Barbara Bowman, an artist, claims that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was 17 in 1985. Her allegations are one of numerous accusations of sexual abuse against Cosby while he was mentoring her. Bowman claims that she told her agent and a lawyer and neither of them believed her story. She has been telling her story for 10 years. She has been interviewed by magazines and radio shows. It wasn’t until Hannibal Burress, a comedian, called Cosby a rapist during a comedy act that the public noticed.
The fact that nobody believed Bowman when she first reported the crime is horrible in itself, but she was also on the receiving end of victim blaming. I can understand that Cosby was held in high esteem by many people because of his role on “The Cosby Show,” but to completely disregard her or any other victim’s story because it paints him in a different light is wrong. This kind of response is becoming quite common. Everybody is asking, “why didn’t she leave?” Instead, people are wondering how he was able to do this to so many women without being arrested, if it is true.
I’ve never heard anyone accuse Cosby of sexual assault, so when I heard this I was surprised there wasn’t anything on it in the news. The media coverage of this story is severely lacking. CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post have only recently started covering this story. How is it that we can find out every sordid detail about celebrities as they happen, yet when something like this happens there is little to no coverage? It had to be made into a joke for people to start to care. Whether or not you believe Bowman or the numerous women that have come forward, the fact that someone is claiming that they were sexually assaulted should be taken seriously and people should pay attention.
The scary part of this is that it could happen anywhere, even on campus, and you shouldn’t have to worry about whether people will believe your story. Thankfully, on campus, there are sexual assault resources available and information about resources can be found on the school’s website.