Wolf in Dad’s Clothing

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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.


Sexual Assault is Never the Victim’s Fault.

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A woman walks in to her doctor’s office. She has bruises. Again. She complains to the doctor that her vagina hurts. The doctor asks what happened. She explains that her husband was a little rough last night. House rule; if she gets him excited in the least she has to have sex with him. There is no option. It’s easier to give in rather than say no.

A little girl huddles in her bed. Her daddy’s friend is babysitting her again. She doesn’t like him and refuses to call him “uncle”. The door to her bedroom opens and he walks in. She starts to cry and beg him not to play with her again. He removes his pants and starts cooing at her.

It’s late at the neighbourhood bar. She came with a group of her girlfriends. A girl’s night out and a chance to cut loose. They danced together, knowing how the guys all watched them. She loved the skin-tight red dress and spike heels she’s wearing. They make her feel sexy and in control of her own sexuality. Her friends have left and she’s waiting for the cab outside. That’s when they grabbed her and dragged her in to the alley.

It’s her third date with him and she’s dressed in her best jeans. A top that shows off just the tops of her breasts, some perfume and enough makeup to hide her flaws. She gets in the car and he puts his hand on her knee. She’s uncomfortable but she wants things to go well. They have dinner and he’s driving her home when he stops in a little used back street in the industrial area. She says she wants to go home. He says it’s time to move things forward and grabs her breast. She hits his hand and backs away. He backhands her and rips her shirt open. She tries to fight him but he backhands her again.

A man wakes up in a strange bedroom. He’s naked and his hands are tied. Frightened, he tries to free himself. He took a job as a male dancer to save up some money to go to university later. A woman walks in the room and smiles. She forces his mouth open and shoves a blue pill down his throat.

There is somehow a theory that a woman’s sexuality needs to be monitored and controlled. That a woman in control of her sexuality is a whore and a slut. The woman who revels in her sexuality is to be reviled and brings on her own shame. That’s what the media and society tells us. Slut shaming is a double edged sword. The media displays the female body like an object for masturbatory material then ridicules the woman who displays her own body.

It is this mentality that allows people like the 630CHED pollsters to ask questions like “It’s very controversial but do you think victims of sexual assaults share any blame for what happens?”

There is a name for questions like this; it’s called victim blaming and it plays into the rape culture that is so prevalent in our society. We all say “tsk, tsk” when we see it happening, yet behind our hands we giggle and nod. We don’t demand that 630 CHED be held accountable for this kind of idiocy. We don’t get enraged. The woman was dressed slutty. She drank too much. She kissed him. He was a stripper. It’s jail. There’s a thousand excuses to place blame on the victim but not one reason to stand and point the finger at the rapist. Are we too ashamed? Does standing up and being in control of our own sexuality count for so little in the face of towing the societal line about being a good girl or boy?

I am a libertine and believe firmly in the power of our own choices. However, there is NEVER a time when ANYONE chooses to be the victim of sexual assault. There is NEVER a time when it is the victim’s fault and 630 CHED does not get to ask questions like that. It is questions like this that buy in to the rape culture and victim shaming.

You want an answer to your question, 630CHED? Here it is; sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault and shame on you for implying that it ever could be.

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