2 Steps Forward, 5 Steps Back…

I didn’t want to make another political entry so soon, they don’t seem to be anyone’s favorite. But I have to say something.

There has been a lot of news lately with several women coming out accusing of being sexually assaulted/raped by comedian Bill Cosby. When I first saw the headline online, I didn’t click on it. Like these women felt, like so many people feel now, it was just easier to ignore it. How could such a beloved celebrity and family man do such a thing? It made my heart so sad. But eventually, I did start reading about it. Because like war, death, genocide, disease, famine, and all other things that may be unpleasant but very real, we cannot just stick our heads in the sand. We should NOT be ignoring this story.

I can't look at Bill Cosby's picture one more time right now, so instead, here are a bunch of beautiful women from all over the world.  Photo credit to: Robyn Jay.
I can’t look at Bill Cosby’s picture one more time right now, so instead, here are a bunch of beautiful women from all over the world. Photo credit to: Robyn Jay.

Regardless if the allegations are true, what’s more appalling is the public’s reaction. Anyone who comes forward and admits to being sexually assaulted deserves to be heard. If you’ve never done it, imagine the shame, embarrassment, the risk – it takes incredible courage. These women are now being called liars, ladder-climbers, skanks, or worse – for admitting something so terrible and personal to the public? For trying to get justice and expose the truth about an incredibly successful man? Sure, that sounds easy. They obviously just want the negative attention.

Today, ET just released an article about Janice Dickenson, the latest of the now 15 women who have come forward accusing Bill Cosby of raping them. Please do not read the comments on that article if you do not want to weep/have a rage stroke. I did, unfortunately (it’s a bad reflex) and I was just… stunned. These must be trolls, right? Please let them be trolls.

“Why did she wait so long to come forward?”
“She took the drugs and glass of wine willingly!” (He told her it was aspirin, according to Dickinson)
“She’s no saint either, she’s playing the victim!”
“She’s just looking for her 15 minutes of fame”
“Bill is rich and powerful and has a beautiful wife, he could have any woman he wants, why would he rape?”

And then here’s this gem, “YES… It is true ladies..There were days when you are out drinking and partying..And you had one night stands..You know you had sex forced on you because you were either drugged or intoxicated..And then the next day feeling like crap because you know you had sex the night before..You feel humiliated and hurt because you can’t remember everything..And you know he forced himself onto you..TO ME! THAT IS NOT RAPE! You are just as much to blame as the man who forced himself on you. You put yourself in that situation, by going back to his room or to a hotel with them.”

… I just can’t. I want to write so many angry responses to each of them and smack America upside the head.

I know this news is upsetting. No one wants to accept or even think of our beloved Comedic-Jello-Pudding-Loving-Crazy-Sweater-Wearing-TV-Doctor-Dad as a rapist. It is not pleasant. And hopefully more information will come and he will receive a fair trial. But we need to STOP with the victim-blaming. We need to STOP with the rape culture. It’s 2014, and this is how we respond to women who accuse a man of raping them: paying them to stay quiet, publicly shaming them, threatening their careers and reputations – no wonder they didn’t come out about this in the ’70s or ’80s. We can’t even handle it today – we’d rather run them out of town or burn them at the stake, than face some unfortunate news.

Pretending the Holocaust didn’t happen, doesn’t mean it didn’t. Trauma is trauma, it’s there and it’s real. Ignoring it only lets the wounds fester and become infected – and infections grow – they grow until they consume and poison the entire body if they are not stopped. We’re not ostriches. We need to grow the f*ck up and try to be critical thinkers. Take in the information, THINK about it, read and research, gather the facts, and try to stay objective. Try to have some frickin’ empathy – what if this happened to you? Your sister? Your mother? Your daughter? Your son?

Rape happens. Sexual assault happens. The statistics are there, and they only cover those reported. I have many friends, male and female, who have confessed to me that they were sexually assaulted. For me, rape is personal. And it should be – for all of us. 97% of accused rapists will never spend a day in jail. Meaning they are free to go about their lives and rape again – by not talking about rape, by not reporting rape and sexual assault, we endanger others and we endanger ourselves.

This is why I’m a feminist. It’s not women vs. men. It’s humanity vs. inhumanity. This is why it matters. This is why I will not shut up.

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