because their story makes you uncomfortable.
(And if you really want me to dig up statistics on false rape accusations, I will. It’s an insignificant amount compared to what goes unreported)