Cindra Ladd, the most recent woman to step forward and share her story about allegedly surviving a sexual assault at the hands of Bill Cosby, published her account on Huffington Post.
Her story starts out, eerily, the way so many of Cosby’s accuser’s stories start:
“In 1969 I met Bill Cosby while working in New York for the late film producer Ray Stark. I was a 21-year-old single woman in the world’s most exciting city. He was a 32-year-old internationally known comedian and television star, one of the most likeable and popular entertainers in the business. He asked for my number and I gave it to him.”
After befriending the comedian and spending a great deal of time with this comedian who “acted like a perfect gentleman,” Ladd, a former Hollywood executive, recounts the night of her assault:
“One night we were going out to a movie. We agreed to meet at an apartment that he said belonged to a friend of his. I had a terrible headache but didn’t want to cancel the evening. He told me he had a miracle cure his doctor had given him that would get rid of the headache. He went into another room and came back with a capsule. I asked a couple of times what it was. Each time he reassured me, asking, “Don’t you trust me?” Of course I did. This was Bill Cosby.
For more than 45 years I have tried to recall exactly what happened that night. To this day it remains a blur…. what I do recall, vividly and clearly, is waking up the next morning nude in the bed of his friend’s apartment and seeing Cosby wearing a white terrycloth bathrobe and acting as if there was nothing unusual. It was obvious to me that he had had sex with me. I was horrified, embarrassed and ashamed. There was a mirror above the bed, which shocked me further.
…It never occurred to me to go to the police. It was a different time and “date rape” was a concept that didn’t exist. I just kept asking myself over and over in disbelief why this had happened to me. Other than my roommate, I did not discuss that night with anyone for 36 years.”
Again, Ladd’s reasoning for staying silent so resembles the reasoning of the over 30 women who have come forward.
“Like millions of people, I watched The Cosby Show at its zenith and was a fan. But as I watched Dr. Cliff Huxtable, so compassionate and kind, so honorable and wise, I could never reconcile that image with the Bill Cosby I encountered so many years ago.”
So, Ladd asks for us, “. . .why speak out at all and why now?”
“After having done a lot of work on myself, I realize that we are only as sick as the secrets we keep,” Ladd explains. “Once those secrets are spoken aloud, even if to just one person, they lose their power. I no longer feel the shame that kept me silent. Yes, I could have told my story years ago, and in hindsight I probably should have. It’s time now that my voice be added and to finally pull the curtain back from this dark moment in my life.”
There is no expiration date for telling your truth. We need to support those survivors who speak up about what happened to them. Sexual assault is an act that thrives on secrecy and shame. By giving platforms to victims, by listening when they speak, and creating a culture in which they can speak, we’re beating back the silence, and we’re taking a big step towards eradicating sexual violence.