Bill Cosby Accusers Detail Trauma and Betrayal in Magazine

Thirty-five women who have accused Bill Cosby of raping them have spoken out in an explosive photo essay for New York magazine. More than 40 women have so far accused the comedian of sexual assault, but the cover story represents a sea change in how the comedian’s alleged victims have been publicly perceived.


“Listen, he was America’s favorite dad,” said Barbara Bowman, who says she was raped as a 17-year-old actor. She made her case public in 2004, when testifying on behalf of Andrea Constand, who said she was also one of Cosby’s victims.

“I went into this thinking he was going to be my dad,” Bowman told the magazine. “To wake up half-dressed and raped by the man that said he was going to love me like a father? That’s pretty sick.

“It was hard for America to digest when this came out. And a lot of backlash and a lot denial and a lot of anger.”

On the magazine’s cover, the women are seen sitting on stools in black and white. In the photo essay, they are seen from the waist up, wearing white.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"601813","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"357","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]

Over the course of a decade, public opinion has shifted from seeing Cosby’s accusers as money-hungry starlets to seeing them as a stunningly large group of alleged victims with remarkably similar alleged experiences.

“I think his legacy is going to be similar to OJ’s legacy,” Joan Tarshis, one of Cosby’s accusers, told the magazine.

“When you hear OJ Simpson’s name, you don’t think: ‘Oh, great football player.’ That doesn’t come to mind first. I’m thinking it’s not going to be: ‘Oh, great comedian.’

“It’s going to be, ‘Oh, serial rapist.’ And that will be our legacy.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close