As the long-known rape accusations against comedian Bill Cosby come to our collective attention, it’s hard not to wonder what took so long? Yesterday Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a reflective piece on this subject over at theatlantic.com that reads like a mix of mussar and atonement. Coates recounts his reluctance, when profiling Bill Cosby in 2008, to pursue the rape allegations, citing a lack of definitive proof and personal “cowardice.”
(Haaretz) — Imagine a young Orthodox woman being forced, against her will, to marry an older man who disgusts her. Seeing no way out, she commits suicide – by drowning herself in a mikveh. Now imagine another young Orthodox woman being forced to marry an older man who repulses her. She goes ahead and marries him, and after three months of beatings, forced sex, and her husband refusing to grant her a get, she commits suicide – again by drowning herself in a mikveh.
First of all, let me make clear that I sincerely hope this isn’t “The Year of the Jewish Woman,” as the headline of the Jewish Daily Forward’s “Forward 50” list proclaims. One year isn’t enough for me; I’m aiming for a world in which Jewish women—and all people—get the opportunities and recognition they deserve every year. But I’m pleased that the Forward managed to reach parity + 1 this year, after more than 20 years of lists in which women were not represented in proportion to their percentage in the population.