I struggled with whether or not to talk about certain things, but this is a poignant topic. Hopefully this helps someone.
One of the topics that has saturated the media as of late is the accusations that Bill Cosby, actor, comedian, producer, and philanthropist, had raped and or sexually by drugging them.
Upon hearing the initial accusations I didn’t flinch. Nothing surprises me anymore. I was definitely disheartened and I was curious to know why the accusations came out now.
Then I heard several more women come out with similar stories and even infamous celebrities. I then raised an eye brow. Those individuals didn’t stand to gain anything surely they had “made it”. It took me back to my own experience as a victim.
I was about 10 and I was touched inappropriately. It wasn’t a family member or anyone either of my parents dated (they were no longer together). I didn’t understand at that moment what had happened, but I knew that it wasn’t supposed to at leas not with someone my age and someone older. However I would struggle for many years afterwards with the effects. Realizing that I had been violated made me more defensive, almost angry, and more than anything else quiet.
If anyone knew me growing up I would speak to you if I knew you, but I definitely enjoyed my solace and quiet time. I was always afraid that someone could see or knew what had happened and that I would be judged. As if I had asked for those experiences or encouraged them at 10. I was ashamed.
So it took me back to that mindset when I saw the accusers of Bill Cosby come out. Everyone from media, to social media journalists, to some of my social media friends and real friends asked, “Why wait so long?”
I can’t imagine what the accusers felt like. Being women, assaulted by a notable entertainment powerhouse, with access power clout and the ability to sway opinions without saying a word. Surely they felt the same guilt, the same shame, and the same fears I shared x 10.
It also took me back to an experience later on in life that caused me to seek counseling. I had just moved back to Houston after spending about a year and a half at Hampton University. I was working at Best Buy. I met a young girl who worked in the same department as me. Were roughly the same age. I believe 19 at the time. We became close while working together. We shared similarities and talked about our dating life and school. One day I caught her in the break room crying. I asked her what was going on. She shared that her uncle had sexually assaulted her and several of her other female family members. She had been the only one to speak up and it caused a rif in the family. Some of her family didn’t believe her and said she waited too long. Some said she enticed him and brought it on herself. Some of the other victims were upset she brought it up and denied any involvement. All for fear of shame. I often wonder what happened to her. I stopped working there after about 9 months, but i know during our time there she was always sad about the way she was treated by her parents, her siblings, and other family members.
I share this not as an indictment on Bill Cosby, but m hopefully to humanize what many of the women could have experienced at his hands. Too many stories from too many women with similar outcomes from the same individual. I hope this softens someone’s heart and opens their mind that no matter who the celebrity is, be it the family celebrity (that popular uncle or even someone’s dad) should be questioned.
People do lie, but the consequences of not questioning and taking accusations of sexual assault are serious. The young girl I worked with at Best Buy had contemplated suicide. Though she had passed that stage of wanting to take her life the judgement from those around and lack of empathy made every day a struggle!
Listen to hear what people say. Their intent will show through.