Like little stars.
Two weeks after Dylan Farrow resurrected 21-year-old allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, filmmaker Woody Allen, Gawker’s Tom Scocca reminded the world that in 2004, 13 women came forward with allegations that comedian Bill Cosby drugged and sexually abused them. At the time, the lawsuit made a minor ripple in the media, but, like Farrow’s, their accounts were eventually dismissed as barely a blemish on the spotless image of a beloved celebrity.
Now, their stories are reemerging. Last week, Newsweek interviewed Tamara Green, one of the women who served as a witness in the case brought forth by Andrea Constand. On Wednesday, 46-year-old Barbara Bowman spoke out in Newsweek.
Both Bowman and Green joined Constand’s lawsuit as witnesses in 2004 after hearing about her case on TV. Newsweek reporter Katie Baker explains that “neither had anything to gain financially, as the statute of limitations had expired for both of them.”
Cosby settled the lawsuit with Constand for an undisclosed sum of money in 2006.
Bowman’s account strongly resembles the other stories of Cosby’s alleged victims, many of whom have provided detailed accounts of how Cosby mentored them, became a father figure, then drugged and raped them. Here is Bowman’s story of the man she had once believed would launch her career:
I was assaulted a number of times from age 18 to 19. Cosby would warn me before out-of-town trips, “You aren’t going to fight me this time, are you?”
Once in Reno, Nevada, he flew me out for a celebrity ski classic. He got me in a hotel room and fed me a lot of alcohol. He pinned me down in his suite on the couch, and he had me masturbate him. He really intimidated me, and I panicked.
From them on, I would be praying and begging to God that it was in my imagination, it didn’t happen. I’d sit on the plane and say “Please God, please God, this is really about my career–I’m lucky.” And then I’d get there and he would just intimidate me and make me so scared…
The first time I was drugged for sure was in New York, when he invited me to dinner at his apartment. There was a chef, a butler; we had dinner, it was all fine. I had one glass of wine and then I blacked out. I woke up throwing up in the toilet, and he was standing over me, pulling my hair out of my face. I was wearing a white t-shirt that wasn’t mine, and he was in a white robe.
I think the final time I was assaulted by him was in Atlantic City. He took me there for a show and got me very drunk. Later, [the hotel] lost my luggage, so I was on the phone with the concierge and [Bill] had an absolute fit that I was on the phone, and went ballistic. The next morning, he summoned me into his room and started berating me and calling me names and yelling at me, telling me I had embarrassed him, and he threw me on the bed and blocked me with his elbow and got on top of me and started taking his pants off and I was screaming and crying and begging him to leave me alone and I fought so hard and I was screaming so loud that he got mad and threw me aside and got away from me, and that was it.
I was ditched. I was dropped like a hot potato by my agent. I was thrown out of my housing. They pulled the plug on me and said I had embarrassed [Cosby].
Cosby said “I better never ever hear your name or see your face ever again.”
When Bowman came forward about the alleged assaults, a lawyer “laughed me out of the office,” she said. “He thought it was absolutely preposterous … He treated me as if I was delusional.”
She remained silent until she heard about Constand’s case in 2004, and decided to come forward even though her statute of limitations had long run out. “I want to be the voice for women who are too afraid to speak up,” said Bowman. “If I show the courage, maybe that will encourage others to do the same thing. This man cannot get away with this. He cannot use his power and his money to abuse and rape young women and hide under this veil of wealth and celebrity status and intimidate us any longer. So I put my name out there.”
However, Bowman is disappointed that Constand and Cosby settled because of the potential message that sends to victims. “I was disappointed because I knew that would shut everybody else up, including Andrea,” she said. “And although I am grateful she was able to have closure for her own growth, it sends the message to other victims that they can be shut up.”
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Prachi Gupta.
Like little stars.
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