Forgetting The Women: The Danger of Phylicia Rashad's Defense of Bill Cosby
January 12, 2015 at 5:35 am
In the weeks since the floodgates of accusations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby opened, the case hasn’t gotten any clearer, and with each passing day there are more questions than answers
As of present time, there are over 30 women, who of varying levels of celebrity, age and race have come forward with eerily similar stories of being drugged and assault. Many of these go back to the 70’s, during Cosby’s ascension into fame and fortune.
While all people are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, there’s a growing number of those who have presumed this entire group of women to be guilty. Guilty of poor time management (“why did they wait so long”), financial planning (“they must be after money”) or being masterminds of a widespread conspiracy to see a successful Black man fail.
Which leads to the biggest question – what is there to possibly gain by coming out and accusing a well-known celebrity of sexual assault? In the battle of a beloved tv show and a legacy deemed so important – who has the most to gain and who has the most to lose? Whose truth will set one side free and condemn the other? While various sources confirm that false sexual assault accusations vary between the 2% to 8% mark, this generally consistent worldwide statistic is ignored.
His wife of over 50 years, Camille Cosby broke her silence and via a statement said that “He is the man you thought you knew,” and this week his tv wife, Phylicia Rashad jumped to his defense by saying:
“What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.
She was reported to have said: “forget those women” and to have brushed off the claims from Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson.
This was exactly what some who have been skeptical of this case from the start wanted – a character witness statement from the people we think should and would know him best. And in Phylicia’s case – a woman many of us grew up thinking was the epitome of Black married life. Across social media, you will find just as many applauding her statements as those thoroughly disappointed by them.
The problem with Phylicia’s statement (which she is now saying she’s been mis-quoted) and the loudly adamant Cosby supporters – they are exactly definition of rape culture. A phrase thrust recently thrust into our lexicon and vocabulary, with more deniers than believers.
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” ― Stuart Chase
I cannot simply set these women aside in favor of a conspiracy theory. I cannot forget the women who haven’t come forward because they are scared of the media attention and harassment that comes with accusing a well loved celebrity. “These women” are important. They are like so many others who have been forgotten. No victim of crime is more scrutinized than those of sexual assault. In more cases than not – even when there is actual evidence, it doesn’t result in consequences for the accused, but leaves a life in shambles.
We don’t know what the truth is in this case. We don’t know these women. We don’t know Bill Cosby in the way that his wife or Phylicia does – or believe they do. The thing that we do know, is that we don’t have any truth. And no matter what side of the fence you land on, it would behoove us all to not forget these women.