The Truth Matters

posted in: Newsworthy, Observations | 12

I’ve been disturbed by recent events in the media, and in our online communities. Disturbed not because we are talking about issues of child abuse and/or sexual assault, but disturbed because too many people are so attached to that agenda, that they are undermining it with their actions.

Simply put, it is never acceptable that someone lies about these things. Never.

As survivors, and as the survivor community at large, we depend on one thing, that the truth is on our side. That no matter how difficult it is to talk about abuse, and share our stories, it’s the sharing of those stories, and their underlying truth, that allows for healing. We talk a lot about shining a light of truth in the dark corners of sexual abuse, of bringing a difficult truth to light by talking about what happened to us. And then, when confronted with someone who has, obviously, simply made up details about being assaulted, we choose to “support” the greater message.

No, no, no, no! You cannot support an agenda that is wholeheartedly in favor of telling the truth with lies. There is no room for false accusations in our community. They undermine every single thing that this community should stand for. It disgusts me to see anyone quoted in the media about how the truth in any specific case “doesn’t matter” because the story represents a “larger truth”. No, it doesn’t. It supports the very opposite of our agenda. It shows that we are willing to lie to punish those with whom we disagree, that we are willing to allow others to lie to increase the numbers on our “side”. That’s not a movement toward healing, that’s a movement toward terrorism. (The fact that there are those who would also commit violence against any individual, or group, associated with any claims, true or not, only adds to the terrorist analogy, and should never be supported either.)

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Look, you don’t have to like fraternities, or support one parent’s right in a custody argument over another, or think that men seeking out drunken “hookups” are a good thing. That doesn’t give anyone the right to make false accusations in order to punish those people. If we are going to have zero tolerance for anything, it should come to those who would undermine the entire survivor community by lying in order to get what they want. I don’t care how small the percentage of false accusations might be, one is too many, and none should be excused.

This is why, no matter how many times people send me petitions to sign, or causes to support, I rarely ever share them. I have no idea whether they are true or not. I’ve seen far too many claims of abusive fathers, or neighborhood predators that turned out to be nothing more than stories made up by those wishing to do them harm. I’m not interested in harming innocent people, or in ruining my own credibility, by passing on stories that cannot be verified in any way, no matter how much they might fit my agenda.

It’s time to put the truth first, and our agendas second. If the truth is on our side, and in the case of child abuse, I firmly believe that it is, then we have no business plying falsehoods. If your agenda can’t withstand the truth, maybe it’s time to rethink your agenda instead.

12 Responses

  1. Caroline Abbott

    i agree. The truth does matter. If someone lies about abuseof an assault, it hurts all of us who tell the truth. I also feel uncomfortable signing petitions I know nothing about. Thanks for this.

  2. Molly

    Firstly I just wanted to say thank you so much for your blog! It’s such a great, supportive resource, and I’ve been drawing on it for a long time now. I wanted to respond to this post though, which alludes to the UVA accusations, because I don’t actually think this was a false report. I believe that it happened because something similar happened to me. The more horrifically violent a trauma though, the more fragmented the memories will be–which is definitely frustrating for people like reporters or prosecutors. NAESV has a great fact sheet for journalists writing about traumatic events and to understand how trauma impacts memory: http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/nsvrc_publications_things-to-know_aftermath-rolling-stone-aritcle_3-critical-points_1.pdf

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