OK, hear me out, please.
We all saw it happen. Fifty years' worth of abuse allegations against Bill Cosby began to surface in the year 2000. As the new millennium unfolded, 59 women came forward with stories that Cosby had either drugged them for the purpose of sex, touched them inappropriately or raped them. Cosby openly admitted to using qualudes on some of these women. When the trial started, this appeared to be an open and shut case, but as any woman who has been sexually abused will tell you, nothing is ever that simple.
The jury was gridlocked. Even Cosby's admittance was not enough for them to come to a concrete decision on his guilt, so a mistrial was declared. Not so surprisingly, there has been a public uproar over the judge's "verdict."
In the middle of it, Camille Cosby, Bill's faithful wife since 1964, released a statement condemning the judge and DA while affirming her support for her husband (You can find the full statement here.) Again, there was an uproar.
Statement From Mrs. Camille Cosby pic.twitter.com/nfBF92BpN1— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) June 17, 2017
Some on the Internet are calling Camille Cosby an "enabler" for throwing aside the rape allegations and standing with her husband. There are even people who are saying that Camille is justifying her husband's sick behaviour by continuing her support of him during his trial. There may be some truth to this. After all, what kind of person would continue to love a man who irreparably destroyed so many other women's lives?
As a woman who has been raped, I can tell you that it's not always that simple. And if you're out to attack Camille Cosby, you're in the wrong witch hunt.
Let me first say that in no way am I insinuating that any of the women allegedly abused by Cosby deserve the treatment that they have had, nor do I have any reason to disbelieve them. In my mind, 59 women can't be wrong, but at the same time, I have (dare I say) some sympathy for Camille's position. Although she is a large part of the reason why men like Bill Cosby get away with sexual assault, the wife of an abuser will always find themselves in a complex and painful situation.
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby departs after a judge declared a mistrial in his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Penn., June 17, 2017. (Photo: Charles Mostoller/Reuters)
I think about it in terms of the Titanic. When the movie came out, people gave a lot of thought as to what it would be like being trapped on a sinking ship. Of course, we'd all like to say that we'd be heroes. We'd be the first person to help the frail old lady into one of the only remaining lifeboats, or that we'd volunteer to stay behind while we give up our seat to a child. The reality of the situation is this: when faced with a moment of complete panic and crisis, we might be one of the ones to push the other passengers overboard in order to save our own lives. Everyone's a hero in their own mind, right?
I'd like to think that I'd be one of the brave ones when the Titanic started to founder, but I very well could have been launched into a fight or flight mentality instead. (I don't know. I wasn't on the Titanic). It therefore becomes very easy for all of us to judge a person based on their decision to shove a child out of the way in order to get to the last lifeboat. But again, be realistic: you weren't there, so you can't say for sure that you wouldn't have done differently.
Crisis and love are two things that make human beings act like animals. A person faced with a traumatic situation may lash out like a starved tiger. A person in love may do something, anything, for the person they love most without thinking about the repercussions. The primal instinct of preservation is a very funny thing. Camille Cosby is dealing with a deadly double cocktail of love and trauma.
Bill Cosby, with wife Camille Cosby on his side, arrive at Montgomery County Courthouse for the sexual assault trial's second week, in Norristown, Penn., on June 12, 2017. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Imagine for a moment what it would be like if someone told you that your husband, your son, your father, your brother, or your best friend of decades had sexually assaulted countless women. You would be in denial, right? I mean, you know that person so well, they've always been so wonderful, they have a big heart, they've always been there for you, they couldn't possibly... right? Take a moment and realize how difficult it would be for you to believe that someone you truly loved with your whole heart is guilty of rape?
I can imagine that Camille Cosby is still in shock. Barring that she had some involvement in any of these cases (and I pray that she does not), she is probably in a state of disbelief. To her, her husband has been her rock. More than likely, the only thing that she can do to save her from seeing the last 50 years of her life as a complete lie is to cast her blame on the judge, the District Attorney, and the women who accused her husband. And I feel for her.
As a victim, as a woman who was not believed, as someone who has had to live with the trauma of being abused for the better part of a decade, I really feel for Camille Cosby right now. What horror would she have to face in admitting that 59 women can't be wrong? Not only is she emotionally tied to Bill Cosby, but she's also tied to him financially. Breaking away from her husband would be a nightmare, in more ways than one. How do you even begin to deal with that?
Set your sights on the guy who drugged the victims, not the woman who is buried in denial.
There are limited lifeboats. The ship is going down and you don't have time to think or react. Camille Cosby is trying to save herself, and as much as we'd like to think that we'd be the selfless hero instead, who are we to say that we wouldn't shove our way to the last lifeboat with her?
If you're going to launch a tirade against someone, launch it against who's really at fault here. Set your sights on the guy who drugged the victims, not the woman who is buried in denial. Although Camille Cosby isan enabler to some degree, but we don't know what's lurking behind the Cosby shadows. Unless she was present at the crimes, she is just another kind of victim, whether she knows it or not. Bill Cosby, in all his decimated glory, is the one who deserves to take the fall.
I imagine that Camille Cosby is going to have a lot more to deal with soon enough. Let's leave her to it. One day, she'll find out that whatever lies buried will be exhumed. And that is far worse than anything the public could spit out at her right now.
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