Victoria Valentino became depressed and suicidal after she was raped by a famous tv-personality in the 1960s. Today, she says, women refuse to be victimized.
Back in 1969, in an apartment in The Hollywood Hills, the former Playboy model says she was drugged and raped by the famous tv-personality Bill Cosby. Victoria Valentino was 26 years old. And paralysed.
– My roommate and I were drugged, and taken to a little apartment by this big star where he raped us. And you know, it took me 45 years before I could say the word “rape”, says Victoria Valentino on a phone call from San Francisco where she lives.
– Now, after centuries of women having been victimized, blamed and filled with shame instead of all those negative notions being put on the offender – we are in a place where we feel entitled to be safe – as we should be, she says.
The rape survivor, and one of the front women in the MeToo-movement, have long been in demand across the globe. She has appeared in newspapers, magazines, television and recently – in a new four part Showtime documentary called “We Need To Talk About Cosby”, to retell her shocking story of violent rape and callous disregard by one of America's most powerful celebrities, Bill Cosby.
– The many Cosby-survivors really opened the gate for the MeToo-movement. After we spoke out about this rich, powerful and famous comedian and was believed, it really took front stage, she says.
– No one wants to get famous for being sexually assaulted. But sometimes, it's not about you. Sometimes, it's about finally telling the truth, says Valentino who openly have told the story of her also surviving domestic abuse, and her little son drowning in a tragic pool accident when he was just six years old.
– I didn't have a support system back then, and didn't feel entitled to have one…women have come a long way since then, she says.
Today Victoria Valentino has dedicated much of her life to changing laws and raising awareness.
In 2019 she invited Rich and Charlen Larsen, the founders behind the top rated security app Bsafe, to a women empowerment event in Wisconsin.
– We met, and I was very impressed by the father - and daughter team. I saw Rich step up for his daughter in an inspiring way. Together they have made incredible pieces of technology that can tackle a variety of different facets of any situation that might occur, says Valentino.
– If you have had access to help from the Bsafe app back then, could it have changed your story?
– Oh my gosh…well, I was already grieving the loss of my son, but in terms of feeling less suicidal, less depressed, all the agony that comes with the “life sentence” for a rape survivor would hopefully not have been a part of my life, says Valentino.
– So if everyone of us, young men and children included, used Bsafes game changing and revolutionary systems we could cut down the amount of rapes and domestic abuse because we would feel – and be – stronger. We would never be alone, says Valentino.