The Left

Cosby Rape Apologists

Rape
Rape
Apparently, there are some [television] writers out there who think that their audience is somehow clamoring for more quips about abuse. | Rape, Television, Writer,

A look at some bad excuses

Accusations someone as famous as Bill Cosby rapes women are guaranteed to bring out the rape apologists.

Of course, pretty much any rape accusation can bring out rape apologists, but it's particularly common with famous people who have admirers, fans and attorneys ready to speak up for them. Film Director Roman Polanski, for instance, was convicted of drugging and raping a 13-year-old yet some people still insist such a great director shouldn't go to prison or that the thirteen-year-old victim really wanted it.

So it's no surprise that having 35 women going public with their stories about Bill Cosby have triggered loud, outraged denials. Picking the low-hanging fruit first, we have a post at the anti-feminist A Voice For Men website which explains the real issue is America's hangups about sex: Cosby "enjoyed sex too much in the wrong way with the wrong people" so he's being persecuted the same way Polanski was persecuted even after the director "served his time in jail." (Polanski hasn't served time in jail, having spent years out of the U.S. and paid high-powered legal talent to avoid it).

I would agree with the poster that if the allegations are true, Cosby definitely enjoyed sex "the wrong way." For example Joyce Emmons (in the link above) says he offered her what he said was a headache pill and "all I remember is taking the pill; I don't remember going to bed. But I do remember waking up in a fog and opening my eyes, and I had no clothes on." That's the wrong way for anyone who isn't a rapist. But condemning someone for drugging women to rape them isn't a matter of Puritanism, it's a matter of not tolerating rape.

Then there's Cosby's attorney Monique Pressley who insists she is totally not blaming any of the victims when she says that they're persecuting Cosby "tantamount to a witch hunt" by coming forward years later instead of doing something right after it happened.

Except some women did charge Cosby promptly. Anrea Constand, who says Cosby raped her in 2004, reported it and filed a civil suit against him. The prosecutor for the criminal case decided not to take action. And given the unbelief frequently leveled at rape victims, even when they accuse a nobody, it's understandable why some of Cosby's accusers didn't want to stick their necks out.

Comedian Damon Wayans has offered the charming argument that he doesn't believe the accusers because "some of them really is un-rapeable." Which dovetails nicely with stereotypes that rapists are men driven by lust for hot women, but in reality rape has little to do with how hot or "rapeable" someone looks. Thirteen-year-olds get raped. Elderly grandmothers get raped. Hot girls in miniskirts get raped, and so do nuns and women in burkhas.

Perhaps the most bizarre excuse is conservative pundit Camille Paglia, that Cosby's wife is really to blame (not a direct link, but you can click through): Mrs. Cosby is an assertive, strong professional woman, which made it hard for Cosby to feel dominant like a real man needs to. So he drugged women because that made them submissive and passive, unlike his wife.

Finally we have New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser who argues that what Cosby did only counts as rape because feminists have redefined rape. Fifty year ago, having sex while drunk or stoned was just sex, now it's rape! Which is another familiar excuse, that rape cases are just "buyer's remorse" or some girl getting even with the guy who never called her back.

But the accusers' accounts don't fit Peyser's description of them as drunken consensual hookups. There's Joyce Emmons' quote above, and there's "He poured a glass of white wine. And he said use this as a prop -- now that means you're going to have to sip on it, of course. I really don't remember much, except waking up in his bedroom. He was naked, and he was forcing himself into my mouth."

Or "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." And more of the same.

Contrary to Peyser, I don't think feminism is the problem.

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Updated Apr 22, 2017 5:29 AM EDT | More details

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