Decades after she alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby, Barbara Bowman is asking why the 77-year-old comedian is only now being scrutinized by the public.
In 2004, Cosby settled out of court when a woman alleged that he had drugged and raped her two years prior. The woman's attorney claimed she had 13 other victims willing to testify against the comedian for similar misconduct. Cosby has denied these charges.
In a new piece for the Washington Post, Bowman says she was one of the alleged victims asked to testify, claiming she too was drugged and raped by the entertainer upon meeting him as a 17-year-old aspiring actress in 1985. "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," she writes. "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. "
Rape allegations against Cosby surfaced once again after Broad City comedian Hannibal Buress called him a "rapist" during his comedy show in Philadelphia in October. "It's even worse because Bill Cosby has the f**king smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. He gets on TV, 'Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.' Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches," Buress said in his set. "'I don’t curse onstage.' Well, yeah, you’re a rapist."
Buress' joke went viral and wasn't soon forgotten. Just this week, Cosby's social team created a meme-generator, asking fans to meme the comedian. They posted on Twitter: "Go ahead, tweet me." This led to numerous memes focused around Cosby's rape allegations.
While Bowman says she is "grateful for the new attention to Cosby's crimes," she doesn't understand why it's all coming up now. "Why wasn't I believed?" she asked. "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?"
She blames the business. "The entertainment world is rife with famous men who use their power to victimize and then silence young women who look up to them," Bowman says. "Even when their victims speak out, the industry and the public turn blind eyes; these men’s celebrity, careers and public adulation continue to thrive."
Bowman also notes, "I have never received any money from Bill Cosby and have not asked for it. I have nothing to gain by continuing to speak out."
The Washington Post reports that they did contact Cosby's rep multiple times for comment on this piece, but got no response. They also point out that Cosby has vehemently denied the separate sexual assault allegations made by Andrea Constand, who filed the lawsuit in 2004.