Let the Rape Apologism Begin: Bill Cosby’s Rape Conviction Overturned
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s threw out Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction opening the way for his immediate release from prison. Cosby, 83, has served nearly three years of a three- to 10-year sentence after being found guilty of drugging and violating Temple University sports administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era.
Cosby was arrested in 2015, when a district attorney armed with newly unsealed evidence — the comic’s damaging deposition testimony in a lawsuit brought by Constand — brought charges against him days before the 12-year statute of limitations ran out. In a 4-3 split decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby, was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge Cosby though there was no evidence that promise was ever put in writing.
A Reminder of How We Got Here
“Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals,” Cosby said. “These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: ‘The cops shouldn’t have shot him.’ What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?”
Bill Cosby, “Pound Cake Speech”
Cosby’s Pound Cake speech was cited by a U.S. district judge as a legal justification for unsealing the deposition from a 2005 civil case he settled. In the deposition, Cosby openly admits to obtaining seven prescriptions for quaaludes from a doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s. He received the prescriptions to treat a sore back, but actually gave the pills to young women, he said. A popular party drug at the time, Cosby said he would offer the drugs to women “the same as a person would say have a drink.”
In his memorandum, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno said the speech, and Cosby’s general posture as a “public moralist,” made the deposition a legitimate subject of public interest sufficient to override Cosby’s objections to its disclosure. “The stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct, is a matter as to which the AP — and by extension the public — has a significant interest,” the judge wrote.
According to the deposition, the plaintiff’s mother once called Bill Cosby on the phone, upset about what her daughter said he had done. And worried the woman would think he was a “dirty old man,” Mr. Cosby told deposing lawyers that he wished Ms. Constand would tell her mother “about the orgasm” so that she would realize their sex was consensual. Todd Akin would agree with Cosby on that one. Remember him?
It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.
Cosby boasts about having a talent for picking up the sort of nonverbal cues that signal a woman’s consent.
I think I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them.
During Ms. Constand’s case against Bill Cosby nearly a decade ago, 13 other women came forward as well with anonymous sworn statements that they, too, had been molested by the comedian in some way. These other women, however, never got the chance to pursue their claims in court because Cosby settled the case with Ms. Constand on undisclosed terms before they got the opportunity.
This was an excerpt of a piece I wrote on the faulty comparison between Tamir Rice and Bill Cosby.
Rape apology (or rape apologia) is “an umbrella term for any arguments suggesting that rape is infrequent, misreported, over-reported, not that big a deal, or excusable in some circumstances, such as marital rape, corrective rape or if the victim was “provocatively dressed” or “extremely drunk”. Rape apology is the foundation of rape culture, and it is expressed in several arguments, beliefs, and attitudes.
Rape apology is dangerous for many reasons. First, its underlying beliefs are inaccurate. While rape apologists believe that rape is infrequent, worldwide statistics highlight that only 20% of rape cases are reported because victims are being silenced or are too ashamed to speak up. That means that for every rape accusation brought to light, there are 4 more victims who are remaining silent.
Rape apologists also accuse survivors of speaking up solely to disgrace or ruin the reputation of a rapist. False allegations do occur, but only about 2% of the time. Yet when you believe that rape accusations are lodged mainly to disgrace the rapists, you invalidate the trauma of the victim. You prevent more survivors from speaking up for fear of being ridiculed, and you allow rapists to continue to live, unscathed.
Thinking that Bill Cosby’s sentencing was overturned because he’s innocent isn’t just ignorance of the legal system. It’s rape apologism. Thinking Cosby was exonerated because of sweeping new evidence that cleared him of rape isn’t just ignorance of the legal system. It’s rape apologism.
As a black man who understands how the legal system does not benefit us, I’m ecstatic that a black man has been freed by the appeals process. What I will not do is claim that Cosby is innocent or some grave miscarriage of justice has been remedied. Bill Cosby is a rapist. He told us so Phylicia.