Bill Cosby and the Long History of Powerful Men Who Use Women

(Blog) Abandoning Blogs for Facebook, Twitter Was a Mistake
April 28, 2018
Why Christian Sexual Morality is Rejected
April 28, 2018

There’s a reason why women are trafficked. Why prostitution is so common. Why strip joints keep popping up. It’s that there’s a huge market for these things.

By Rob Schwarzwalder, a Senior Contributor, The Stream, April 27, 2018

Rob SchwarzwalderBill Cosby’s influence on American culture was profound.

From his early days as a stand-up comedian to his history-making, family-focused sitcom, Cosby was seen as a man of decency, common sense, and good values.

He wrote books on fatherhood and aging. He brought back Art Linklater and “Kids Say the Darndest Things!” He was never divorced. And he spoke out with courage against what he viewed as an unhealthy African-American subculture.

To say that the 80 year-old’s legacy is not tarnished is sort of like the Titanic had some sea trouble.

Bill Cosby, Hypocrite Who Got Away With It

Cosby was convicted Thursday of three counts of sexual assault. About 50 women allege Cosby sexually molested them. He has admitted under oath that he drugged women’s’ drinks to have sex with them. (By the way, Mr. Cosby, this is known as rape.)

The accusations are credible. They go back as far as 1965. They are from women whose stories carry the ring of truth.

Many people live double lives, but few with the prominence of Bill Cosby. And not just prominence. Cosby used his public life to advance the values of family, responsibility, work, and education. He chided those whose lives did not measure up.

Why? Because he could get away with it? Because he was addicted to vile sexual pleasure? Because he loved the sense of power he received from getting away with rape, abuse, and intimidation?

Powerful Men Using Women — A Long List

The arc of Cosby’s descent from affection and esteem to contempt and, in all likelihood, prison has been long enough that the shock factor has worn off. And his story is not unique.

There’s Bill Clinton, the all but proven rapist of Juanita Broaddrick and predator of a White House intern.

There’s O.J. Simpson, the beloved football star, actor, and good-natured sports commentator. And murderer, liar, and kidnapper.

We have to be Josiahs in our own right. Men and women who purge our laptops, smartphones, television screens and whatever else from the false gods of sexual pleasure.

There’s John F. Kennedy, a man whose adulterous liaisons are too many to count. When his aging secretary asked him why, with his beautiful wife and family, he wouldn’t stop, he replied, “Because I can’t.”

There are too many pastors to mention, guilty of sexual assault and abuse, financial ill-dealing, and plain old greed.

There’s Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, and many other Hollywood types. These men are merely the latest in a long line of film and TV stars, directors, and so forth who have used women like the rest of us use cabs.

The Market For Sex and Abuse

That powerful men commit sordid acts is as old as David and Bathsheba. But their plunges into moral cesspools come with a sense that they won’t get caught. That they’re above the law, both moral and civil. That their handlers, toadies, and hatchet-men will “take care of things.”

It is welcome news that we still live in an era when sexual assault is against the law. When the “Me Too” movement has emboldened women victimized by politically, socially, or financially powerful men to say “enough.”

Yet I’m haunted by a recent comment by a psychologist friend of mine: All young men view pornography. Those that don’t now have in the past. Those that fight against it are in an ongoing battle. Those who have quit the addiction find that it walks quietly behind them, like a soft-shoed assailant, waiting for just the right moment of vulnerability to strike.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

There’s a reason why women are trafficked. Why prostitution is so common. Why strip joints keep popping up.

It’s that there’s a huge market for these things.

That market is abetted by television shows that are fixated on sex. Sex before marriage. Sex outside of marriage. Sex among teenagers. Sex among multiple partners. Name the venue, the type, the location. Sex is to popular culture as chocolate is to Hershey’s.

Be Like King Josiah

It was in the times of the ancient Israelites, too. Athirat, called in the Bible Asherath, was a female deity in the ancient Near East. She was associated with poles or trees, “female cult objects” that were so prominent that they were even place in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.

And then came King Josiah, a man who found and loved the law of Moses and enacted a sweeping revival throughout his nation. As recorded in II Kings 23:6-7, Josiah “brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.”

America has become a land where Asherah has made it far into the halls of power. Bill Cosby and his ilk in business, politics, and, tragically, even the pulpit prove it.

We have to be Josiahs in our own right. Men and women who purge our laptops, smartphones, television screens and whatever else from the false gods of sexual pleasure. A gracious but holy God demands it. Our families need it. Our testimony requires it.

The National Center on Sexual ExploitationFamily Research Council, and Focus on the Family have wonderful resources to help you in your personal battles and public efforts against objectifying women and sexual impurity.


Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.

Rob is focused on the intersection of theology, culture and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy and national security.

Rob has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Ore.) and an undergraduate degree from Biola University. He and his wife of 35 years, Valerie, make their home in Virginia Beach and have three children.