Barbara Bowman, one of the women who has accused Bill Cosby of rape asked a great question; Why did it take Hannibal Buress' joke about Cosby's respectability politics clashing with his sexual assault allegations to make her story "go viral"?
During a performance in Cosby's hometown of Philadelphia, Buress said the following:
And it's even worse because Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the '80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches. I don't curse on stage. Well, yeah, you're a rapist, so, I'll take you sayin' lots of motherfuckers on Bill Cosby: Himself if you weren't a rapist.
Bowman writes in the Washington Post that after being hushed back in the '80s and even offering offered to testify against him in court, she's shared her Cosby rape experience for the last ten years. She says that when she was just a teenager, the comedian drugged and raped her a number of times. His crimes were smoothly facilitated by agents and assistants who knew what was happening and turned a blind eye. Still, it is only now that her words are gaining traction.
While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby's crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn't I believed? Why didn't I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade.
This time around, Cosby has faced some minor professional repercussions. Queen Latifah recently cancelled an interview with Cosby and there is the ill-fated Cosby meme debacle that prompted Bowman's piece. Now it's up to NBC and Netflix, both companies who are planning shows with Cosby, to exercise a social experiment to see whether people believe the comedian engrained in their childhood is a rapist. And now we wait. We wait to see who or what other companies step away (or support) the man behind The Cosby Show as he revs up for a new comedy tour with its inevitable television and press appearances.
Barbara Bowman will be watching and speaking up, like she has been for a decade.
Image via Getty.