James Mirtle posted his thoughts on the sad and twisted tale of Mike Jefferdanton and his former agent, David Frost. In the comments, you see mudcrutch79 raise the spectre of “reasonable doubt” because it took the players who did talk so long to come forward (i.e. after CBC’s “The Fifth Estate” ran their expose about David Frost).
Lyle Richardson (better known to many of y’all as Spector from Spector’s Hockey) counters quite rightly that it can take years for the victims of sexual abuse to speak out against those that harmed them.
Lyle’s right, kids.
There are two groups of people that get huge stigmas attached to them right off the bat: Children who have been sexually abused by somebody “respectable”, and rape victims. It’s immediately assumed that they’re lying, that they’ve been somehow “coached”, that they’ve got some kind of axe to grind.
I should know, because I fall into both groups.
I was sexually abused as a child by one of my uncles–and my mother’s only solution was to simply throw him out the house before he decided to move on to my sister…and that happened only because he admitted it to her when he was drunk. She refused to go to police, and the subject was officially verboten in the house for the next 28 years–my sister didn’t even know about it until I told her last summer. We still don’t talk about it, because all my mother does is make excuses for her brother. It was ‘Nam, he’s not right in the head, it was years ago, just let it drop. I love my uncle, but that doesn’t change what he did to me and it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had to spend 28 years trying to get myself right again.
I was raped at 18 in Montana and again at 20 in Idaho, and neither time was anything done by the authorities; the first time because I was inebriated at the time the assault took place, and the second time because I was unfortunate enough to not get the shit beaten out of me when I was assaulted. Even now, when I bring it up there’s invariably somebody who either calls me a liar or accuses me of having some kind of axe to grind because of some base reason; my attacker(s) were probably lousy lays, I didn’t get a reach-around, the condom probably broke, they never kissed me, no charges were ever filed. Take your pick–I’ve heard it all before. In the late 80s and early 90s, if you got raped anywhere in the Intermountain West, you were screwed when the case went to trial, unless you sustained life-threatening injuries in the assault–and even then it was hit or miss because when you get on the stand you get assaulted again by defense attorneys who try to paint you as some kind of tawdry whore who was “asking for it”.
People who file false allegations of sexual assault don’t do people like me (or, for that matter, investigators and prosecutors) any favors either. There’s a reason why there was an intensive 2 1/2 year investigation before charges got filed against David Frost, people–it’s because the OPP wanted to be absolutely sure that there was something to corroborate one person’s allegations. The road of justice is littered with the corpses of cases brought by overzealous prosecutors who didn’t feel that they had to take the time to make sure that the allegations being brought had at least some truth to them, who asked leading questions and took statements made by “questionable” people on faith or told real offenders “name names and we’ll go easy on you.”
Kern County, McMartin Preschool, Scott County, Gary Dotson, the Duke Lacrosse team. For every case like that, there’s a Graham James or a Paul Bernardo or a Brent J. Brents who really did do what he was accused of and who really does deserve to be locked up.
James is right; this case is going to get very ugly. It’s going to be hard on the accusers and hard on the defendant and hardest of all on the investigators who have to stand up in court and defend their investigation. But regardless of the right or wrong of David Frost and what he’s done or not done, don’t immediately dismiss or belittle the accusers because it took them so long to get the courage to speak up–because that, friends and neighbours, is the greatest wrong of all.