Editor's Note: As women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault continue to come forward with detailed descriptions of alleged attacks dating back decades, ETonline is publishing an exclusive op-ed by attorney Tamara Green. Tamara was one of the first women to speak out publicly about Cosby in 2005 about an alleged assault in the 1970s, which Cosby reportedly denied.
No criminal charges have ever been filed against Cosby regarding any of the accusations being made by any of the women, and Cosby’s lawyer issued a statement on Sunday that said, “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Crosby have resurfaced. The fact they are being repeated does not make them true.”
The following is Tamara’s story.
My father used to say, "Why do dogs bury bones? Because they have no faith in the future, and bitter memories of the past."
I feel that way about this situation. We victims have tried to bury the bones of our shame and pain for just that reason. Just let it be over, but no... It's never over, in large part because people who were not there feel free to hold forth with their opinions -- no facts, just opinions.
Whoopi says, What, no rape kit? So no crime. It must be the effects or the rarified air she lives in because it's the dumbest thing I've ever heard her say. Perhaps she can't take a stand for a myriad of reasons, professional, political, maybe there's a racial component, who knows? Who cares? I do.
I care because it's a slap in the face, again, to women who want to tell the truth. I have tried to tell the truth in the media since 2005 and been pilloried for it, and I'm offended. It's fair to say, "I wasn't there, and I don't know." It is not fair to say, "Well isn't doing a rape kit normal when you're raped?" Normal? What's normal about being in hand-to hand combat for your life?
We were all told that "no one will believe you." We were told, "I don't believe you." It is personally crushing to be disbelieved. To go for help and be dismissed because he's very cool and famous and you are not. It is crushing and you are a victim all over again.
Every celebrity who knew Cosby at the time knew he was a lech, but they're not going to touch it. Can't afford to. The court of public opinion was, and is presently, a vital consideration in the world of entertainment. Some of his victims told no one at all. Me, I told everyone who would listen. I told Bill Cosby after I cornered him that I was going to tell everyone I ever met what he had done. He was probably not too impressed with that. Little did he know then that when he finally lost his youth and beauty he would become susceptible to the truth.
Let me ask you this: How did going to the cops work out for Andrea Constand in 2005? The answer is not at all. When I heard about her experience I didn't rush out and call the media with prurient details. I called Bruce Castor, the Philadelphia DA, and left messages chapter and verse about Bill Cosby having done the same exact thing to me in the past.
I got no reply. Nothing. For a period of about two weeks I called him, his assistant DA, the detectives. I called the crime lab and the beat patrol. Not one law enforcement official, of any stripe, ever called me back. So then I called Andrea's attorneys, and volunteered to testify, and I called a reporter, Nicole Egan who did a yeoman's job of breaking the story. Boy, did the story ever break loose. The interesting thing was women began to call me. My house was full of flowers, and cards and letters. Altogether 14 accusers were accepted, if you like, as witnesses.
Another bad thing that happens to accusers: they have to stand up to brutal cross examination. Some of those women who wanted to tell the truth would have been slaughtered. The heat brought to bear on the victims was impressive. We were portrayed at a minimum as liars, freeloaders, fame seekers, nutballs. I remember Matt Lauer saying right to my face, "What if it turns out not to be true..."
WHY CAN'T YOU GET OVER IT WHEN IT WAS SO LONG AGO?
I am especially impressed with Joan Tarshis revealing her experience after all this time. I have seen the eyes in the talking heads roll when I state how long ago that was that I was attacked by Bill Cosby, asking, "Why aren't you over it after all this time?" You might as well ask why a combat soldier from the same era hasn't gotten over Viet Nam yet?
Though I do not diminish the horror of war and acknowledge the many obvious distinctions, a girl who is vulnerable and trusting and who is then suddenly overpowered by force -- or by debilitating drugs, as in Cosby's case -- who is then helpless and powerless and fighting for her life as best she can, and is then threatened and intimidated, has also suffered the trauma of hand-to-hand combat. The attack overtakes you, it's sudden, you are alone. You feel dirty and ashamed and terrified and then you survive and NO ONE BELIEVES YOU. Your attacker told you no one would believe you and they didn't. It's like being underwater. Everything is surreal and there's no sound. There you are. Alone and no rescue in sight.
How do you get over that? In my case, I sleep in my clothes even after all these years, I check my perimeter and check the windows because the sensation is that you don't know from where the next attack might come. You didn't know the first attack was coming at all, so how can you know where the next one is coming from? I'm careful about being followed. I cringe at declarations of my wonderfull-ness. Something in me says "Watch out..." It is a big deal. It does not end.
SHOULD BILL COSBY GET A NEW SHOW ON NBC?
I say yes. So many people are employed when he works, so bring it and let's see if he's still got it. I say, if Cosby has slipped through the legal system, and is not going to jail, then he should work every day of the rest of his natural life and do as much good as he can. Take up for women, for example, and employ as many people as possible in his industry. I can't see very many sponsors who will sign on.
WHY SHOULD BILL COSBY GET OFF SCOTT FREE?
In the olden days when information was sent by Pony Express, the public might have forgotten about Bill Cosby and his crimes. But these days, with social media, we all get to decide for ourselves who the villain is. I believe his predation has been stopped, but I am pleased to believe that he has suffered. He has not gone to jail, but he has not come out of this mess he made without pain. This is not the legacy he had in mind for himself.
I can only say this to Bill Cosby: You have very few chances left to do anything heroic, old man. You should try.