Processing My Denial & The Allegations Against Bill Cosby

Like many others, I am fighting through my denial about the allegations against Bill Cosby because at one time, he was “America’s Dad.”  On one hand, there are so few representations of positive Black men in the media that it is easy to be enamored with his charisma, generosity and sense of self.

On the other hand, the professional side of me has a background in sex addiction and it saddens me that I assumed that there would probably be others to come forward. When the first allegation came out publicly a couple of weeks ago, I shared with some colleagues of mine that the initial reports were only the tip of the iceberg.  In other words, I speculated that there would be many more women who would come out to share their story about their interaction with him.

The sexual addiction cycle suggests several components to acting out behavior, including faulty belief systems, impaired thinking, preoccupation, ritualization, sexual compulsivity, despair, and unmanageability (Carnes, 1992).  In other words, privilege, sexism, entitlement, power, access to resources, obsession, compulsion, low self-esteem, and loss of control are intricately woven into what is turning out to be sad story.

Typically, when a person acts out sexually in this manner, it is not done in a vacuum.  There are usually others who advertently or inadvertently enable the behavior.  This makes the situation significantly more complex because it suggests that others may have known what was going on, with whom, the surrounding circumstances and possibly the frequency.

As I continue to process these allegations against Bill Cosby, I would be remiss if I did not applaud the courage of the women who came forward. I understand that sexual coercion is emotionally, behaviorally, and socially complex and that there are a myriad of factors involved.

Whether it happened yesterday, last month, last year, 10 years, or 50 years ago, rape is never okay or should be minimized, ridiculed, or dismissed.

I can only hope that the truth continues to be revealed and that all parties involved receive help and support.

Dr. James WadleyDr. James Wadley is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Human Services Program at Lincoln University. He’s a licensed professional counselor and marriage, family, and sexuality therapist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  He is also the Founder and Editor of the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships.  Follow him on Twitter @phdjamesw