Search This Blog

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Didn't Go Alone - A Story about Bill Cosby

Lately there has been a swirl of press around Bill Cosby and his alleged raping of women.  The response from fans have been everything from total bewilderment to shock, outrage and disbelief.  I understand their reactions, after all we watched him as an amazing father on a break through television show in the 80's. He sold jello for heavens sake and in interviews or in his act he always spoke with love and reverence about his wife Camille.  What's not to believe? He was seemingly a family man who prized education and laughter.  To not believe the charges that have been levied against him is understandable.  Maybe even fair...it's all a "he said, she said" kind of thing, right?  And what good does it do to dredge it all up now?

I felt the same way most of you did about Bill Cosby, but that was a long, long time ago.

I have blogged about my early twenties before, it was all dancing and tennis and not much else.  I worked nights at one tennis club and spent most of my days at Caesar's Palace where I hit with guests, picked up balls after lessons and washed courts.  Not very glamorous, but it was when tennis was the thing to do and Caesars was the place to be.  The guests and vip's I played with were captains of industry, athletes, actors, and comedians.  One of those tennis playing guests was Bill Cosby.  He starred at the Hilton and played tennis around town.   We played several times and he took a great interest in me.  I was young and his interest seemed "dad like".  I thought he just enjoyed playing tennis and needed someone to hit with while he was in town.

That's what I thought...I thought he was his public persona.  This was before his actual Cosby show when he was the quintessential dad, but he was still Bill Cosby the funny guy, certainly not dangerous.  He even joined me on the indoor courts at the Tropicana where I played tennis every Mondays with a friend.  To me it was all about tennis, having fun playing tennis.  I certainly didn't think he was dangerous.  Underscore, he never acted dangerous.

Then one night my girlfriend Wendy, Cosby and I went out.  When we got back to the Hilton he asked if I wanted to see his hotel room.  I was interested to see what that particular penthouse looked like, Elvis got married there!  Besides Cosby was harmless.  Thinking she would like to see it also I asked Wendy to go with us.  She was the DJ at the disco of the Hilton and for 20 minutes every hour she would play music and then the live band took over for 40 minutes.  After a brief tour of his penthouse things changed dramatically and quickly.  He made it clear in a very aggressive way what his intentions were.  He chillingly said to me, "I   will   have   you."  Those words are imprinted on my brain along with the evil I felt.  My first thought was immediate, "No you will not."  Then shock took over, and when words wouldn't come a paralyzing feeling did.  Wendy started talking very fast, she was explaining that she had to get back to work, she would surely be missed and how would we all explain that, and I was going with her.  Wendy never left me, for that one instinctive act of love and protection I will never be able to thank her enough.  It is a blur how we left or what force propelled us out of there, but we were safe.  I had no idea that he drugged his victims until I read the stories of late, and I have no way of knowing what would have happened if Wendy had not been there.  What I do know is his words were an assault to me never to be forgotten.  And the betrayal of friendship was staggering.

I still saw Cosby in passing after that although we never played tennis again.  He acted as though nothing had occurred.  A case can easily be made that I was foolish and starstruck, and I never should have gone to his room, agreed...But nothing I was foolish of warranted the treatment I received.

As I saw him on television so broadly loved and so completely opposite of that one horrible night, I thought there must have been something wrong with me.   I have learned over the years that is a typical reaction to abusive behavior.  If you wonder why no one came forward before now, I imagine that is why.  Who would have ever believed he was like that?  Think about it, how many of us can say that about a boss?  A date?  A teacher?  A coach?  We have to provide our sisters a safe place to fall.  A place where they will be believed and protected....no shame and no guilt.  Maybe the more we shine a light on abusive behavior the less it will occur.  In the mean time we must teach as much protection as possible.

Never go alone.....casual dating, parties or walking home.

Please, don't go alone.

And one more time, thank you Wendy...



55 comments:

  1. I'm glad you told the story. So glad. So many of us knew a long time ago but celebrity has always been such an effective shield. I felt like you did when I was raped by a NY Jet, who held my hair back as I threw up (so drunk)--I thought I put myself in that position so who was I to cry rape? Sigh. Long time ago. Youth. xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Carol, this was really hard to do, but after you wrote that the got a standing ovation in Florida...it just wouldn't stay quiet any more

      Delete
    2. Donna, would you share this NEVER GO ALONE story with my viewers? Reed Cowan News 3 Las Vegas rcowan@mynews3.com

      Delete
  2. What a brave post. Thank you for coming forward. I can only imagine the horror and fear you must have felt. I'm so glad your friend was with you. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy sent me a text the other day, we just kind of relived it all. And actually it was as though no time had passed

      Delete
  3. Donna, it takes a great deal of courage to raise your voice, thank you for doing so. People have a hard time with Bill Cosby because he is “loved.” People hate to be wrong about their idols. But also they don’t want to believe he is capable of all these allegations because they would rather cleave to the notion that rapists are strangers who lurk in the shadows and pounce. Yet the truth is: 2/3’s of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a known individual. Thankfully people like you are finding the courage to speak, and in my experience, when you are brave with your voice it often leads someone else to be brave with theirs too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really wasn't going to write anything until Carol said that he had gotten a standing ovation in Florida. I am not looking to change peoples minds, but for the first time I realized there are lots of people out there acting as friends, but hiding the fact they are predators. And you are absolutely right, people want to believe rapists are strangers...when they are commonly right next to us.

