Bill CosbybI recently came across an article where Malcolm-Jamal Warner, the actor who played Cosby’s son on The Cosby Show, talks about his feelings on Cosby. He gives glowing praises and even calls Cosby his “mentor”. This is not a new sentiment. Many of Cosby’s former co-actors have come forward talking about what a great guy he was. The public is still shocked that the man who embodied what fatherhood in America meant is being accused of drugging and raping some 25 women. How could we not see this? There seems to be a disconnect happening somewhere and the public doesn’t know how to reconcile the loving man we watched on television with the predator he’s accused of being.

It doesn’t surprise me that Cosby has such a loving, caring persona yet is accused of multiple sexual assaults. Thanks to Hollywood, we have this idea that we know what a predator looks like. He acts like Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates. A predator has razor tipped gloves like Freddy Kreuger, the most famous Freddy Kreugerpedophile of all, or a hockey mask like Jason. Predators are supposed to stand out. They’re supposed to give off some radar that lets the rest of us know they’re predators. Right?

The truth is more horrifying than anything Hollywood could ever dream up. Predators look and act like everyone else. The truth is that predators are charming. They’re witty, intelligent and likeable. Ted Bundy was so charming that he became friends with true crime novelist Ann Rule when they worked on a crisis hotline together. John Wayne Gacy was an entrepreneur and very active in his community. He was often described as a pillar of his community.

Predators are hunters and their prey is the rest of society. Hunters need to blend in to their environment and they can’t do that if they’re wearing razor tipped gloves. Cosby had a fatherly persona. He cultivated an image of the mentor whose quick wit amused the rest of us. There is not one person who can say they suspected Cosby of doing the things he’s accused of because he’s America’s dad. He’s a cultural icon. How could he have drugged and raped 25 women? The mind spins to think about it.

So how could no one have seen the sexual assault of 25 women? Cosby hid behind the All-American Dad persona and used his celebrity to keep them from talking. Yet, even in this piece I have to keep saying that he’s only ACCUSED of sexual assault because somehow the word of 25 victims isn’t enough to act as proof. So Cosby keeps hiding.

Predators are dangerous not because of the damage they cause but because they hide so successfully in plain sight while doing it. They’re able to cause so much damage because the rest of us are hiding from the man in the hockey mask and trusting the charmer. Is there anything we can do about it? I don’t know, honestly. However, let’s not blame 25 victims for not coming forward sooner because they didn’t think they’d be believed. Let’s blame the one accused of sexually assaulting them.