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Friday, July 10, 2015


The Cosby Show was like a breath of fresh air for me, a very young mother trying to raise small kids.  My first Halloween with my son was spent (after Trick or Treating) watching the Cosby show (with the Cosby kids celebrating Halloween, too) when there was a knock on the door and there on the step were my very first trick or treaters!

I learned so much from the Cosby show.  It was a groundbreaking show also.  Originally, Cliff Huxtable was supposed to be a chauffer, but Phyllicia Rashad, who played his wife, insisted on portraying the Huxtable parents as a doctor and a lawyer.  They were my favorite family in the few years I watched television.  The parents seemed so calm and so wise about everything.

Fast forward many years.  I'm in my poetry workshop for my MFA program.  The professor is a lovely man, a well-known poet, actually the Poet Laureate of California.  Somehow the conversation drifted over to Bill Cosby, as our instructor had worked with him.  Our professor told us that Bill Cosby was not a nice man, at all.

Fast forward a little more to m.'s house.  I repeat the story to him and he has a cow, as they say.  He tells me my instructor  lied --a man of great integrity whom I would doubt would ever lie--and that I should not repeat false things about people, that Cosby has made a lot of money doing what he has loved, that he has touched many people's lives. I can understand the reaction, because it was, in some ways, the reaction of thousands, eventually.

Today, Bill Cosby has fallen from grace because of his actions, raping and sexually harrassing women, and drugging them to get what he wanted. Whatever I knew or thought about him has vanished.  My instructor was not lying.  He knew, and now the world knows.

I also feel vindicated that people are talking more about the reactions of women who have been sexually assaulted in any way, and the caveman attitudes of certain people close to me are wrong, that THEY were the ignorant ones.   I think of someone who never was truly intimate with me again after I got assaulted at a local concert; I think of the rejection and cruelty of people when I was raped in college, by a popular professor who, taking pity on me, rented out a room in his home for me during my last semester, when I was broke. Because I did that, thinking he was being kind, people said I asked for it. I did not know he was a predator because I did not even know what that was.

Why did my ex, while we were still together, not take me in when I was in a horrible living situation, when I clearly needed help? He inherited thousands of dollars; could he have not spent a little on a couple of appliances and helped me repair a small area of my ceiling? I myself would have taken him in immediately had he needed it, even though my home in Lompico was so run-down; we could have fixed it together.  Why did my boyfriend in college, the man I wanted to marry, not shelter me when I was raped and traumatized?  He told me he was having his "escapades," of course.  Even now, in fact forever, I would harbor these people if they needed.  I would be by m's side if something ever happened to him and he needed me there.

It is because some of the men I have chosen in life are selfish. That is the bottom line. I have trouble distinguishing selfish from not-selfish.

The women drugged and assaulted by Cosby all have felt similar things. How many of them had partners who said they deserved it, how many were told they wallowed in victimhood, who were traumatized for years?

I have always said that no one listens to women: well, some do, but they are in the minority. This is a situation where someone with power and vast amounts amounts of money abused women for years....a story which probably plays out everywhere.