A few years ago a friend of mine, I’ll call her Janet, came over to my house and after several glasses of wine she told me that in the 1970s Bill Cosby had raped her. Here’s the story in her own words:
Along with others in the news right now, I was drug-raped by Bill Cosby. This was in the early 70s when he was doing stand-up comedy in Lake Tahoe at a casino. A girlfriend and I were on vacation there, standing at a blackjack table when Cosby came up and invited us to be his guest at his show. We left our small children at a babysitter, never dreaming we wouldn’t make it back for them that night. And I might add that Cosby knew we had left our children with a sitter. What a guy!!!
My girlfriend Gloria and I had front-row seats at the show, and he invited us to come backstage afterward. Then he said there was a private party nearby and (being stupid) we went. But we felt safe, we were honored to be in his company. He made drinks for us and soon my friend was falling asleep and I was flying high!
The rest was a blur but I know what happened. At one point I remember going outside naked in the snow and I couldn’t even feel it. The snow was not cold! What kind of drug was that?
I wanted to call the police when we woke up in the morning, but my friend said no, just forget about it. Instead we called a cab.
How to face my son, now, who felt abandoned at the babysitter? He was so young that I couldn’t tell him I’d been raped. In fact, I never told anyone about the incident for 20 years. Rather I went into therapy for five years to deal with my depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
My son remembers well the trauma of his mommy not coming back. I told him about ten years ago what had happened as he seemed never to get over having been left. He had this to say about that night: “I remember Gloria telling us that Bill Cosby had chosen you two to be his special guests for the evening. I still didn’t understand why you would leave us there at the sitters’ way beyond their allowable hours…no overnight kids. We wondered why Bill Cosby didn’t send a car for us.”
I realize I am not a celebrity but want to speak out anyway, as I often wonder how many other victims there are like myself.
I remember being so stunned by my friend’s secret disclosure that I scarcely knew what to say. The next morning I questioned if that whole conversation had really happened.
It was clear that Janet wasn’t lying, and I’m guessing part of her decision to tell me grew from the fact that she knew I was writing about women’s issues. And yet the incident she described seemed so surreal that it was difficult to process—a reaction I’m sure she felt in spades for decades to come.
And I’m convinced this is the reason so many women have never come forward: if you pretend like it didn’t happen, maybe it will go away and leave you to return to your normal life. But for Cosby’s victims—26 have accused him of raping and/or sexually assaulting them to date—feelings of shame and paranoia were now their new normal.
Then there is the fear of being called a liar publicly, as Cosby’s hired mouthpiece, his lawyer Martin Singer does on a daily basis. (How’d you like to have his job?) This was especially true in the 1970s, an era when women had far fewer rights in the United States than they do today…and Bill Cosby was one of the richest and most popular entertainers in America.
Which brings me to the biggest question of all: why would a man who was a handsome millionaire Emmy-winning TV star drug women for sex? He could have probably taken his pick of partners, and paid for a harem full of prostitutes. There is only one explanation: it’s about the power. A drugged woman is completely in his control and this is clearly an obsession of his.
Ironically during the same time that Cosby drugged and raped my friend, he released his Grammy-winning album: Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs. Well, he warned them, didn’t he?
If you’d like to learn more about Bill Cosby’s history of rape, see this timeline.