      Delete
  4. Wow, no kidding thank you Wendy. We read the stories told by other people,far removed, and shake our heads in disgust but this crazy near miss is chilling and hits on a whole different level. You are so right - no shame, no guilt and never, ever go alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so happy Wendy is getting the praise she so richly deserves. She was the hero, the powerful woman who fought against him. I will never forget that, ever

      Delete
  5. Oh, Donna, thank you for sharing your story so candidly. It's shocking that these men who are idolized as celebrities can get away with what they do and it's important that women speak up -- and that we believe and support those who do. A big hug to you -- and Carol -- and, of course, to Wendy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad it is being received so well. I was sooooo nervous. What would people think of me? And again, so glad Wendy is outed!! We have never spoken of this, and now her true heroism is known. Thank you for the hug....

      Delete
  6. I have been having a really difficult time believing the stories and I know I am not alone. HOWEVER, since reading your post -- over and over -- I am convinced that he was, and is, a monster. Thank you so much. And thank you for recognizing what Wendy did for you - a true friend indeed. Thank you for the message to young women everywhere -- just....Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This has been the most sobering ride ever....I do love my friend, even more than before...I so hope the right message comes from this.

      Delete
  7. Donna, thank you for sharing your story. Thank God your friend stayed with you and you both were able to escape. That must have been frightening. I am glad this is coming out now about him when he's still alive to see how he's ruined so many lives. Hopefully now he will have to face the consequences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have received so many responses from women about abuse. It is rampant. Maybe more women will be believed and be empowered to speak out

      Delete
  8. Thank you for posting this. I was right at the tipping point of uncertainty, and this post has clarified my opinion. I'm so glad you were protected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so hard to believe. I still wish it wasn't true. But we have to find our icons with those around us, the ones who do the little things, but do them every day. And do them well

      Delete
  9. To hear it from your mouth clears up any "he said, she said." So many lives you have lived.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for saying that. I am so grateful people believe me. Thank you

      Delete
  10. What a frightening experience this must have been for you as two young women - definitely a wake-up call, I imagine. I am glad that you two escaped together, although it certainly was not "unharmed." Another icon fallen off the pedestal. Thanks for sharing your story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad Wendy was there. And so surprised words can impact so deeply for so long

      Delete
  11. It takes courage to go back to such a memory and courage to share it in a public forum. Thank you for opening that box and for raising your voice. God bless you and your friend, Wendy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about it for 2 weeks, and then I just did it. Writing is so much easier than talking about it

      Delete
  12. Hopefully by you sharing your story others will realize that he is not the person they once thought he was. Thank you for being brave enough to tell us all the truth about him. I hope justice is done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope people start to look around them for their role models...and not to TV stars who can fall so far so quickly.

      Delete
  13. Close call and thanks for your friend not leaving you and for sharing. He was getting his PHD when I was at the same college and heard rumblings that he was meaner than his comedy act persona. Know now those rumblings were correct and more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We never seem to get away from our true selves...

      Delete
  14. Thanks for sharing your story, Donna. Hoping others will read your advice and it will save someone a painful and life-altering encounter. Like you, I learned the hard way not to go alone. It wasn't Bill Cosby, but that hardly matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right it doesn't matter who it is, we all have a story of a close call or worse. We do need each other so much

      Delete
  15. Thank you for speaking up. I am sorry he chose to verbally assault you so, and perhaps planned worse, and am very glad your friend had your back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad for a friend...thank you for your support..

      Delete
  16. Donna, thanks for posting this. I remember those days, although I was probably a little younger than you, but I played tennis at the DI with a friend of mine whose dad worked there. I definitely remember the days when tennis was the thing to do, but for me it was on a much smaller scale with the tween-teen crowd.

    Thanks for speaking up about your experience & it definitely cleared up any questions I may have had about the "he said, she said" situation. Without a doubt I believe you, thereby putting credibility on all those who are now reporting these incidents of decades ago. Thank goodness for Wendy & for the 2 of you sticking together. I guess knowing when to trust (or not trust) someone that you think you may know, but really don't, has never really been an easy task. So glad that you were able to escape before it got any worse. Hugs to you, Donna!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Georgeann...thank you for your support

      Delete
  17. My G-d, Donna. I wish I had more words than thank goodness for you and your friend that you both got out of there safely. I cannot imagine. I've been reading things and it turns my stomach and makes me feel ill, as for me, the victim blaming is so horribly awful. And then I hear people defending him and I get it - I understand WHY - but I still hate it all. And the he said-she said, the many of those scenarios. Whew. Thank you so much for being brave enough to not just write this, but to hit publish. Because that's the most important step of all.

