Monday, January 5, 2015

Cosby, Rights, Wrongs and Rape

(I've had to do some editing on this since I posted yesterday as blogger was doing some rather odd things with the text that I didn't catch until now)

I almost didn't write this at all for a hundred different reasons but the main one is, I don't want to see any snotty, hateful, emotional, reactionary comments and/or emails, tweets, etc.  I know that's probably pretty selfish of me but I kind of enjoy an obscure, peaceful, non-confrontational life :)  So, with that said, I'm going to try as best I can to phrase this very carefully so there is no misunderstanding at all.  

Just saying that almost guarantees no matter how I say it, someone's going to be offended or read it incorrectly.  We certainly do seem to live in the age of the Perpetually Offended.  Hopefully though, this is received in the spirit it's written in, and that is one of logic, reason, fairness and justice.

COSBY

By now, pretty much everyone who's anyone, and anyone who is an unknown (and their dog, ferret and canary) has written about Bill Cosby and the allegations of sexual assault against him.  Some articles & blog posts are spot on, some are horrifically neanderthal-ish and others are somewhere in-between.  I'm not about to say anything here you haven't already read before but that's mostly because this really isn't about Bill Cosby.  It's more about the kinds of thinking and deductive reasoning I've seen online since all the proverbial doo-doo hit the social media fan.  Essentially, this is more about the way people think, than the actual case of All These Women v. Bill Cosby.

Based purely on the reaction to the Cosby allegations by so many, and even those who would be considered well-informed, well-educated and intelligent, fair-minded people, I have found myself rather stunned at some of the comments.  They simply don't sound like informed, educated, intelligent and/or fair-minded comments.  In many cases, they sound like "prepare the torches, sharpen the pitch-forks and meet me at the edge of the forest at sundown!" lynch-mob mentality.  What I find even more disturbing about these kinds of comments is that they're based on nothing more than what the mainstream media & social media is perpetuating.  Gossip, rumor, accusations, allegations, suspicions, speculations, etc.  I think it's important to remember not one of the allegations against Cosby have been validated/proven in a court of law either by evidence, testimony or any other means.  NOT ONE.  There has been no arrest, no charges, no court/jury decision, no testimony, no evidence, due process of any kind, at all.  NONE.  All of this, is based 100% on her (and her and her and her times about 27 at this point) word against his.  None of which would be admissible in a court of law.  Interestingly enough.

RIGHTS

Now please, as you read this, feel free to replace "Cosby" any time you see it, with "my bother" or "my son" or "my husband" or any other male close to you.  Because the truth is, this can (and does, sadly) happen to someone close to you, or someone you care about, and will most certainly change the way you might think about it, if it were to happen. God forbid.

Does this mean I automatically think Cosby is actually innocent of all these awful against him? No, no it does not.  For all I know, he's 100% guilty and frankly, that sickens me more than I can articulate here. Mostly because it's reprehensible that a man could do the things he's been accused of but also partly, because I grew up thinking he was just a nice, funny guy.  I hate the idea of thinking I was duped by his public image when privately, he may have been just another depraved monster seeking sexual gratification.  Our world is TOO full of these kinds of people already.  However, it is most certainly possible that he's 100% innocent, and for whatever equally reprehensible, sickening, selfish reasons has been targeted by people for whatever reason(s) seems justifiable to them.  Yes, that happens too.  Statistics tell us it's pretty rare, but it does actually happen.

The FACT is, I don't personally know whether he's guilty or innocent and I don't NEED to know that, to know what a US citizen's rights are under the law.

Sadly, that doesn't translate into the court of social media circus opinion.  The fact is, it does not matter if the law says you are protected under the US Constitution to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  Nor does it matter that the same rights guarantee you protection of your life, liberty (which includes being gainfully employed without slander and/or libel affecting your livelihood) and property, until such time a court of law finds you guilty of whatever charges have been leveled against you.

