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35 of Bill Cosby’s Alleged Victims Speak Out to ‘New York’ Magazine

No one will believe you, so why speak up?

This is the terrifying line allegedly used by Bill Cosby to his trail of victims over the past near-half-century, but there is power in numbers and 35 of his victims have come forward to tell their story to New York magazine.

This week’s cover showcases 35 of the 46 women allegedly raped by Cosby. Their ages range from 44 to 80, and the magazine features an essay by Noreen Malone, poignant with horrific first hand stories of the victims accompanied by their portraits. The essay follows rape culture of the past four decades and the demise of Cosby’s ability to suppress victims. Malone outlines the transition using a piece of Hannibal Buress’ stand-up made immensely popular through social media that allowed the victims a believing and sympathetic public they hadn’t been awarded a decade prior – obvious through the Constand case and other related allegations that were met with skepticism and threats.

From the essay:

“He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up, black people … I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches … I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. Dude’s image, for the most part, it’s fucking public Teflon image. I’ve done this bit onstage and people think I’m making it up … That shit is upsetting.”

The portraits bring a sense of tangiblity to the women’s accounts. They also drive Malone’s thesis home: rape culture has changed and women will not allow denial or supression to be the norm. They stand together in multitude, a refusal to be silenced.

From the New York article:

“At 17, my agent introduced me to Bill Cosby, who was going to mentor me and take me to the next level of my career. Over the course of the next year, I was drugged half the time when I was with him and would come out of a delusional experience going, ‘Whoa, what was that?’ He would say, ‘Well, I needed to undress you and wash your clothes because you got drunk and made a fool of yourself.’ Do you remember the Jaycee Dugard story? She pretty much could have climbed over the fence any time she wanted to but was just so broken down and couldn’t think straight. I felt like a prisoner; I felt I was kidnapped and hiding in plain sight. I could have walked down any street of Manhattan at any time and said, ‘I’m being raped and drugged by Bill Cosby,’ but who the hell would have believed me? Nobody, nobody. I was invited down to Atlantic City to see his show and had a very confusing night where I was completely drugged and my luggage was missing. When I called the concierge to find out where my luggage was, Cosby went ballistic. He slammed the phone down and said, ‘What the hell are you doing, letting the whole hotel know I have a 19-year-old girl in my hotel suite?’ The next morning, he summoned me down to his room and yelled at me that I needed to have discretion. He threw me down on the bed and he put his forearm under my throat. He straddled me, and he took his belt buckle off. The clanking of the belt buckle, I’ll never forget.” —Barbara Bowman

Cosby invited then-28-year-old Dickinson to Lake Tahoe, saying he had a possible acting opportunity for her. They dined together, and he gave her a pill to take with a glass of wine. The next morning, she woke up and remembered Cosby climbing on top of her. Her clothes were off, and there was semen between her legs. Dickinson came forward in 2014. “I woke up the next morning after the incident with my entire life altered forever, knowing full well that Bill Cosby had raped me the previous evening. I held this inside of my soul for years and years and years. I have been brutally and catastrophically, traumatically altered forever.” – Janice Dickinson

“I didn’t realize that I had been raped. Back then, rape was done in an alleyway with somebody holding a knife to your throat that you didn’t know. There was no date rape back then. I just knew that something horrible had happened. But I couldn’t put a name to it. The difference between this and that rape in the dark alley is that his face would be before me every week on TV. People would mention a joke that he said: ‘Wasn’t that funny?’ And all the while, my stomach would just be churning.” —Joan Tarshis

“I told my supervisor at the Playboy Club what he did to me, and you know what she said to me? She said: ‘You do know that that’s Hefner’s best friend, right?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She says to me: ‘Nobody’s going to believe you. I suggest you shut your mouth.’ ” —PJ Masten

“I went online one morning, just to check my email. The Yahoo page came up, and there was something about Cosby, this thing with Hannibal Buress. And all of a sudden, something just hit me. Anger. Son of a bitch! You know, a woman can be not believed for 30 years. But it takes one man? To make a joke about it? That fucking pissed me off so bad. Suddenly I’m thinking, Who do I contact?” —Victoria Valentino

The portraits and the rest of the accounts can be found online in the New York magazine article.

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