Barbara Bowman: “Bill Cosby Raped Me”

She wants to know why it took 30 years for anyone to believe her.


It’s been a tough week for America’s hero, Bill Cosby. On Monday, a social media campaign he (or, more likely, his staff) launched backfired in the most embarrassing way possible, with Bill Cosby “rape” memes going viral on Twitter. Then, he had the misfortune of bumping into me at a Veteran’s Day event in Philadelphia on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Columbia Journalism Review questioned why the media softballs the Cos, as Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong just did. And now on Thursday, Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman published a Washington Post essay entitled “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?” It’s hard to imagine what Friday might bring.

Of course, it’s not the first time that we’re hearing Bowman’s allegations. She told them to Philadelphia magazine writer Bob Huber way back in 2006 for Huber’s piece “Dr. Huxtable & Mr. Hyde.” She also spoke with excommunicated Philadelphia anchor Alycia Lane, Newsweek and People.

Then, after comedian Hannibal Buress called Bill Cosby a rapist right here in Philadelphia, Bowman, who was reportedly “elated” by Burress’ comments, decided to tell her story again to the Daily Mail.

Now, what she wants to know is why it took so long for her allegations to gain any real traction. Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post story:

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?

Unfortunately, our experience isn’t unique. The entertainment world is rife with famous men who use their power to victimize and then silence young women who look up to them. Even when their victims speak out, the industry and the public turn blind eyes; these men’s celebrity, careers, and public adulation continue to thrive. Even now, Cosby has a new comedy special coming out on Netflix and NBC is set to give him a new sitcom.

Bowman went on to insist that she has never received nor asked for a dime from Cosby, to the point of Cosby defenders who suggest that the multiple women who have made sexual assault allegations against the comic legend are just looking for a payday.

Bowman also calls for an overhaul of the justice system as it relates to these types of allegations:

He can no longer be charged for his crimes against me because the statute of limitations is long past. That is also wrong. There should be no time limits on reporting these crimes, and one of my goals is to call for legislation to that end. Famous and wealthy perpetrators use their power to shame and silence their victims. It often takes years for young women to overcome those feeling and gain the confidence to come forward (by which point physical evidence is long gone). Our legal system shouldn’t silence them a second time.

According to the Post, Cosby did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The newspaper also points out that Cosby previously denied sexual assault allegations made by another accuser. Cosby has never been charged with sexual assault or rape in any criminal court.

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