We loved Bill Cosby.
We invited him into our homes, for years upon years. We adored him and the love he returned to us. We looked up to him, saw him as a father figure. In black homes, white homes, brown homes, and colorful homes, Bill Cosby was universally loved and revered. He encouraged us to laugh, almost always with family friendly humor.
Loving Bill Cosby felt safe.
Until we couldn’t ignore the whispers and accusations we were hearing anymore.
This confusion is always there, is frighteningly common, when a perpetrator is someone we love. And a person we trust and love is the most common perpetrator. Most victims-direct victims and indirect victims—are lost in the question, “How could he? How could she?”
In this way, Bill Cosby finally being officially charged for sexual assault is an important gift. We were all complicit and we are all now lost in the question, “How could he?” But we are also gifted with some answers. Not to the question that will leave us lost, but to the question of, “What do we do? What’s right to do?”
For victims of abuse everywhere (and also for our world in general) this is what we need to do: Learn how to love him, forgive him, not tolerate his actions, and not invite him into our homes. We need to do this universally.
How do we do that? It’s simple.
Charge him, if found guilty levy the punishment, and love him anyway. Take away his power to perpetrate, forgive him and forgive ourselves.
And this is how we need to raise our families, our communities. If someone does something harmful we charge them, levy the punishment/consequence, and love them anyway. Loving them anyway frees us from hate and enables them to become something new. If they are our children we also must add something, give them a new direction, a new way to be. We mustn’t leave them lost.
We know what it is to be lost. It’s dangerous and frightening. Which is why I always uncover and offer answers, in homes around the world, in my talks and videos and books, and while sipping coffee with my many wonderful children.
Bill Cosby did us a favor. He’s uncovered an answer.
His victims did us a bigger favor. They’ve insisted we accept and share that answer.
We must accept it and share it for all of our sakes.
I invite you to watch this short video where I speak about this issue: