By AMY STOCKWELL
Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show aired for the first time in the US. The family comedy was a huge hit and cemented Bill Cosby as a comedy legend.
But sexual assault allegations have cast a pall across the friendly, family-man image that Cosby portrayed on the 80s tv hit.
Since 2002, thirteen women have reportedly accused Cosby of rape.
Cosby, now aged 77, settled a sexual assault law suit in November 2006 (a case in which 13 women had prepared to give evidence of their experiences), but in recent weeks, more details of his alleged conduct has come to light.
Last month, comedian and Broad City actor Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in his comedy act. In a video that has gone viral, Buress says:
“Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, [that] brings you down a couple notches…. People think I’m making it up. If you didn’t know about it, when you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny.”
Now, Barbara Bowman, a 47 year old married mother of two, has written a powerful opinion piece sharing her struggle to have her claims of sexual assault taken seriously.
Bowman says that Cosby had sexually assaulted her repeatedly when she was a teenage aspiring actor. She says on one occasion she was drugged:
“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.”
She tells of another occasion where she was pinned down, screaming, in a hotel room.
Bowman recounts the disbelief that has characterised her allegations of rape.
She struggled for years to get people to believe her.
Her agent did nothing. Bowman was mocked by a lawyer.
When Andrea Constad filed a sexual assault law suit against Cosby, Bowman agreed to give evidence. She finally thought she would get her chance to tell her story in open court.
But when that case settled, Bowman was left disappointed.
Then, last month, the Hannibal Buress comedy act went viral and people began to take notice.
Bowman points out the irony that it took a man speaking to draw attention to her claims: “Only after a man, Hannibal Buress, called Bill Cosby a rapist in a comedy act last month did the public outcry begin in earnest.”