Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

How do you know?

Filed in Current Affairs, Speak out, Uncertainty :: February 16, 2014


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You probably know the story: Dylan Farrow’s open letter to Woody AllenWoody Allen’s op-ed response.

When I read Dylan Farrow’s letter, I was sure that she was telling the truth. I’ve heard enough victims of child sexual abuse write about the pain of their experience and the aftermath on IRL that I am familiar with survivors’ shame, reticence, and knowledge that a shitstorm of judgment is likely coming their way from both people in their inner circles and people they’ve never met.

I am strongly biased in favor of anyone brave enough to come forward with her or his story.

And then a friend told me that her husband has been accused of abuse by a young child. I know enough about the logistics of their situation (who is alone with the child and when, how visits are conducted, that sort of thing), that I don’t believe that he could have abused the child.

Maybe someone actually abused her; maybe someone abused her by coaching her into a story that’s not true. I don’t know. I know that she was never alone with him, especially in the ways that she suggests in her story.

In this situation, I am not relying on what I believe about the man’s character or the child’s likely truthtelling. I know that people are not always what they seem.

Now the investigation continues, and I hope that the truth will come out and the child will move on in safety.

But my automatic bias in favor of the accuser is shaken. I can see at least the possibility of another side. That’s probably a good thing.