Decades have passed since Bill Cosby’s first allegations to sexual assault that occurred in 2005, but society is only NOW starting to acknowledge his actions 10 years later. Are you surprised? I’m not. Today’s rape culture is beyond horrendous. Men consume all power and women are left helpless where their statements are nothing but lies.
In 2005, a woman named Tamara Green came forward and claimed that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s. However, Cosby’s lawyers jumped at the accusations, stating they were false and tried to cover them up. Numerous incidents repeat this exact scenario, where women have spoken out against Cosby, but his lawyers and publicists were quick to deny every single accusation to protect him.
Some of these stories took place decades ago, dating back to the 1970s. But women are only now speaking out about their encounters. Why? Because they couldn’t go to the police at the time. They were afraid. They were afraid of the blame, they were afraid of repercussions, and of Cosby’s power against them. Rape culture in today’s society is heartbreaking, with millions of survivors worldwide hiding their sexual assault and abuse. Did you know that only 40% of rape cases are reported? Do you know how much bravery it takes to report these incidents? And the manner in which reporting is treated by law enforcement doesn’t help.
A solid 98% of reported rape cases are true, making only 2% false, yet people still believe rape cases are made up and unimportant. 91% of rape victims are female. And 97% of all convicted rapists won’t even spend a single night in jail. Cosby’s legal accusations have shown a new light on rape culture, exposing people to the severity of these cases and how dominant our rape culture really is in today’s society.
Yet the justice being inflicted on Cosby still hasn’t set a precedent for survivors, particularly not in the entertainment industry.
Pop star Kesha recently filed charges against her producer and songwriter Dr. Luke, who had been taking advantage of her by drugging and sexually assaulting her – since she was 18 years old. As soon as Kesha confirmed her accusations, Dr. Luke’s lawyers and agents were quick to silence her. They claimed she was fabricating the assaults because she was unhappy in the contract she is currently in with Dr. Luke.
#FreedomforKesha immediately began trending on Twitter, where hundreds of users were tweeting out their opinions and showing their sympathy for Kesha in this difficult time. Kesha’s come so far along in her career, and to find out she had been sexually assaulted all these years by her own producer is heartbreaking. Who knew? No one. That’s the issue. On top of that, considering that her label is taking the side of the assailant only proves that society still has a long way to go.
People are finally starting to realize the extent of Cosby’s allegations and the effect it has had on the women over the past years. Society as a whole is finally starting to recognize that what Cosby was doing was wrong, and action must be taken against him. Finally, retribution has come for Cosby, and with a vengeance.
On September 25th, Brown University declared that it would officially revoke Bill Cosby’s honorary degree, given to Cosby in May of 1985. After Cosby’s legal depositions became publicly widespread this summer, authority figures agreed that his actions are completely contrary to the values of Brown University. Let’s face it. The fact that his posse was able to keep survivors of his crimes silenced for years on end because of our society’s rape culture is frightening.
Many people also complained to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame due to the issues surrounding his sexual assault. However, Chamber President and Executive Officer Leron Gubler responded with, “The answer is no.” The Chamber refused to revoke his star, but time will show that they were on the wrong side with this one.
According to former Chamber Chairman Johnny Grant, “Stars are awarded for professional achievement to the world of entertainment and contributions to the community. A celebrity’s politics, philosophy, irrational behavior, outrageous remarks or anything like that have never been cause to remove a Walk of Fame star.” That’s ridiculous. Sexual assault and rape isn’t “irrational behavior” in anyone’s book. It’s downright depraved. For those sympathizing with Cosby on this, think again. He is finally getting a small bit of what’s coming to him for what he did to countless women over the years.
Cosby’s statue in Walt Disney World was also taken down, in addition to his bust in the Hollywood Studios theme park. Brown isn’t the only university cutting ties with Cosby. The University of Massachusetts Amherst, Berklee College of Music, High Point University, and Freed-Hardeman University have all decided to break ties with Cosby, over the past 11 years. In 2011, the U.S. Navy bestowed an honorary title to Cosby called the Lone Sailor Award, which honors veterans who achieved success in their post-military careers. Finally, however, the Navy revoked the award in November 2014.
As his image continues to be revealed for what it truly is, more women are being inspired to speak out on Bill Cosby’s actions. With every new report, he continues to falter. I only hope that the prevailing rape culture in society today will take a lesson or two from his history, and that we slowly see a change in where the odds fall – where survivors are believed first, not after years of being silenced.