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Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the 2011 National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

New York Magazine profiles 35 women who accused Cosby of sexual assault

Yesterday, in the culmination of a six-month project, New York Magazine published a profile of 35 different women who allege that comedian Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them. The article features portrait-style photographs of the women, accompanied by statements on their assault or assaults.

“I’m no longer afraid,” one of the women, Chelan Lasha, said in the piece. “I feel more powerful than him.”

The article looks at the progression of the accusations against Cosby in a timeline that begins in the sixties, when some of the first alleged assaults occurred. Popular attitudes toward rape at the time characterized it as “something violent committed by a stranger; acquaintance rape didn’t register as such, even for the women experiencing it,” according to the piece.

The chronicle continues through the ’70s and ‘80s, touching on movements like “Take Back the Night” and their role in raising popular awareness of date rape. The article examines some of the accusations brought forward in 2005, how they ended up buried and why they resurfaced following a videotaped segment from a set by comedian Hannibal Buress.

Many of the women’s stories that appear in the piece are similar; they say they met Cosby in their teens or twenties and that he offered to mentor them, but instead gave them drugs to incapacitate them without their consent before assaulting them.

Cosby has never been charged with a crime, but in a 2006 deposition obtained by The New York Times, he stated that he had obtained quaaludes for the purpose of drugging women he wanted to have sex with.

New York Magazine senior editor Noreen Malone, who wrote the article, told the NewsHour the women wanted to come forward to share their stories.

“Most of the women though wanted to have their voice shared,” Malone said. “They wanted to tell everyone that you should believe us, that we’re not lying.”

Sarah McHaney contributed reporting to this article.

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