Oh please. The attorney, Monique Pressly--female, black, attractive--pleading his case in public is obviously designed to make us feel--what? That all the women are liars? Sympathy for The Man? I feel nothing but disgust. Another guy who thought he could get away with sexual assault because the women were afraid to come forward, and when they did, people didn't believe them. Until there were too many to deny.
From the amazing photograph of 35 of the women that grace the latest cover of New York magazine, one does notice that most of the women are white. Many are blonde. There are 11 more victims who are not photographed, adding up to 46 known women who were sexually assaulted by Cosby. Take a moment and watch some of the videos of the women talking about what happened.
I'm white, I'm blonde and I too was raped. Not by Cosby, not by a celebrity, but someone I had dated briefly and then wanted to break up with him. What did he do?
He came to my apartment--the lock on the outside door was broken and he could walk up to my apartment door on the sixth floor--and he stood there, banging on my door after midnight shortly after I told him I didn't want to go out with him anymore. He kept hollering, "I know you are in there." I knew he was waking up the neighbors. I heard someone else open a door in the hallway and shut it quickly. He kept banging on the door. He said he wasn't going away. The longer he pounded the more I knew he would wake neighbors up.
BANG BANG BANG
I KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE OPEN UP!!!
To quite the clamor I let him in. To not embarrass myself with my neighbors I let him in. After all, we had dated three or four times, he was reasonable (I thought), he was nice (I thought)...but not ultimately someone I wanted to continue seeing.
We talked. He got angry. We talked some more. Then he pushed me around and assaulted me. He pushed himself onto me. He held me down. He was strong, he was big, I was afraid. I gave up.
I never saw him again. He had done what he had intended to do--no (white blonde bitch) broke up with him, and to prove his point he would assault me and walk away.
I did not call the police, or tell anyone--not even a girlfriend. Not for several years, more than a decade. It wasn't until I saw the Jody Foster movie, The Accused, more than a decade later that I was able to really, fully admit to myself that I had been assaulted that night. That I had been sexually assaulted. I was at the movie with a girl friend--not my husband--and I started sobbing. What's wrong? she asked.
It's embarrassing to admit this. Why wasn't I stronger, why didn't I protest, why didn't I let him bang on the door and call the police? Well, I was afraid that if I did that, the repercussions would even be worse, since he knew where I lived. I felt he would assault me on the street, beat me up, somehow extract even worse revenge. I was afraid of him that night, and I was afraid of what could happen later.
IN HIDING TOO LONG
But admitting this secret today is a lot easier than it was once to tell anyone I had a child and gave her up for adoption. That secret came slowly out of me, at first to only trusted friends, then in print, then with Birthmark, but even with all that, it was still hard to admit that I Did That. Of course, time has made it easier for me, and with this last book in my personal life nearly everybody I know, and people I don't know, know. Time and the stories about adoptee reunions in the media, in the movies, has made our story less shocking. Someone had to have all those babies, right?
Birthmark ends in 1979 two years before I found my daughter. Once I did, I knew I would one day write another book, but I did not know when. My daughter knew too, and that's why I interviewed her for the book on tape. I hope her legacy helps others; I believe it is what she would have wanted. Underneath her pain, and the turmoil that pain caused her and others, there was a good soul who understood much.
We, like the women Cosby assaulted, must tell our stories. We have to stand up and tell our neighbors and our legislators that we are not afraid of our children lost to adoption, and that most of us want desperately to know them. If Hole In My Heart plays a part in letting the world know this, in helping women come out of the closet of adoption secrecy and shame, in moving the legislative clock forward on our cause, it will have succeeded. If it makes one woman feel less alone with her pain, it will have succeeded. If it makes one woman, a dozen women, twelve dozen women come forward, it will have succeeded. Like the women in the Cosby saga, we have been in hiding far too long.
THE 'RIGHT' TIME NEVER COMES
To anyone still in the closet, know that the time has come to let go. Doing so will lift a great weight from your psyche. You won't be fearful wondering if your child will find you in hopes of a reunion, and worrying how you will tell your family. If you've kept the secret for years, the biggest hurdle will be admitting that you have kept the secret for years, because some will feel that you have been...less than truthful about with them. I'm not going to sugar coat it, they will have to get used to the idea of The Secret. Do tell them why you kept the secret, the shame that kept you paralyzed, the great embarrassment you feel in fessing up. Humbly ask for their understanding and forgiveness--not because you gave up a child, but because you didn't tell them you had, because you kept this part of you secret from those closest to you.
I'm urging this today because in time the records for most adopted people are going to be open. They were never closed to "protect" (birth) mothers like us or to let us feel that we could make new lives with this secret; they were closed to keep us from interfering with the adoptive family. Now years have past, the point of "interfering" with the life of a child is past, but they, the adopted, are still supposed to live with this senseless, awful and unnecessary hole in their identity--and a lack of real, updated medical information.
Adult adopted individuals are going to come knocking on the doors and sending letters and making phone calls, and natural/birth mothers need to be prepared. If your social worker somehow promised you anonymity, she didn't have the legal right to do that. Even if you believed that you were promised anonymity from your own progeny, it was a "right" you never had, and have no "right" to today. The adopted person's right to know everything and all about her/his background is the overriding "right," the moral right, the absolute right that supersedes all others.
There will never been a "right" time to tell your story. There is only time. Better late is better than waiting in fear.--lorraine