Alleged Bill Cosby Rape Victim Asks, “Why Didn’t Anyone Believe Me?”

Over the years, I’ve struggled to get people to take my story seriously. So last month, when reporter Lycia Naff contacted me for an interview for the Daily Mail, I gave her a detailed account. I told her how Cosby won my trust as a 17-year-old aspiring actress in 1985, brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times. In one case, I blacked out after having dinner and one glass of wine at his New York City brownstone, where he had offered to mentor me and discuss the entertainment industry. When I came to, I was in my panties and a man’s t-shirt, and Cosby was looming over me. I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me. But as a teenager, I tried to convince myself I had imagined it. I even tried to rationalize it: Bill Cosby was going to make me a star and this was part of the deal. The final incident was in Atlantic City, where we had traveled for an industry event. I was staying in a separate bedroom of Cosby’s hotel suite, but he pinned me down in his own bed while I screamed for help. I’ll never forget the clinking of his belt buckle as he struggled to pull his pants off. I furiously tried to wrestle from his grasp until he eventually gave up, angrily called me “a baby” and sent me home to Denver.

Barbara Bowman has maintained that comedian Bill Cosby raped her for nearly 30 years, but it wasn’t until recently, when Hannibal Burress brought renewed attention to Cosby’s history of being accused of sexual assault, that her story began to be taken seriously. Today, in The Washington Post, Bowman, now married with two children, again shares her story, detailing how a much older Cosby manipulated her into trusting him, promising her that he would make her famous, and then sexually assaulted her multiple times when she was just 17 years old. According to Bowman (pictured above, inset, at age 19), Cosby’s circle of handlers and assistants were aware and turned a blind eye. Her story is one of over a dozen other stories shared by women who claim they were raped by the “Cosby Show” star, who has managed to walk away unscathed either because the accusations were not taken seriously by the authorities or because Cosby settled the suits brought against him out of court. Bowman has been speaking out about what Cosby did to her since it happened, as have many of his other alleged victims, causing Bowman to wonder why it took a male comedian making a joke at Cosby’s expense for their to be a public outcry.

While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby’s crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn’t I believed? Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?

As Bowman notes in her piece, she never received any money from Cosby and as the statute of limitations has passed, there is no chance of him being punished for his actions. “I have nothing to gain by continuing to speak out,” she writes. Cosby and his representatives did not respond to the Washington Post’s request for comment, but Cosby has maintained his innocence in all of the sexual assault accusations brought against him. [Washington Post]