If I could have a moment of your time with no distractions and I want you to try as hard as you can to clear your mind of everything that pops up including any personal triggers when I say the following word. I would even ask that you ask God to help bring clarity to what I, as a frail human, am about to say.
The word is “molestation”.
It’s an ugly word that evokes a host of unwanted imagery and for the majority it elicits a deep primal disgust and rage. Yet, even with that there is still a monster that is much worse out there. It’s one that ingloriously permeates our justice system our homes and our own hearts.
This monster doesn’t have a specific name. It is somewhere between doubt and fear. The type of doubt that is the stagnation of suspended disbelief. The doubt of an in-love mother who can’t imagine that her new husband would violate her child. Or the questioning of a child’s ethereal memories. Then fear. Fear of doing harm to “good’ names. Fear of upheaval of status, positions and security. Believing titles are to be more protected than children.
Case in point, Dylan Farrow, who came forth both in childhood and again in adulthood to say that she was molested by her adoptive father, Woody Allen. It didn’t take long for the battle cry “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY” to resonate around Mr. Allen. But as Aaron Brady wisely points out, “it’s important to extend the presumption of innocence to Dylan Farrow, and presume that she is not guilty of the crime of lying about what Woody Allen did to her.”
In this long battle that Ms. Farrow endures her motives are questioned as if there’s a common desire by 7 year-olds to go about and sully the “good” name of people for whim. As if it was easy for her to reopen again and again wounds that never really heal. For what? Did you just think “attention”? Is that your go to response? Then you are a person whose personal bias has become dark and dismal.
But it gets worse. Here comes the justice system. The perfect protector against the insidious, lying little children. If only there is penetration and seminal residue we will have something to test. We can test that! We just need to be sure the violation was violent enough for rips, pain, tears, fluids. Just anything! We need conclusive proof! A slip of the hand under the dress might not be enough. Maybe that movie was cued up by accident. Maybe the babysitter was just standing in the doorway watching to make sure he didn’t fall getting out of the shower.
Or maybe we have it all wrong.
Ask any woman who has tried to file a rape charge with a history of mental illness. How investigators question her recollection and explain she is irrational.
Ask anyone that was hurt by non-creepy looking people. By those that specifically sought out positions of prestige and respect in the community so their bounty of access was plentiful.
By now you might be asking if I am looking for a witch hunt. This is where you really need to clear your mind and think of a better way. A way of transparency. Where a victim can speak, be heard, be trusted with their memories, be protected from harm. Where reputation doesn’t trump truth, ever. Where the system at minimum moves mountains to protect the victim physically and financially. Where there is no shame in saying you were hurt and the battle goes from vehemently clearing the accused’s name to seeking above all things shelter from the evil that transpired.
But first you have to be willing to change how you see justice. It is much more than locking people away. It is about making right the wrongs, giving voices to the victims and being advocates and supporters of truth.
Nothing will change until we all are willing to be mother against brother, daughter against father, friend against friend, because these battles very rarely happen in darkened alleys.
There are many more dark alleys in the corridors of our childhood homes. There should be enough love and support from the rest of this world to shine light in them.
What should we do when we realize most monsters have human hands?
Woody Allen’s Good Name link H/T https://twitter.com/TPCarney
Myths and Misconceptions About Sex Offenders link H/T https://twitter.com/Karnythia
I Am A False Rape Allegation Statistic link H/T https://twitter.com/ChiefElk