What happens when your rapist dies

But most of my attention was on what I was and was not feeling inside. I didn’t rejoice at the fact that he was dead, and for that I’m grateful. That’s not the person I want to be.

There was instead a sense of threads being snipped off — the thread of fear that our paths might someday cross, or that another woman might divulge what he had done to her and then I’d feel obligated to name him, to come forward in support.

There is the thread of uncertainty that every victim feels — what if I had acted differently? Was there any way I could have avoided what happened? I suddenly felt as if I could let go of that. I also felt a strange release from anger. I didn’t need it anymore — my rapist was gone from this earth, and he would face whatever justice lies in wait on the other side of life.

But there is also this: When a man has assaulted you, when he has forced himself inside you, his shadow remains even after death. All of Bill Cosby’s accusers — he acknowledged in a deposition giving Quaaludes to young women with whom he wanted to have sex — will learn that, if they don’t already know it. He is 83, and those he targeted are younger, so logic would suggest they will outlive him.