As I read the social media comments following Beverly Johnson’s article in Vanity Fair about Bill Cosby’s disgusting behavior, I couldn’t help but feel a little angry. Not because I think that Bill Cosby is some innocent man under attack. It is clear that he is a guilty man who preyed upon young women in the entertainment industry who feared and revered his power in Hollywood. It wasn’t because there seemed to be an endless stream of women coming forward with their story nearly 30 years later. That there were many other victims was an obvious conclusion. This story touched a nerve because I was the victim of rape myself.
As a young adult, I recounted my story, in graphic detail to the police, and to the horror of my parents. When I came forward with my accusations, several other girls came forward too, and our attacker landed in jail, where he still is today. Many women are unable to speak, because of paralyzing fear. They are not famous models, actresses, or celebrities. They are silent victims all around us.
What troubles me about this story, is that it has become so sensational, so gripping, that it has garnered an editorial feature in the glitziest of all celeb magazines, Vanity Fair. Reading the words, I stopped. It was so editorialized, reading like some sort of one-sheet for TV movie, that I couldn’t help feeling appalled and disgusted. Accompanying the spread were photos of the iconic model, beautifully lit, retouched to perfection. And then it hit me. This was not the picture of rape. Rape is ugly, scary, horrifying, and ungraceful. And this spread was not it. I know, because I have been there.
I’m glad that Ms. Johnson has finally found courage to take up the cause by donating her time to an organization for abused children. Maybe she will be the light for so many hopeless victims of rape and sexual assault. I personally wish I could find a glimmer of light in reading her story. But today, it was just another horrible tale, recounted beautifully for a newsstand near you.