Actress Barbara Bowman is asking why nobody took her rape allegations against Bill Cosby seriously the first time in a new essay written for the Washington Post. She and more than a dozen other women have accused the comedian of raping them for several years but it took a viral video from Hannibal Buress calling Cosby out as a rapist for the alleged crimes to finally gain mainstream attention.
“Why wasn’t I believed?” Bowman writes. “Why didn’t I get the same reaction of shock and revulsion when I originally reported it? Why was I, a victim of sexual assault, further wronged by victim blaming when I came forward? The women victimized by Bill Cosby have been talking about his crimes for more than a decade. Why didn’t our stories go viral?
Bowman goes on to say she was 17 when she first met Cosby. The year was 1985 and she describes herself as, “a teenager from Denver acting in McDonald’s commercials.”
“[He] brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times,” Bowman wrote. “In one case, I blacked out after having dinner and one glass of wine at his New York City brownstone, where he had offered to mentor me and discuss the entertainment industry. When I came to, I was in my panties and a man’s t-shirt, and Cosby was looming over me. I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me.”
However, Bowman says Cosby didn’t act alone and outlines who else assisted him in covering up these alleged assaults.
“When I was a teenager, his assistants transported me to hotels and events to meet him,” Bowman writes. “When I blacked out at Cosby’s home, there were several staffers with us. My agent, who introduced me to Cosby, had me take a pregnancy test when I returned from my last trip with him. Talent agents, hotel staff, personal assistants and others who knowingly made arrangements for Cosby’s criminal acts or overlooked them should be held equally accountable.”
After multiple encounters, Bowman writes that the final assault took place at an Atlantic City hotel.
“I furiously tried to wrestle from his grasp until he eventually gave up, angrily called me ‘a baby’ and sent me home to Denver,” wrote Bowman.
In 2004, Andrea Constand filed a lawsuit against Cosby for sexual assault. Bowman was asked to testify against the comedian, which she agreed to do but was unable to take the stand after the case was settled out of court. According to the Washington Post, Cosby has repeatedly denied Constrand’s claims.
“I have never received any money from Bill Cosby and have not asked for it,” Bowman writes. “I have nothing to gain by continuing to speak out. He can no longer be charged for his crimes against me because the statute of limitations is long past. That is also wrong. There should be no time limits on reporting these crimes, and one of my goals is to call for legislation to that end. Famous and wealthy perpetrators use their power to shame and silence their victims. It often takes years for young women to overcome those feeling and gain the confidence to come forward (by which point physical evidence is long gone). Our legal system shouldn’t silence them a second time.”