Bill Cosby and the Long History of Powerful Men Who Use Women
There’s a reason why women are trafficked. Why prostitution is so common. Why strip joints keep popping up. It’s that there’s a huge market for these things.
Bill Cosby’s influence on American culture was profound.
From his early days as a stand-up comedian to his history-making, family-focused sitcom, Cosby was seen as a man of decency, common sense, and good values.
He wrote books on fatherhood and aging. He brought back Art Linklater and “Kids Say the Darndest Things!” He was never divorced. And he spoke out with courage against what he viewed as an unhealthy African-American subculture.
To say that the 80 year-old’s legacy is not tarnished is sort of like the Titanic had some sea trouble.
Bill Cosby, Hypocrite Who Got Away With It
Cosby was convicted Thursday of three counts of sexual assault. About 50 women allege Cosby sexually molested them. He has admitted under oath that he drugged women’s’ drinks to have sex with them. (By the way, Mr. Cosby, this is known as rape.)
The accusations are credible. They go back as far as 1965. They are from women whose stories carry the ring of truth.
Many people live double lives, but few with the prominence of Bill Cosby. And not just prominence. Cosby used his public life to advance the values of family, responsibility, work, and education. He chided those whose lives did not measure up.
Why? Because he could get away with it? Because he was addicted to vile sexual pleasure? Because he loved the sense of power he received from getting away with rape, abuse, and intimidation?
Powerful Men Using Women — A Long List
The arc of Cosby’s descent from affection and esteem to contempt and, in all likelihood, prison has been long enough that the shock factor has worn off. And his story is not unique.
There’s Bill Clinton, the all but proven rapist of Juanita Broaddrick and predator of a White House intern.
There’s O.J. Simpson, the beloved football star, actor, and good-natured sports commentator. And murderer, liar, and kidnapper.
There’s John F. Kennedy, a man whose adulterous liaisons are too many to count. When his aging secretary asked him why, with his beautiful wife and family, he wouldn’t stop, he replied, “Because I can’t.”
There are too many pastors to mention, guilty of sexual assault and abuse, financial ill-dealing, and plain old greed.
There’s Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, and many other Hollywood types. These men are merely the latest in a long line of film and TV stars, directors, and so forth who have used women like the rest of us use cabs.
The Market For Sex and Abuse
That powerful men commit sordid acts is as old as David and Bathsheba. But their plunges into moral cesspools come with a sense that they won’t get caught. That they’re above the law, both moral and civil. That their handlers, toadies, and hatchet-men will “take care of things.”
It is welcome news that we still live in an era when sexual assault is against the law. When the “Me Too” movement has emboldened women victimized by politically, socially, or financially powerful men to say “enough.”
Yet I’m haunted by a recent comment by a psychologist friend of mine: All young men view pornography. Those that don’t now have in the past. Those that fight against it are in an ongoing battle. Those who have quit the addiction find that it walks quietly behind them, like a soft-shoed assailant, waiting for just the right moment of vulnerability to strike.
There’s a reason why women are trafficked. Why prostitution is so common. Why strip joints keep popping up.
It’s that there’s a huge market for these things.
That market is abetted by television shows that are fixated on sex. Sex before marriage. Sex outside of marriage. Sex among teenagers. Sex among multiple partners. Name the venue, the type, the location. Sex is to popular culture as chocolate is to Hershey’s.
Be Like King Josiah
It was in the times of the ancient Israelites, too. Athirat, called in the Bible Asherath, was a female deity in the ancient Near East. She was associated with poles or trees, “female cult objects” that were so prominent that they were even place in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.
And then came King Josiah, a man who found and loved the law of Moses and enacted a sweeping revival throughout his nation. As recorded in II Kings 23:6-7, Josiah “brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.”
America has become a land where Asherah has made it far into the halls of power. Bill Cosby and his ilk in business, politics, and, tragically, even the pulpit prove it.
We have to be Josiahs in our own right. Men and women who purge our laptops, smartphones, television screens and whatever else from the false gods of sexual pleasure. A gracious but holy God demands it. Our families need it. Our testimony requires it.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family have wonderful resources to help you in your personal battles and public efforts against objectifying women and sexual impurity.