For whatever reason(s), we're now all watching Cosby's 2015 itinerary shrink day by day, as more and more people jump on this bandwagon to remove him of his liberty to pursue his livelihood, as they have chosen to literally throw the baby out with the bathwater and made up their minds he's guilty as accused.  EVEN THOUGH, there isn't a single court decision that backs this up.  Not one.  Anywhere.  In any state.

Call me naive, call me ignorant, call me whatever you want, but I still believe in the criminal justice system.  As flawed as it is, and of course it is since we have flawed human beings running the show that enforce it, it's the BEST we've got to mete out FAIR and RIGHT justice.  Of course it's never perfect but its more often right than it is wrong, with all the safeguards and loopholes in place that ensure swift and FAIR justice is served.  Without it, all we have is chaos, and the kind of lynch-mob mentality those folks in the little village of Dr. Frankenstein had.  Hear a rumor, prepare the torches, catch the monster, kill the monster.  Sadly in those cases of old, sometimes the most wicked monster was the one preparing the torches to cover up his own crime.

WRONGS 

I've read a lot of commentary on this case online via twitter, FB, blog posts, msm articles, etc.  I haven't contributed my opinion in most cases because I've seen the response and frankly, it's just awful.  Mean, nasty, sarcastic, rude, obscene, etc.  And, to be quite honest, all understandable, but at the same time all inappropriate.  Why?

Understandable because obviously we all find sexual assault simply inhuman and repugnant.  Inappropriate because absolutely NONE of us know for sure, if any of the accusations are in fact, true.

Many have jumped on the bandwagon because: a.) no one voluntarily identifies themselves with sexual assault unless it's real (which is actually not true) and b.) because if they are true and factual then Cosby is the creepiest of the creeps in the last 40 years of clean, funny, family-friendly entertainment.

Well heck, hubby and I just had a conversation the other day about how it seems like the older we all get, the more we discover nearly *every* family had that "sketchy uncle".  Feel free to replace uncle with whoever it was in either your family or the family you knew of that had that perverted family member that always seemed to have his hands in places they had no place being.  Those inappropriate comments he always made, the crass/vulgar jokes, and the way the younger female members of the family always acted around him: either avoiding him completely or making those sarcastic remarks about how "weird" he was.  It hardly appears Cosby may have been the "sketchy uncle" or the creepiest of the creeps, since it seems the sexual deviant has been in nearly every family.

Yet another fact to consider is how many women/wives falsely accuse their former hubby/lover of sexual deviancy.  Abuse against themselves or their children.  Granted, it's a very low stat from all I've read but it DOES happen.  Please be honest with yourselves, men aren't the only devious, conniving, scheming, deceptive people in the world.  Women do it too.  In fact, I have to sadly admit that being a woman, and being IN the company of  women over the years, there are MANY women that would gladly and happily report this kind of thing, if it meant they'd get what they wanted at the end of the day.  Let us not pretend there aren't just as many devious, deceptive women out there as there are devious and deceptive men.  Equal rights, y'all. 

Another reason I haven't opined in many public venues on this as it pertains to the justice system is because I've seen others do it and and the response "shame on you, it's YOUR fault more women don't report their rapes".

Well kids, here's where it gets downright ugly.  Here's where possibly long time readers of this blog learn something about me they never knew before.

1. It is NOT the fault of criminal justice system adherents, that more SA/rape victims don't speak up.
2. It is NOT to our "shame" that fellow women (and men) have been sexually assaulted.  The shame belongs soley with the man or woman, who assaulted them.

I believe in the criminal justice system as much as I can because frankly, it's the best we've got.  Obviously it could use some improvements but overall, it's better than nothing.  That being said...

I was the victim of SA at the age of 3. THREE years old, folks.  I didn't understand it enough until the age of 20 to report it to the proper authorities, which I did, and had monumental support. Praise God for the ladies at Kitsap Support Services (which by now I'm sure the name has changed, but they were awesome ladies and they have a special place in my heart to this day, and always will).

