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Why I Wasn't Believed

I read an interesting piece online (http://nomore.org/why-cosby-victims-werent-believed/) last night about Bill Cosby written by the NO MORE Staff. For those of you that don't know, NO MORE is a campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Check out their website at http://nomore.org.

The piece discussed the recent news about allegations of sexual assault. In recent years, women have come forward accusing Cosby of assaulting them over the course of several years, but they were not believed until just recently. It was a comedian who accused Cosby of being a rapist in his comedy act when others started to take the accusations seriously.

The article goes on to talk about why these women weren't believed. For one, the comedian that accused Cosby of being a rapist is a man, so I'm thinking that he was taken more seriously than the women simply because of his sex. Secondly, Cosby is a star. He's America's dad from The Cosby Show. He is a lovable guy. He simply wouldn't do something like that, right? The truth is, we don't know. We weren't there. I don't know what happened, but I certainly believe these women because of my own experience.

My own experience was in middle school when I told my teacher that my dad had abused me. He simply looked at me like I was telling a bald-faced lie. His moral, professional, and legal obligations all required him to report the abuse, but he simply brushed it off. It wasn't true. So, why wasn't I believed?

The problem is education. People are not educated about abuse. Why would my rich and charismatic father abuse me? He had no reason to. Everyone knew him and no one ever witnessed abuse. That only happens to this race or this social class or this kind of family. My dad is perfectly normal on the outside. Who would believe a kid accusing a perfectly normal father of abuse?

Well, there're people that do believe me, but my job is not to convince anyone and neither is that of the fifteen women that have come forward so far. Our jobs are to say that we suffered and we survived...and you can as well. We stand stronger than the ones that made us suffer and we will continue to fight for our voices. We have the power to look our abusers in the eyes and say that we didn't give up and that we are better than them. So, stand tall.

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About Stacey Lannert

Stacey is free. In January 2009, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt commuted her sentence of life without parole. She is currently speaking out about sexual abuse and sharing her message of love, healing and forgiveness.