Just days after Spelman College cut ties with Bill Cosby amid rising allegations of rape and sexual assault, 35 accusers of the fallen entertainer are featured in a powerful New York Magazine cover story that was unveiled Sunday night on Twitter.
Since then, the magazine’s online site was hacked by a man who claims to hate New York City, but the firsthand accounts of 35 of the 46 women who allege they were raped by Cosby were heard loud and clear. The women range in age from 44 to 80.
The photo project and accompanying story, which took six months to complete, aims to combat the long-discussed rape culture in America that protects the accused and ostracizes women. As the piece points out:
“More has changed in the past few years for women who allege rape than in all the decades since the women’s movement began.”
In an essay accompanying the piece, Noreen Malone explains:
The group of women Cosby allegedly assaulted functions almost as a longitudinal study—both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period. […] The first assumption was that women who accused famous men were after money or attention. As Cosby allegedly told some of his victims: No one would believe you. So why speak up?
The portraits, photographed by Amanda Demme, concisely drive home the point. The women’s physical presence silences anyone who might still have a shred of doubt—as a collection of real faces, real women courageous enough to speak out, the allegations metastasize, become more tangible than headlines. No one can deny their multitudes, and the sheer horror and revulsion that accompanies their stories, of Bill Cosby allegedly drugging them and raping them and using his tremendous power and influence to silence them. No more.
You can read the women’s experiences here.