I’m surprised there is only one "show-me state" in America.

Most Americans are people who need to see to believe. In the age of selfies, DVR, and YouTube, nothing impacts like pictures. The elevator surveillance video of Ray Rice backhanding his now wife Janay heightened the level of understanding about domestic violence. And the cell phone video of Staten Island’s Eric Garner being choked to death revealed that excessive police force is real.

But when there is no video evidence, when things happen behind closed doors, well, that’s a tougher sell. And that is exactly where the women accusing Bill Cosby of rape find themselves. More than 20 have now come forward to divulge stomach-churning details about episodes of sexual assault perpetrated by one of America’s beloved pop culture icons.

“He’s a fake,” says Kristina Ruehli, one of five women in a CNN group interview. Ruehli spit out, “He’s a pretender, and behind that, he’s a sociopath.”

Still, even as we know that creepy perverts can be anybody, it’s hard to think of the nation’s dad that way. Cosby built his career and reputation on clean comedy. This is a guy the Cosby kid actors still respectfully refer to as Mr. Cosby. How could he be a rapist? And more importantly how could it be a secret for so long?

The women who have stepped forward have been vilified by some, suspected of trying to rip off a celebrity. Almost all the cases are decades old, and it doesn’t help that this is the first time many of them have spoken publicly. Cosby defender Whoopi Goldberg says the delay has made it tougher to believe their claims, “If you wait 30 years, it’s going to be harder.”

Ironically, not being believed is the number one reason experts say women don’t tell. In sexual assault cases everything apparently rests on the victims’ ability to prove the assault happened. Rolling Stone's now discredited story about alleged rape victim, Jackie, has cast doubt on other rape accusations at the University of Virginia.

Some of Bill Cosby’s accusers did come forward years ago, agreeing to testify in a lawsuit brought against Cosby. But that lawsuit was settled out of court. The prosecutor in that case said recently he believed — then — that Cosby was guilty, but he couldn’t prove it.

Short of a confession from Cosby himself or smoking gun evidence from the accusers, there is no way to know for sure what happened. The LAPD is now investigating one of the more recent claims, and Tamara Green has filed a defamation suit in Massachusetts saying Cosby accused her of lying about her 2005 assault allegations.

I’m inclined to believe her and the others, too, because I know rape survivors who have kept silent about their trauma. I may not have seen it with my own eyes, but the celebrity and rosy image of a man I once thought so highly of no longer blind me.

Callie Crossley is the host of Under the Radar with Callie Crossley, which airs on WGBH 89.7FM from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sundays.