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Victoria Valentino

Dirty Diamonds: The Repurposed Life of a Playboy Icon and Cosby Survivor

Dirty Diamonds: The Repurposed Life of a Playboy Icon and Cosby Survivor

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In 1969, shortly after the drowning death of her six-year-old son, Victoria Valentino was raped by Bill Cosby. That's the story everyone wants to hear, but it's not her whole story. When it comes to Cosby, one of the questions she has been asked so often by members of the media is, "Why did you wait so long to speak up?" A logical question. After all when your house is robbed or your purse is stolen, you go to the police. Why wouldn't you do the same thing if your body is violated? The answer does not come as naturally as the question. For Victoria, silence was par for the course. Not something she would have questioned. She had been emotionally raped as a child - left feeling bereft and humiliated. She searched for love in the wrong places, leaving herself open and vulnerable to more physical and emotional abuse. All that shame, blame, guilt, and fear came rolled up in one little package. That package was Victoria Valentino. Dirty Diamonds is not just about Victoria's journey - it's a journey countless women have found themselves on. Not one they necessarily chose. But for her, it's been a journey from objectification and victimization to self-actualization: finding her voice at last. Coming of age in the 1960s, Victoria was a Playboy Centerfold, "Miss September 1963"-objectification for all the world to see. Given who she is now, maybe she wouldn't have taken her clothes off for a magazine, but it happened, and now she embraces it as part of who she is. Her story is a woman's story. A survivor's story. This is not a story about Bill Cosby. He is but a blip on the radar screen of Victoria's life. This is a story of love, the hope of love, and the discovery that maybe we are all we ever really needed.

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