Her description of the powerlessness she felt subsequent to that event encapsulates what so many vulnerable women have faced at the hands of men in positions of authority and influence, not just in the entertainment industry but also in sports, in the workplace, indeed in just about any realm of our society that is rooted in male-centricity:
Back then, the incident was so horrifying that I had trouble admitting it to myself, let alone to others. But I first told my agent, who did nothing. (Cosby sometimes came to her office to interview people for “The Cosby Show” and other acting jobs.) A girlfriend took me to a lawyer, but he accused me of making the story up. Their dismissive responses crushed any hope I had of getting help; I was convinced no one would listen to me. That feeling of futility is what ultimately kept me from going to the police. I told friends what had happened, and although they sympathized with me, they were just as helpless to do anything about it. I was a teenager from Denver acting in McDonald’s commercials. He was Bill Cosby: consummate American dad Cliff Huxtable and the Jell-O spokesman. Eventually, I had to move on with my life and my career.
Our Own Complicity
Thirty years later, when the 2014 article was written, Bowman did not know that Bill Cosby would be indicted. She felt that her efforts over the previous decade to speak out about him went largely ignored, although when male comedian Hannibal Buress called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy routine in 2014, substantial publicity against Cosby began to take hold. Her observations at the time give us something important to think about:
Fixing this problem demands more than public shaming. For Cosby to commit these assaults against multiple victims over several years, there had to be a network of willfully blind wallflowers at best, or people willing to aid him in committing these sexual crimes at worst. As I told the Daily Mail, when I was a teenager, his assistants transported me to hotels and events to meet him. 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.