I am writing this on the day that “America’s Dad,” the brilliantly talented comic actor Bill Cosby, was officially designated as a sexually violent predator and sentenced to three to ten years in prison.
It is hard for many people to think of Bill Cosby as a rapist. Hard to imagine such a brilliant actor, such an all-around friendly, funny, warm-hearted guy, the “Huxtable Dad” that an entire generation grew up watching week after week, could really drug and rape someone.
I, too, watched the Bill Cosby show for years and wished that I could have had a father like that guy. And yet, I find it all too easy to believe that Cosby did, in fact, commit the crime of which he has been found guilty, beyond any reasonable doubt, in a court of law. I believe it, because someone who was just as wonderful and charming, someone highly respected in his profession, admired and loved by many people, did the same thing to me.
I was fifteen years old at the time, and he was forty-seven. I was skinny as a rail, self-conscious, and painfully shy. He was tall and lean, poised and sophisticated, with Rock Hudson movie star looks and a palpable air of self-assurance.
He was a World War II Army veteran, a medical doctor, and a psychiatrist. I was his patient. His name was Frederick Martin, MD. (Note: with the exception of public persons, all of the names that I use here on my blog are pseudonyms, including my own name. My real name is not Linda Lee. I use pseudonyms for the sake of privacy, my own as well as the people I write about. However, I am using the real name of the doctor who raped me, for two reasons. One, because I am not the only patient that Dr. Martin raped. And two, because a rapist does not deserve any privacy. He is dead now, anyway, as I will explain.)
Dr. Martin’s specialty was hypnosis. When I met him that first time, I was actually the patient of another doctor. My doctor referred me to Martin because he believed that I might benefit from hypnosis. As it turned out, he was right, I did eventually have a very positive result from hypnotism — but not from Dr. Martin’s hypnosis. On the contrary, my sessions with Dr. Martin scarred me for life and literally almost killed me.
… I want to finish writing about this, but I can’t do it right now. Even fifty years later, thinking, writing, or talking about this horrible time in my life makes me feel like screaming.
And people wonder why so many rape victims wait until decades have gone by, before reporting their experience. I understand that, too, all too well. I was almost fifty years old, before I finally told a therapist about being drugged and raped three times.
Dr. Martin was caught, the last time he drugged and raped me, when he gave me too much of the anesthesia drug and I came so close to dying that my heart stopped beating, I collapsed on the floor, and my spirit left my body. Two nurses found me, revived me, and figured out from the condition of my underwear that I had been raped. They reported Dr. Martin to the police. After two plain clothes detectives interviewed me, the police searched Martin’s office. One of the nurses told me that they found tape recordings of his rapes locked in his desk drawers, and, she said, I was not the only one. I was told that there were male victims as well as female.
Dr. Martin was promptly fired from his job. Soon after this, his newly wed second wife left him. And yet, like Bill Cosby, he still maintained his innocence until, more than a year later, at the age of 49, Dr. Martin committed suicide. I do not know the circumstances of his death, whether he had been found guilty in a court of law, or what happened exactly. I only know that he died and that it was suicide.
I have written some about this before, but I have never told the whole story. I was hoping to do that now, after reading about the Cosby sentencing today, but I can’t. Despite all the years that have gone by, it is still too hard.
There are no winners in what happened in the Cosby case today. But at least there has been a small measure of justice.
(I am sorry, I don’t feel like I can deal with comments on this right now. Thank you for stopping by. If you can relate to any of this, my heart goes out to you, big time.)