I was sitting in My office this afternoon, eating lunch and prepping to teach a workshop this evening when the Bill Cosby Sexual Assault case sentence was handed down. Bill Cosby, Dr. Huxtable, sentenced to three to ten years in state prison. I stared at My phone, immediately feeling Myself take off on a roller coaster ride of emotions; elation, hatred, remorse, nostalgia and finally, I settled on relief and pride.
Like many, I grew up watching Bill Cosby portray the character of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable. Like many, I began to see Huxtable as a surrogate father someone to measure fatherly behavior against. It was extremely hard for Me to come to terms with the fact that My beloved tv dad was being accused of being a sexual predator by not one, not two, but more than 50 women.
I remember being personally offended that the elders in My life had allowed Me to idolize Cosby, knowing the rumors were out there before. It only took once for Me to hear the stories, to know these women we not ALL lying. The man had a pattern that belied the image he portrayed via Heathcliff Huxtable. He was able to assault women at his will for years, even when outed, no one wanted to believe it.
It hurt, losing friends as they made rape and sexual assault jokes, bashed the women for taking too long to publicize their pain, called them and women like Me, who held in their abuse for years, liars. I too, know what it’s like to be sexually assaulted and afraid, afraid to tell, believing no one would believe Me over My abuser. I know what it’s like to suffer in silence because your assailant is so loved and you’re just a nobody. That’s a part of the reason I was so excited to be able to speak with TIME Magazine this year about the Me Too movement. So many voices left unheard because they’re not someone people can sympathize with.
When the sentence was handed down today, I felt it through My whole body as I hope every sexual predator who has used their position of power to take advantage of someone who trusted them did as well. Today is a new day and we live n a new time. No longer will “what did she wear?” and things like “She shouldn’t have gone to his hotel room, what did she expect?” be tolerated when someone is violated. What a victim wore or where they went has nothing to do with the crime enacted upon them.
I’m sure Cosby will find a way to get his sentence reduced he may do less than a year. What will stand forever, however, is his conviction. It will forever be known that when he tried to pay Andrea Constand off for sexually assaulting her, it didn’t work. The charges resurfaced, along with a deposition in his own words where Cosby admits to putting drugs in women drinks before engaging in sexual acts with them.
It’s always sad when a hero is humanized in front of the public, dare we ever know what’s behind the mask.