BY ERIN STERNLIEB, CHIEF WEB EDITOR
I grew up watching The Cosby Show. It was one of the few shows my mom would let my brother and I watch. We would listen to his stand up tapes in the car. My brother would do impressions that would make me cry with laughter. I loved Cosby’s voice, and of course his sweaters. I haven’t thought about Bill Cosby much since I was about seven or eight years old, but when I read about his history of sexual assault a few weeks ago, I wasn’t shocked, just deeply sad.
It never crossed my mind that Cosby was rapist. I was not surprised simply because I read these stories every day. Whether they’re about Woody Allen, or a college student at UVA, sexual assault against women is everywhere. Not even fond childhood memories are safe from it.
The Cosby Show was special because it was one of the first television shows about a relatively normal, happy, upper middle class Black family. I obviously was not aware of the significance of this at age seven. But reading about it later, I was really happy that I grew up influenced by a show like that. I’m not sure if Cosby’s actions take away from the importance of the show — that is a larger question. Certainly, though, there will forever by an asterisk next to Cosby’s name, a name that the tv show also bares.
That, too, is part of the problem. The horrific things Cosby allegedly did to many women over many years will simply become an asterisk. He will become another name to add to the list of celebrities who have committed crimes against women. He will, most likely, get away with it.
The horrific things Cosby allegedly did to many women over many years will simply become an asterisk. He will become another name to add to the list of celebrities who have committed crimes against women.
In fact Cosby has gotten away with it, for decades. The fact that women are willing to step forward now does say something. It shows a change from previous decades when women felt forced to stay silent. While many do stay silent, every year more victims stand up to their perpetrators. Every year, more women find their voices. While it is tragic, and while every new story I read about women who are victims of rape or sexual assault makes me sick to my stomach, I’m glad that these stories are out. I hope that every new story, whether it is about a celebrity, at cat-caller, a U.S. congressmen, or a college kid, makes someone angry. And I hope this anger eventually becomes change.
There is a lot that can be said about Bill Cosby and the crimes he allegedly committed. Mostly, though, it is just sad and exhausting. It is sad that women are not safe anywhere. Not on the streets of New York in broad daylight. Not on college campuses. Not in the halls of Congress. And not around well-respected, successful actors. It’s getting harder for women to find positive male role models. Bill Cosby is another one I have to cross off my list.
Read more about sexual assault in the news at http://thewilsonbeacon.com/wilson-reacts-to-rolling-stone-uva-rape-story/