I am truly fascinated by human society and its ebbs and flows of what we collectively pay attention to and which things a society says matter.
Perhaps the most amazing case study ever on this issue is the way in which the decades-old (and ignored) Bill Cosby rape allegations by several women suddenly mattered to people. Why didn’t they matter before, and what changed to make them matter now?
As is widely known, the comedian Hannibal Burress told a few jokes in late 2014 about Cosby drugging women and raping them, and almost by magic the seriousness of his alleged heinous acts entered our collective consciousness.
Chicago Magazine observed back in 2014:
When Philadelphia magazine last month [Oct 2014] posted a video of Chicago comic Hannibal Buress riffing on Bill Cosby’s myriad rape allegations, it didn’t take long for the Internet to explode. <Chicagomag.com, link>
Mr. Burress had no idea that his standup performance would snowball into what is now the arrest of Bill Cosby and his potential criminal prosection.
But it happened.
And now Bill Clinton and his victims are getting the Cosby effect.
When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1991 and 1992, many women came forward, as did various men who had been in then-Governor Clinton’s inner circle, with claims of sexual assault by Clinton (as victims or witnesses). The Clinton machine dealt with these allegations in a ruthless way, portraying the various women as “bimbos” and “trailer trash”.
But did it derail his campaign? No, he was elected president in 1992 and again in 1996.
In 1999, one such woman, Juanita Broaddrick, revealed her identity and gave specific, horrifying, detail of what she said was her violent rape by Bill Clinton (she had previously testified to the rape under a pseudonym to protect her identity). This is a partial transcript of Ms. Broaddrick’s interview with Lisa Myers, and I dare anyone to watch the interview (clip is below) and not wonder how Bill Clinton could have gotten away with the acts she describes.
Broaddrick: “Then he tries to kiss me again. And the second time he tries to kiss me he starts biting my lip (she cries). Just a minute… He starts to, um, bite on my top lip and I tried to pull away from him. (crying) And then he forces me down on the bed. And I just was very frightened, and I tried to get away from him and I told him ‘No,’ that I didn’t want this to happen (crying) but he wouldn’t listen to me.”
Myers: “Did you resist, did you tell him to stop?”
Broaddrick: “Yes, I told him ‘Please don’t.’ He was such a different person at that moment, he was just a vicious awful person.”
Myers: “You said there was a point at which you stopped resisting?”
Broaddrick: “It was a real panicky, panicky situation. I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling to ‘Please stop.’ And that’s when he pressed down on my right shoulder and he would bite my lip.”
Broaddrick also says the waist of her skirt and her pantyhose were torn.
Juanita Broaddrick: “When everything was over with, he got up and straightened himself, and I was crying at the moment and he walks to the door, and calmly puts on his sunglasses. And before he goes out the door he says ‘You better get some ice on that.’ And he turned and went out the door.”
Myers: “On your lip?”
Kudos to Donald Trump for not being intimidated by the Clintons as they accuse him of being anti-women — he has served up his own Hannibal Burress moment of shining a light on old, but powerful, allegations against not only Bill Clinton, but also Hillary Clinton, who allegedly participated in the post-assault handling of his victims.
Here is Broaddrick’s tweet from last week:
After this tweet, news organizations began calling her and asking for more information.
She is obliging these requests, and they are seeing the light of day:
Broaddrick said that she doesn’t describe herself as Republican or Democrat, but is supporting Donald Trump for president.
“He says the things I like to hear,” Broaddrick said.
She lauded Trump for broaching the issue of Bill Clinton’s past marital infidelities and allegations of sexual assault.
“I’m glad someone did. Everyone has been hanging back and most of the mainstream media won’t approach it but it’s something that should be talked about.” <Thehill.com, link>
Justice has a way of sneaking up on the perpetrators, even years later..