Eve Ensler on Abusive Fathers and the Culture That Protects Them

In a short essay for Time, playwright and activist Eve Ensler writes about simultaneously understanding many women’s difficulty calling out abusive fathers—like her own and alleged rapist Bill Cosby—and being frustrated with a culture that protects beloved, powerful patriarchs while vilifying and portraying as liars the women who speak out against them:

I think of my own silence early on, and maybe it was disbelief that stopped my outrage. Or protection of a daddy I desperately needed. Or fear of exclusion, exile, loss. Or the horror and heartbreak of experiencing the death of the hero. My hero. Or making a decision early on that the rare moment of love was worth the nightmares….

… could my mother or I, both dependent on my father for money and resources, speak out against his terror? More than forty women have now described their experiences with Bill Cosby, allegedly coaxed into his drug lair early in their careers. How could they speak out and smear and embarrass the moral cuddly king of television, be the slayers of our collective fantasy, and what would that have done to their fledgling careers and lives?…

…It is up to everyone to call out the behavior of perpetrators whether they be famous or not. We must, regardless of their status or fame or wealth or talent hold them to the same standards. We must, as a community, break through our own fear and need to sustain and protect our daddy heroes while we sacrifice our women.

Read the essay