After months of development and weeks of public pressure, NBC has finally announced it has scrapped the new sitcom project from Bill Cosby. This comes after Netflix “postponed” a new stand-up special.
After 15 woman have detailed more than 45 years of rape and assault, Cosby is finally facing a backlash.
But where will that backlash lead? Will we learn from this? And will those 15 women get the peace and justice they deserve after years and years of being written off, ignored and vilified?
One thing has become abundantly clear this week, this year, forever: The media does not know how to talk about rape, how to talk to or present victims. Still. Women are raped every day, harassed every day, and with every news story, there is the vague spectre of “controversy.” As though there is room for debate. As though anyone other than the victims should have a say in this, and as though the victims ever actually get that say. Time and time again, victims are ignored, shouted over. Just four days ago, the New York Times ran a piece essentially equating rapist and rape victim, actual assaults and false allegations, as though both are equal victims and both occur with equal frequency. Just last night, Don Lemon asked one of Cosby’s victims why she didn’t simply bite his penis and make him stop.
For victims, and for those of us who live our lives wondering if we’re just victims-to-be, this is what they face—their unspeakable, life-wrecking horror is as up for debate as Kirk vs. Picard. Everything they did could have been done differently, better, and could have prevented what happened to them. Everyone has an opinion and those whose opinions are most damaging believe theirs have the most right to be heard. Because, as Lemon said, “there are ways not to perform oral sex if you don’t want to do it.” The female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down, you know.
If you didn’t want it, it wouldn’t have happened. And if you didn’t want it, you would have stopped it. That’s what they want us to think. That’s what they always want us to think. They want a world where the women are lying, the men are infallible, and everything, everything, is up for discussion. Everyone entitled to their own opinions.
Is anyone else sick of these opinions so many are so entitled to?
It took years for these women to be taken seriously. It took a male comedian to bring this back into the public eye. And there are those who still don’t believe, who see this women as opportunistic, who think good ole Cliff Huxtable is getting an unfair deal.
These women deserved better. Every future victim deserves better. So what will it take to give them better?