There isn’t much I can say about the Bill Cosby situation. I will not sit here and advocate for his innocence or his guilt. I will not begin to assume these women are lying or that he is a part of a grand conspiracy to take down a wealthy, respected figure in black culture. I will not even try to choose between my blackness and my womanhood. I refuse to pick apart the stories of these women on the sole basis that they are presumed victims and tearing their stories apart is not my job. It will only ensure that other rape victims will feel like they can’t come forward.
But, this is not only about what I won’t do or say. I will say the following with as much confidence and certainty as I have anything else on this platform:
- A woman’s sexual history does not make her less of a victim.
- A woman can enjoy sex and still be raped.
- Rape victims can be coerced to stay quiet and their silence can be purchased with force.
- Rape victims can act out of fear and survival.
- Rape victims can feel responsible for what happened to them even if it isn’t true.
- Women can lie about what happened or didn’t happen.
- The possibility of this being a conspiracy is fathomable.
- Slipping something into the drinks of women and then having sex with them while they are passed out is rape.
- A woman agreeing to get drinks and party is not an open invitation to take away her ability to say yes or no.
- Rape is rape; no matter who commits the crime.
While I will not make premature judgments on a case that I honestly don’t know much about, I will say that many of the people reacting to this situation also don’t know the details, haven’t read depositions, statements, or really anything either. The complete protection of the accused without anything but a conspiracy to stand on is disturbing. It is a part of a larger narrative about the silencing of sexual assault in both the female community and the black community. Often times, we are told to hush up and keep family business in the house and that leaves of hurt and unable to heal from our trauma.
If this is true, false, or a bit of both, the situation is shitty. But, these women’s credibility should not be judged from the above mentioned. That I know for sure.