“Any is too many!” is what my bro Kelvin would yell out all night while playing Dominoes.
Prior to starting the game of Dominoes he and I would exchange barbs and trash talk about who’s the best domino player. Like 2 brothers, we were so competitive that before the first domino was even played we are both highly agitated. Not only were we going to win but we weren’t even allowing the other to score a single point. Realistically it’s virtually impossible to keep a competent dominoes player scoreless in a game that goes to 150 points, but dang it if we didn’t try. On this particular evening Kelvin was kicking my tail and I believe he had 90 points before I scored my sole 10 points. With victory for Kelvin seemingly inevitable, when I scored that measly 10 points, he was clearly annoyed that I had scored and uttered the phrase “Any is too many Zay! I didn’t want you to score NOTHING!”
In the last week, one of Black America’s beloved father figures, Bill Cosby, was found guilty of multiple accounts of sexual assault. This has spurred many conversations around water coolers, dinner tables, national media, and social media arguing his innocence. You may have heard,
“Bill didn’t rape that woman. Have you seen her? She looks like a man. She is lying.”
“ Those women just want money and Bill stopped paying; why else would all these women come forward after all these years?”
The comment that disturbs me the most is “Bill didn’t rape all those women. Some of them lying.” What kind of society have we become? Where was the shift? When did we lose compassion for the victims and find it in the perpetrators?
“Bill didn’t rape that woman…Have you seen her?” referring to Andrea Constand , one of Cosby’s victims. “She looks like a man. She is lying.” This question screams lack of empathy and a societal deafness to the cries of women across America whom have been raped and assaulted by men. This statement suggests that a woman can only be raped if she’s physically attractive . If she isn’t aesthetically pleasing to a collective majority then she couldn’t possibly be telling the truth. After all, why would a rich dude like Bill Cosby even want to have sex with a woman like that? During the #MeToo social media movement, women around the world shared their painful, tear-filled stories of sexual assault by men. These women ranged in all sizes, shape, and color, and not once did we read those stories and say “Some of them are lying.” Instead we circled around the abused and felt a sense of compassion. We began wanting to mend the brokenness of the millions of women at the hands of men like Cosby. According to the Nationmaster.com in 2010 the US ranked 13th out of 195 countries in the world for rape. Let that marinate.
“Those women just wanted money and Bill stopped paying, why else would all these women come forward after all these years?” When I hear that statement I hear rape is justifiable as long as you pay the victim after you have defiled them, robbed them of their humanity, and left them with physical and mental scars so deep that for some it takes years of counseling. Some of whom are in so much pain they resort to taking their own lives to escape the it. Ask yourself this: if your mother, daughter, wife, sister, or best friend was raped by a man, how much money would it take for you to be satisfied? Living in a world that’s ruled by capitalism and patriarchy, it’s not hard to see why men and women find monetary compensation as a means to forgive detestable acts such as rape.
“Bill didn’t rape all those women. Some of them lying.” What you are really saying is, “Yes, I believe he raped a few but not as many as what’s being said.” I pose this question: How many women can be raped before you find sexual abuse abhorrent? If 10 people with no connection to one another told you that they saw me robbing a store yesterday would you believe them? It’s highly likely that you would believe them, because the sheer quantity of people recounting a similar event makes it believable. In Cosby’s case 60+ women recounted similar versions of the same story. They were drugged by Cosby and he had sex with them without their consent. Why is it hard for you to believe that Cosby didn’t commit any of the things he was convicted of doing? Let’s say that 59 of the women were only in it for the money and that he only raped one woman. In the words of my bro Kelvin “Any is too many”. Instead of defending Cosby and making excuses for his repugnant behavior, try viewing his actions through the lens of the victims. Hopefully you can find more compassion in your heart for the victim than you do for the predator.