By: Rafique Ali
Bill Cosby was an American Dad, the star of the successful Bill Cosby Show from 1985-1992, a family show. Nobody ever imagined him being a pervert. About three years ago a woman came forward with an allegation that, Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her. The incident took place a couple of decades ago. However, another woman came forward and then third and then fourth; a total of approximately 20 plus women came forward, solidifying the evidence of the alleged assaults, over the span of three decades – starting from the 1960s till 1990s. Many people in the media or supporters of Bill Cosby asked, “why now and why not then”, this attitude of society is called ‘Victim Blaming’.
The ‘Victim Blaming’ was popularized by Psychologist William Ryan in his book “Blaming the Victim”, first published in 1971. However, this phrase was earlier studied by three professors of the University of Berkley, California in the 1950s. The study and the book characterized different kinds of victims; from victims of slavery, victims of authoritarian rule, to victims of patriarchal societies (which suppress women, children & weak).
Bill Cosby name was untainted; few questioned the intent and timing of allegation, long after the expiration of the legal statute of limitation. More people acknowledged rights of these women to speak up. Legal experts, psychologists and media pundits snubbed the question of intent. They urged to look at the facts and psychologists defined that sometimes victims blame themselves, or they think nobody will believe them and the perpetrator is too powerful; so they bury that incident in their sub-conscious like it never happened.
American society came together to protect these women from victim blaming. Ayesha Gulalai isn’t so lucky, the stinky tribal mind of urban middle class popped up on TV screens and social media within hours of the allegation. They were more interested in finding the intent of the allegation than the facts of the allegation. TV Anchors western wearing two piece suits with medieval era attitude started setting up the stage to lynch Ayesha Gulalai. Please don’t fool yourself, it isn’t only men who suppress women in patriarchal societies, women participate even handily too; they carry the same venom in hearts which men do.
Society will deface and shame Ayesha Gulalai and she may disappear into oblivion but the process once again brought darkness up in the air. How many more Ayesha, Mukhtara Mai and hundreds of nameless victims of verbal, physical, sexual and mental abuse it would take to awaken collective conscious of the society. Wish I could have that answer.
Writer can be contacted or followed on twitter at @GoToMtns