There's Something Very Misleading About Bill Cosby's Deposition

Source: AP
Source: AP

After dozens of women came forward in the last year to share they had been drugged, sexually assaulted or raped by comedian Bill Cosby over the last 50 years, Cosby would not publicly confirm or deny the allegations. But here's what he did admit to seven years ago, according to a 2005 deposition made public Monday by the Associated Press:


And then:

To be clear, you can't "give her Qaaludes," a strong sedative, and "then have sex." This is rape. Here's how the FBI defines rape:

The carnal knowledge of a person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable
of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

When you give someone a strong sedative that greatly reduces their ability to consent to sex, you're not "having sex" with that person. That person cannot give consent when they're passed out. You're raping them.  

Basically, Cosby admitted to raping someone.

It's important to name instances of rape so they're not swept under the rug. Particularly in this case, with a powerful celebrity who's shown a proclivity for abusing that power, it's important to name his wrongdoing. According to researchers, men are much more likely to admit to having raped someone — as long as it's not called "rape."

In 2009, Thomas MacAulay Millar of the Yes Means Yes! blog examined a study of 1,882 college students who were asked four questions to determine if they had raped, or attempted to rape, someone:

1) Have you ever attempted unsuccessfully to have intercourse with an adult by force or threat of force?
2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone who did not want you to because they were too intoxicated to resist?
3) Have you ever had intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?
4) Have you ever had oral intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?

Six percent of the sample, or about 120 respondents, answered "yes" to at least one of the questions, Jezebel pointed out at the time. And of those 120 respondents, 76 men had committed more than one rape. The scariest part: "Just 4% of the men surveyed committed over 400 attempted or completed rapes."

It's important to call rape what it is in order to stop it. It's not a "misunderstanding" or a "bad date" or "that awkward thing that happened." When someone does not give consent, or is unable to give consent, it's rape. Period.

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Jamilah King

Jamilah King is a senior staff writer at Mic. She was previously an editor at Colorlines.

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