According to RAINN two thirds of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, 73 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a non-stranger, 38 percent of rapists are a friend of acquaintance, 28 percent are intimate (a partner) and 7 percent are a relative. Not to compare rapes, ever, but it is one thing to know your attacker, but what if everybody knows your attacker?
We are currently witnessing this situation as Operation Yewtree continues to unfold. The men accused are mostly past it, cheesy DJs and presenters. Relics of a TV age we might feel nostalgia for but don't particularly want to return to. Oh they have their supporters but they have plenty of detractors yelling "I knew it!" People are rightly angry.
If only these shamed, grey haired men shuffling defiantly into court had written and directed a wry and artistic film. Or had a string of hit songs (I suppose Rolf had a crack at that). I worry it is only our snobbishness, particularly on the arty left, that has allowed us to slowly bring ourselves to offer support to the people now reporting crimes committed against them by a particular set of celebrities.
I worry it is only our snobbishness, particularly on the arty left, that has allowed us to slowly bring ourselves to offer support
"What's your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brotherâs electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me."
Considering Woody Allen's known history with women the chorus of "I knew its" and offers of support and solidarity have been rather muted. I guess we don't think this was assault assault. I understand this is far to huge an accusation to leap to any conclusion. The only people who know for sure what happened are Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen. Sadly this will probably always be the case. But it is far too huge a crime to simply crack out the Woody Allen box set and say the crime and the art aren't compatible.
Now, allow me to look at one of the two possibilities here. She is lying. This is a big lie. This is a huge lie out of which nobody can truly win. Which is why false allegations of this type are so very rare. Not the accused who will be in some way always tarnished and not the accuser who is either mentally unwell or in desperate need of a book deal. A book deal that can only be a misery memoir, because we don't like victims and survivors to have too many sides to them and to recover from such an episode makes it ring untrue. She is doomed to forever pull sad faces and be a One Trick Eeyore, if you will, who can temporarily pay the bills. Perhaps, perhaps in this justice is served.
The other possibility is, of course, that she is telling the truth. In which case this woman needs our support. In which case we need to stop our weird allowances for genius. Either way we must never think of a crime in isolation - because we are not an appointed judge or jury on this case - therefore we must think of all those who are abused by people put in positions of trust. We must consider triggers. We must consider how, if we can't create a safe environment in which this never occurs, we can create an environment in which it is safe to report these crimes, whoever the alleged offender is.
We are not safe unless we believe her until proven wrong.