I am so angry at the media right now.
It’s actually a little hard to articulate my rage, or for that matter, my fear for the future, but I’m going to try.
Actually, let me rephrase.
I’m angry at EVERYONE right now.
Here’s why: Because the unwillingness of Americans to believe Dylan Farrow speaks to a lack of belief whenever any young girl or young woman discloses her abuse. It hurts children who are being sexually destroyed by people with power over them. It speaks very loudly to me, that it is unsafe to disclose abuse at ANY age. And I know that this story is hurting thousands of people. I know it is raising issues for people I’ve never met, and it is raising issues for people I care about deeply.
I know that it is making me angry, and making me want to shake people until they listen. If you read Dylan Farrow’s letter (and I did) you would understand the visceral story she is telling. This isn’t something she invented. I know this because I have spoken to many people, and I know that those of us with PTSD and the memories of abuse have things we cannot stomach. For Dylan Farrow, it is the image of the toy train set which makes me shudder. Focusing on the minutiae takes away the pain for some.
The message that the media, twitter, facebook, and the blogosphere is giving to survivors of abuse is that we will not be believed. The message is clear: Keep your story to yourself and never tell anyone what happened to you. We won’t listen. We won’t care.
Even when the court stripped your abuser of any visitation rights to ANY of his children. Even when your story has other people backing it up. Even when you have suffered psychologically.
People don’t want to believe. They don’t want to hear it. They don’t think it’s true.
This disbelief? It can kill people. The silence, the outright accusation of lies, these kill. When survivors are so demoralized that they will not be protected, they turn inside themselves. The disbelief will hurt just as much as the abuse. If not more.
I know what it feels like to have someone tell me it didn’t happen, that it wasn’t true. I know what that feels like, and I know what the self doubt does to you. I cannot imagine how it would feel if the whole world told me I was lying. If you’re not sure you can say “Hell, I’m not sure if he’s guilty” but you have to end that phrase with “but abuse is wrong.” Whether or not you believe that a specific incident of abuse is fully what happened, you must condemn abuse. Because by forgetting to condemn abuse, you’re condoning it. You’re saying it is ok to abuse people. You’re telling the abusers that they can get away with it – again, and again, and again. And I will call you out on your complicity. I will tell you that you’ve hurt people. I will not be silent to make you feel comfortable. Condemn the abuse. Just do it. It takes 3 words.
Abuse. Is. Wrong.
So stop it. Stop making people feel like they’ll never be able to tell the truth. Stop making survivors who have already come out as such feel like they need to protect themselves, and stop making us fear for the future survivors. Just stop.
Just because someone is male, doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been abused.
Just because the parent says he didn’t do it, doesn’t mean that’s true. Just because they’re a family friend doesn’t make them innocent.
Believe survivors, because our lives depend on it, and the lives of those who are currently being abused depend on it too.