I was a victim again at the age of 15.  Minding my own business, walking home from high school in the 9th grade, munching on a partially frozen King Sized Snickers bar I'd won in some random draw for something I can't even remember (amazing really, how your brain compartmentalizes seemingly useless details), I was accosted by some special kind of pervert from behind.  I turned, freaked out, and beat the living snot out of him with my semi-frozen Snickers bar.  He ran, like the depraved coward he clearly was. I stood on the sidewalk for a few seconds and just screamed... then ran home and dialed 911.  The two detectives assigned to my case believed me 100% and set me up with a local sketch artist to get an image of this pig in the local papers.  Of course as a minor my name was never in the press but eventually the local PD did catch this guy.  He'd done SO much more than what he did to me, my testimony wasn't even needed to lock the piece of garbage up.  I was totally okay with that.

There was another incident, far worse, at the age of 19.  I was dumbfounded and never reported the crime to the police because like so many others, by that time, I believed the hype that if "he" is "this" or "that" no one will believe you.Ironically at the time, I *knew* there were certain folks that *would* believe me but I was overcome with the numbers of people that wouldn't, only because of who he was. Looking back, I only wish  I would have made as much noise about this then.

 This is honestly the closest I could ever come to to the whole "Cosby" issue.  My assailant was not at all "family friendly" or well-liked or even well respected.  Fact is he was a common street punk who instilled fear in all kinds of people of all ages throughout the community due to his connections.  From all I've read, to this day he's well respected in the community and my only comfort is that God's justice will prevail.  (I'd actually long forgotten about this experience until this issue came up about Cosby.)

That being said, the super-lame accusation of "shame on you, YOU'RE the reason this is so under-reported" is 100% garbage & 100% hypocritical garbage from the very same pro-women organizations that are supposed to be 100% in support of women who have been victims of SA.

 So... incredibly ironic. No?  No, people like me are NOT the reason sexual assault and rape are under-reported.  The shame is not with me, the shame is with the MEN who commit these crimes and the PEOPLE who, in various communities, buy the lies that "keeping things under the rug", so to speak, is better for everyone.

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day, I know exactly what women mean when they say "rape culture". God knows, they're not saying anything I haven't lamented about privately for the last 40 years or so, wept about late at night during my private prayer time, and tried to discuss with my hubby so that he understands it enough to relate it to our son in his own way of "guy on guy" conversations.  I've talked to my girls and will continue to talk to them if need be, on this topic.

While we (men and women, moms and dads, etc.) have to be honest, we also have to be fair.  We have to be righteous, just, and rational.  We have to be factual, compassionate and reasonable.

We have to be... honest in our opinions, and base that in fact, not emotion or experience (as hard as that can be).

At the end of the day, as it pertains to Bill Cosby... I will be honest and admit I will be sad if it's all true.  In my opinion he always seemed to me the "clean" version of family-friendly comedy and I really dug that, you know?  But, if he's guilty of what he's been accused of then YES, dude needs to go to jail and/or serve whatever penalty he needs to serve for what he's been accused of.

I don't know.  I wasn't there.  I don't know what the situation was... neither do most other people since, none of us were in the same room with both parties and understood what the same expectations were (if anything at all).

Were these private encounters mutual agreements/expectations?  Possibly.  More than likely, probably. Is that gross and disgusting for us who are still so delusional that they believed Bill and his his wife Camille were 100% monogamous and 100% devoted to one another?  Well... yeah. Duh.  At the same time however (and we're talking about the 60's, 70's and 80's) do many of us understand that at the *time* it was considered part and parcel of the entertainment industry overall, despite marital status?  Yep. We get that too.

Fact is, at the end of the day, none of us really now for sure what the deal was, between anyone and anyone else.  The entertainment industry has been RIFE for decades with this kind of thing and based on all I've read, it's always been expected that everyone just keep their mouth shut about it.  So, based on that, none of this really takes me by surprise.  No matter how much I really want Bill Cosby to be the one exception, the one truly decent man, the one genuinely family-friendly stand-up comic in the Hollywood industry.

In a nutshell?  God help us all.  It's only going to get worse. Truly, God help us all, to read between the lines, think rationally and make the right and just decisions.