    ReplyDelete
  18. OMG I am speechless….but so damn glad you shared your story. Cosby is and was, a scary man indeed. Thank GOD you had Wendy there. You are so brave to share this. I'm just so glad you escaped rape. I'm so glad you escaped ALL of it. <>

    ReplyDelete
  19. He's a pig. I'm glad your friend stayed with you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, this doesn't shock me because he slept with a good friend of the family and this was at least over 30 years ago. She never went into the details about what happened and how she ended up sleeping with him...but she didn't look too happy about it. What a shame how he victimized some many women. He is a nightmare! Thanks for sharing your story.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Behind the friendly, fatherly face . . . One of my favourite bloggers had a similar experience with the father of one of her best friends. Equally as shattering and betraying. I'm so grateful you escaped relatively unharmed. So many didn't . . .

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for a very brave post. I can only imagine how many times you have wondered what would have happened if your friend had not been there.

    It takes a lot of courage to put your story out there. Thanks for doing it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. In the beginning the whole thing was so hard to believe. I mean...Bill Cosby?? The more women came forward there was little room for doubt. I imagine it took a lot of courage to write the story. There is a valuable lesson in this. Never go alone. Thank goodness for Wendy. And thank you for being so brave.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I've not wanted to believe any of the allegations even as one more and one more person comes forward. It's so disappointing especially because I've just introduced my 9 year old son to The Cosby Show this year just to experience a wholesome family show which is hard to find these days. This just makes me ill. You answered my questions about why no one would come forward until now. I also feel disappointed in myself for wanting to take his side. Thank you for your truth. I'm so glad that you didn't go alone.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am so GLAD that you didn't go alone. Also that your friend had her wits about her to explain how she would be missed. This is what scares me about sending my child away to college. Then "NICE" guy... The one that flies under the radar... He has definitely flown under the radar..... As stated before, I can so understand why no one would want to step forward and confront this issue, his professional person so does not meet his personal person... And of course the general public only knows the professional persona. Bravo.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What courage you have. Thank you for sharing this story. And, thank you, Wendy. So grateful you got away from this predator. The more we speak out, the louder our voice.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Good for you, Donna, for writing this and explaining. It can't have been easy and your voice will matter very much to those who are in the same position you found yourself in. Thank God for Wendy! Ouf!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'd been reluctantly beginning to believe these allegations. Your story has now removed all uncertainty. Glad you weren't hurt as badly as others, but the experience clearly left its mark. Sorry that happened to you, Donna.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you for this, Donna. I used to work as a therapist with abuse and assault survivors, and your reaction is very understandable. When everyone else seems to believe the perpetrator, the victim feels marginalized...and doubts her own experience.

    And YES: "We have to provide our sisters a safe place to fall." This really sums it up for me.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow. It's brave for you to share your story so that others may not feel alone. Your voice will help create a safe place for others. Luckily, you did get out of there, and thank God for your friend. I plan on teaching my daughter to never, never go anywhere alone.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This was a huge share. How his image has been turned on end, and we're all left confused. But you lost that wholesome image of him years ago. You were extraordinarily brave to write this.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I came from Carol Graham's blog and had to read yours. You had an angel on your shoulder and that angel is Wendy. You were lucky and I agree with you that many women didn't even realize what was going to happen. Charm can be very manipulative. To this day too many women are questioned in a negative manner and are not treated as the victims they are but as the bad "guy". Well..it is finally coming out and that is a good thing

    ReplyDelete
  33. Very incredible story. It could have ended so differently.

    ReplyDelete
  34. seriously, is this the salem with trial? What is going on with people making accusations and not being vetted at all? This is crazy.

    This could maybe not have happened at all or been totally taken out of context. Why so quick to belive? OMG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry you don't believe me, I have no control over your opinion. However, I know what occurred...and everything I wrote is true. If you would like to vet me my character is up for investigation

      Delete
  35. Donna, thank you as I am one who cannot believe that all these women can be wrong! I am one of your RMM group Sisters & grateful to know you! You are an amazing woman & I am grateful to call you my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Donna, you can help so many young girls with this story...and I think we need to make sure the young ones hear all of this. What has been telling to me is the silence on the part of co-workers. I think if he were the innocent guy we all thought we knew there would be more defense around him. I just hear nothing. Thank you for your courage to speak out.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow, Donna, who was to know, right? I am so glad that you were able to use your Inner Courage that Pres. Monson talked about in conference. Many a woman, young and old can keep in mind to always have a friend in such circumstances. Good for you to have such courage. Never go alone....

    ReplyDelete