Alleged Bill Cosby Rape Victim: "Why Wasn't I Believed?"
Barbara Bowman wrote a Washington Post op-ed detailing her claims and noting with dismay that it took a male comedian to draw renewed attention to her allegations
A woman claiming she was raped by Bill Cosby gave a first-person account of her experience in a Washington Post op-ed published on Thursday. In her story, she also point to the fact that it took a male comedian calling Cosby a rapist to resurface her allegations.
Barbara Bowman, an artist in Scottsdale, Ariz., wrote: "Cosby won my trust as a 17-year-old aspiring actress in 1985, brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times.
"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. But as a teenager, I tried to convince myself I had imagined it. I even tried to rationalize it: Bill Cosby was going to make me a star and this was part of the deal," Bowman wrote.
Bowman wrote about another, "final" incident and noted she didn't alert authorities at the time because "dismissive responses" from those to whom she appealed for help convinced her no one would listen to her. "That feeling of futility is what ultimately kept me from going to the police," she wrote.
Bowman later hoped to tell her story during a trial for Andrea Constand, a woman who sued Cosby for sexual assault in 2004 and settled out of court in 2006 for an undisclosed amount, as reported by the Associated Press. Cosby denied the 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," Bowman wrote in the Post article, referring to a video of the comedian's performance that went viral.
Bowman wrote: "While I am grateful for the new attention to Cosby’s crimes, I must ask my own questions: Why wasn’t I believed? 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?"
Read more: Hannibal Buress Calls Bill Cosby a "Rapist"
Bowman pointed a finger at the entertainment industry, which she wrote "is rife with famous men who use their power to victimize and then silence young women who look up to them."
She wrote that Cosby had people surrounding him who should be held accountable for his actions.
"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," Bowman wrote.
Bowman recently became an ambassador for a victim advocacy group, and she proposed changes to legislation that imposes time limits on assault victims' claims.
"It often takes years for young women to overcome those feelings and gain the confidence to come forward (by which point physical evidence is long gone)," she wrote.
After Buress resurfaced the allegations of rape, The Queen Latifah Show opted not to have Cosby on as a guest. On Monday, a challenge by Cosby's social media team backfired when requests to turn photos of Cosby into a meme generated images alleging he had drugged and raped multiple women.
Cosby's publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment.