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"New York Magazine" Cover Powerfully Captures Cosby's Rape Accusers

The cover features 35 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault as well as one empty chair. People responded by using #TheEmptyChair to tell their stories.

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On Sunday night, New York Magazine published its latest issue with a cover story on 35 of the 46 women who had accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them over the past several decades.

The New York Magazine story written by Noreen Malone includes interviews from 35 of Bill Cosby's accusers. The women came forward over many years, but the number of alleged victims avalanched during the past year.

A deposition released to the public this past week for a 2005 case reveals that the comedian admitted to acquiring quaaludes in order to have sex with women.

The profile of the 35 alleged victims shows women who are of all different ages and had all sorts of careers — waitresses, journalists, Playboy Bunnies — but who have striking similarities in their stories to how Cosby preyed on them.

New York Magazine's cover included a stark black-and-white image of 35 women, who have accused Cosby of sexual assault and were willing to be photographed, in chairs alongside one seat that remained empty.

Powerful. We likely all have someone in our lives who could sit in #TheEmptyChair. Sad, but true.

The response on social media to the cover image and story was filled with praise for the magazine's work.

So glad @NYMag has put its powers to this collection of stories of Cosby's victims. Bravo to all. #TheEmptyChair http://t.co/sdU4bLQQP4

The lone empty chair was said to represent the women who remain silent about their experiences of sexual assault.

"Many of the women say they know of others still out there who’ve chosen to remain silent." #TheEmptyChair http://t.co/y2UG3wW20g @NYMag

The courage and bravery of these women who have shared their stories in such a public way is to be commended. At RAINN, we know that hearing from survivors of sexual assault can make a big difference in the lives of others who have been impacted by this crime. We hope that seeing these women's stories will encourage many others to come forward and get help through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org).

In response to the powerful cover image, the hashtag #TheEmptyChair almost immediately started to spread online.

#TheEmptyChair signals the women who couldn't come forward mostly b/c we, as a culture, wouldn't believe them. https://t.co/fiG8qii2iO

The art direction NY Mag used for #TheEmptyChair is so effective because you’re forced to acknowledge these women as individual people.

People used the hashtag to talk about their own stories of being the person in the empty chair and to encourage people who have been silenced to come forward.

Be there for the folks in #TheEmptyChair. Let them know they have your support, and they're not alone. ❤️ https://t.co/SULPpjhLfU

It also continued the discussion of Cosby's betrayal and how rape culture has silenced women for so long.

More than 80,000 American children are sexually abused each year. Many of them are afraid to tell anyone. #TheEmptyChair

The New York Daily News also released an issue for its Monday cover story on Cosby that called him "America's rapist" and left many people on social media in shock.

Are yall serious! RT @NYDailyNews: AMERICA'S RAPIST http://t.co/mY1Q8RClki BOBBI KRISTINA DEAD http://t.co/MQBGqazFmb

Wow. Strong covers from NY Mag and NY Daily News on Cosby.

Woof. The @NYDailyNews goes hard. But Cosby has it coming. https://t.co/4CFIlgUD3d

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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