I was reading this article about child sexual abuse and belief, in which Andrea Grimes starts by telling us a little about herself –
I am an only child and I have awesome, twangy Texas-raised parents who Texas-raised me. My best friends are brilliant academics who sort of hate academia. I am overly friendly in awkward situations. I am funny and I love Star Trek. I throw big parties. I do yoga at home so I can skip savasana. I talk too much.
And when I was a kid, a relative sexually abused me.
I was reading this article, I say, and when I read that sentence I suddenly remembered that I can say the same thing, and that it was odd that I hadn’t thought of that while thinking about memory and Dylan Farrow.
It is odd. Why didn’t I think of it? Then again, of course, being in the habit of second-guessing my memory, now I’m not sure I didn’t. But at the time I first read that sentence – an hour or so ago – I did think I hadn’t, and I did feel surprise.
I was only a little older than Dylan Farrow was in August 1993, that’s the thing. I’m not sure how much older; I was at least 8 and a few months (because of where I was at the time) but possibly 9.
It was very minor, in comparison. I was much more grossed out and freaked out by a stranger assault a year or two or three later. But it wasn’t nothing. (I don’t want to be coy. It was a cousin 20 years my senior, one I liked a lot because he was funny and irreverent. He came into my bedroom one evening after I’d gone to bed, and put my hand on his fly. Oh hai: that’s a penis there. That’s all.)
Frankly I find Dylan Farrow’s story very plausible. I just have reservations about the insistence on vows of belief, because of the epistemology of it. Do I think it happened? Hell yes. Do I “believe” it? That’s the wrong question.