Legendary actor and comedian Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault this week.
More than 60 women have claimed Cosby raped or sexually assaulted them. 45 of them say that he drugged them. Many taking a drink or other pill offered by Cosby and waking up hours later.
These accusations go back to assaults as long ago as 1965. There are several more women who have acknowledged assaults by Cosby but who are not allowing their names to be revealed to the public.
It’s hard to go after someone who’s rich, and famous, and beloved by millions. It’s hard to be one voice against someone powerful. There actually had been women who had told the police about Cosby’s actions, but evidence can be difficult to find in these cases. There had been women who had mentioned it to reporters but the stories weren’t published. Research indicates that the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported. Many victims fear that their story won’t be believed (especially when it’s an accusation against Cliff Huxtable, someone who has a public persona of being wholesome). Many blame the victim.
Considering that a number of Cosby’s accusers were unconscious when assaults happened and weren’t necessarily sure of what had specifically taken place.
And over and over and over again, the story is the same. He would give a woman something to drink, or give her some type of pill for pain or anxiety, and they would black out. Horrifying and monstrous.
In October of 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress referenced the allegations against Cosby in a stand up routine. Within the next five weeks, some 45 women came forward with accusations against Cosby. This was not the first time Cosby had been accused of sexual assault. One victim talked about it in a 1996 interview that was never published. In 2000, Lachele Covington came forward saying that Cosby assaulted her when she was an extra on his show Cosby.
In 2005, seven women came forward. This was the first time Cosby’s allegations were made known publicly. He settled in a civil suit for an undisclosed amount. In legal documents from that suit, Cosby admitted to using drugs as sedatives for the purposes of sexual encounters with women. But he argues that they agreed to it.
This week, he was convicted in the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand. Cosby’s conviction in this one case is a victory for all of his victims, where many of the crimes occurred long enough ago that criminal charges cannot apply due to the statute of limitations.
Even after Cosby has been convicted, many still struggle to accept that Cosby is guilty.
Because it’s Cliff Huxtable! And Cliff Huxtable is a wise and wholesome family man. He’s made us laugh, his characters are lovable.
Don’t feel sorry for him. Feel sorry for his victims. No matter how kindly his public persona is, he’s a serial rapist and a predator.
Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.