Bill Cosby and How Sexual Predators Feed On Victim Guilt (Trigger Warning)

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4 days ago, 2 more women came forward with allegations against Bill Cosby…
and it barely made the news.
At this point, there are over 30 women who have been brave enough to come forward,
and because we have heard so many stories,
all so eerily similar in the victim’s accounts of what he has done,
it seems that the initial shock has worn off,
that it barely makes a dent in us anymore.

But something stuck with me,
that really bothers me…
something that I’ve seen in myself and something that I’ve witnessed with others,
something about Beverly Johnson’s story.

Once she realized that she was succumbing to a drug haze after sipping a drink offered by Cosby,
she hurled insults at him, yelling, “You are a motherfucker, aren’t you?
As she kept yelling insults at him, she says that Cosby became enraged, and dragged her down the steps and put her in a cab.

Beverly Johnson, after being drugged by Bill Cosby and after narrowly escaping a sexual assault by him, could only think this:

I looked at the cabbie and asked, as if he knew: “Did I really just call Bill Cosby ‘a motherfucker’?”

This is what struck me.

In the re-telling of her own story, Beverly Johnson was worried that she might have offended Bill Cosby by calling him a motherfucker, after he drugged and tried to assault her.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

Why would she feel guilty about offending him?

In my own story about dealing with a sexual manipulator, after I rebuked all of his advances and left, I beat myself up that I had made a fool of myself, that I was a baby, that I had been a prude and angered a professional in the business.

Why do we feel bad when someone else is being inappropriate with us?

And how do we change this pattern of behavior?

I had mistakenly thought that it was just a pattern that women have,
as I had only heard it told to me in stories from other women…
until I ran into a male friend of mine this week who recounted a shocking story over coffee.

My friend found himself in a situation where another man came onto him in the men’s bathroom of a bar.
First, the man engaged my friend in conversation and talked about his own wife and kids.
Then after talking about his family, the man asked if my friend would be into doing a sexual act with him.

Keep in mind:
this is all being asked to my friend while this man is blocking the only exit from the bathroom.
My friend kindly turned him down
and then the man put his arms around him in a hug, pulling him into his body and tried to kiss him.
My friend immediately said, “Sorry, man.”
And moved around him to get out of there.

Afterwards my friend felt weird…
what did he do to make this guy think he would be interested?
Did he say something wrong?
Why had it happened?

I asked my friend what made him apologize to the man during the interaction.
My friend said that he felt bad because the man revealed he had a family, and was coming out to my friend by asking for a sexual favor.

Perhaps the answer to victim guilt lies somewhere in there…
that we all know what it’s like to struggle to be our true selves
and when someone comes to us and reveals something very personal,
we feel bad about denying them.

And what I noticed in my male friend’s story, that I also noticed in my own, that I also noticed in Beverly Johnson’s story – is that when we were faced with manipulators or predators – we all found a way to get out of the situation, but afterwards felt guilty, felt wrong and wondered what we did to deserve that behavior.

I write about this today because it has been on my mind.
I have no solutions to offer.
I think the only learning aspect is that I am now aware of this behavior in me
and I know that I am not alone…
and maybe the more we talk about this,
the more future Beverly Johnsons’
can call Bill Cosby a motherfucker to his face
and walk away

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