I‘m not the least bit surprised by the admission Bill Cosby made during his 2005 lawsuit from Andrea Constand that he had given Quaaludes to the woman (or women) he intended to have sex with. The writing has been on the wall for a long time and almost 40 women with credible testimonies against him have spoken out. It’s important to acknowledge that these women have come from behind the curtain even though most of them have absolutely nothing to gain from this case.
Now that this admission has become an item of public record, there isn’t even a question in my mind as to whether Cosby forced himself on those women for so many years. The only question I have is whether or not our justice system will hold him liable for it. Furthermore, I’d say that those who are still doubtful of whether or not Cosby sexually assaulted the women testifying against him at this point are either confused about what rape and sexual assault are or are straight up denying what they are as sweeping, problematic issues in the human experience.
As a result, I condemn Whoopi Goldberg (and anyone who shares her perspective) by foolishly downplaying this latest development because it completely absolves Cosby of what he has said and done while completely undermining what his alleged victims have gone through.
Even though I don’t want to, I sincerely believe that Bill Cosby is a rapist. I have believed that since media reports revealed the many women who started independently coming forward with horror stories as early as 2002. The release of the court documents per the AP’s request is just the icing on the cake.
Let’s be clear about the definition of rape and sexual assault that I’m using here to make these claims. As defined by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, sexual assault is a criminal act of dominance through the means of sexual contact or behaviors that are imposed upon someone without their consent. Sexual assault can come in different forms, for example: rape, non-consensual penetration of someone’s body, attempted rape, forcing the victim into sexual acts like oral sex or entering the perpetrator’s body and finally, undesired fondling.
The explicit legal definition of sexual assault changes from state to state, as detailed here in RAINN’s State Law Database. But the essential meaning of what we’re talking about is the same in each form of sexual assault: it’s imposing sexual contact or behaviors onto someone who either doesn’t want to have sex, who isn’t old enough to consent with the other party or who isn’t conscious enough (whether from impaired judgement or simply from being unawake) to agree to it.
This brings us back to the exact statements that Cosby made while speaking with the plaintiff’s lawyer during the 2005 lawsuit. In the now infamous exchange, Constand’s lawyer, Dolores M. Troiani, asked Cosby:
“When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?”
Cosby responded by saying, “Yes.”
Cosby’s lawyer, Patrick O’Connor, then cut him short of answering whether he gave the women the Quaaludes without their knowledge. However, Cosby did openly admit that he obtained seven prescriptions for Quaaludes and gave the women he allegedly assaulted numerous Benadryl tablets. Obviously, this information is incredibly incriminating and gives us a very straightforward picture of what it was that Cosby has been doing all of these years. Now we know for sure that Cosby had intent in targeting these women for sexual activity and we know that he was going to do so by using a substance that would have rendered these women unconscious in the act.
Frankly, Cosby’s attorney butted into the conversation about four seconds too late and in my opinion, it does not matter that Cosby didn’t explicitly say if the women knew they were being drugged. These women who did consent to being alone with Cosby or even to sexual acts on other occasions could not and did not ask to be raped. A woman cannot ask for something she never wanted in the first place. These words seem to take a long time to get through to people, so I will continue saying them until they do.
I don’t want to believe that Bill Cosby went out and did these things because I grew up loving Cosby’s contributions to society as an entertainer and as a creative. Despite his hateful speech shaming Black people for failing to adhere to respectability politics and for blaming us for our own deaths at the hands of the police, it is undeniable that this man had done a tremendous amount of work through his programming to uplift the perceptions of Black people in America.
Still, unlike my colleague, Danielle Young, once said, I feel I have every right to judge Bill Cosby for the disgusting things he was doing behind closed doors. Cosby has taught us all why we cannot pick and choose the parts of an artist’s humanity that we want to see. Just as he was capable of garnering support and media attention from millions of people throughout his career and of donating incredible amounts of money to students and others in need from his community, Bill Cosby was capable of using that influence he garnered for evil outside of the public eye.
Perhaps not all of the women who have come forward about this are telling the truth—I’ll give you that much. For all we know, the number of women who were actually sexually assaulted by that man could be as small as four or five. But I certainly wouldn’t put it past him if he did victimize every single one of these people. Goldberg and anyone who shares her view needs to stop blindly defending Cosby as if these things weren’t possible.
This is not a conspiracy. This is not about some resentful models and actresses trying to get their 15 minutes of fame after 40 years out of the spotlight. God showed us a tragic, yet eloquent narrative on how hypocrisy can bite us in the ass when we become careless and full of ourselves, and it’s best we all pay attention and acknowledge what happened for what it was.