Courage and Greatness in Ordinary Women

I watch Beverly Johnson, so impossibly beautiful and perfect and eloquent and brave, talking about what Bill Cosby did to her so many years ago.

I watch other women interviewed. One is shaking. Her on-camera make-up looks ridiculous with her close-cropped no-nonsense hair and matronly clothes.

Another woman explains how she reacted with outrage many years ago when Bill Cosby grabbed her chest. “How dare you do that to me? What makes you think you can do that to me?” She must have been so young when she turned around and confronted this famous man. What a brave girl she must have been.

Another woman starts crying at funny times. She clutches the hand of the no-nonsense woman next to her: one woman shaking, one woman crying, together.

When they look at photos of the man they are accusing, they get “a scratchy, awful feeling.” Forty-four years later, and one woman can’t even look. “Sick to my stomach,” is what they say.

One was told by her bosses to “shut your mouth.”

All were drugged.

One woman compares it to the drowning death of her little boy: “I don’t think about my son dying 44 year ago, but it’s always there under the surface. It’s always there.”

They have never asked for money from him, not one of them. But one of them says he gave her $20 to take a cab home after he drugged and molested and possibly raped her.

One woman is the angriest. She wants him to suffer. She calls him a predator repeatedly. When she calls him a sociopath, it’s too close to home for me.

In 42 minutes, I’ve watched nine women interviewed. “More to come” they tell the CNN broadcasters.

“He is a serial rapist,” they all say. “He identifies a vulnerable victim. He gets them alone. He drugs them. He does their thing with them. And sometimes he waits for them to wake up – to show more contempt for them.”

This last detail makes me shudder.

They feel sorry for his wife and refuse to say anything bad about her. I think about what my own husband hid from me, and I am grateful that they have this compassion for his wife. Sociopaths are wily and manipulative and brilliant liars. People close to them are sometimes the last to know.

The women must be twenty years older than me, and I study them. If I met any of them in real life, I would believe them. None of them asked for this, but they are so courageous and united. It takes my breath away.

Please god, let future generations of women – little girls like my sweet daughter – be emboldened and empowered by these brave and beautiful women in their sixties. And let the rest of us women be kind to each other.


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