They feared they would not be believed.
For the hundreds of Irish children who were abused by priests, they feared they would not be believed. They feared the power that the abusers held over them because the abusers were people of influence.
Influential, with a clutch of worshippers at their backs, to refute the allegations and tear apart the victim. Clergymen. Doctors. Television actors. Film stars.
Dylan Farrow, daughter of actress Mia Farrow, made accusations against her stepfather many years ago, when she was a child. She came forward and her mother believed her, and then they met the juggernaut that protects the powerful. It was not the famed film director/writer who was demented, no, it was the girl. Making up horrific stories. Likely a figment of Mia Farrow's imagination. Using the daughter to get back at the husband over some marital spat.
The man is a great writer (clergyman). A brilliant comic (priest). Not capable of the actions of which he stood accused.
In a letter to the New York Times today, Ms. Farrow states quite simply what it was like, to not be believed and then to have the protective force behind Woody Allen turned on her.
The abused children of Ireland had the power of the Catholic Church turned on them. For Ms. Farrow, it was the power of the Hollywood elites who held her stepfather in such high regard that he was proclaimed blameless. After suffering abuse, she was made to suffer further. Woody Allen continued on with his life, to win great acclaim from his colleagues who deflected criticism so that there would be no retribution for his sins. The abusing priests continued on with their lives as well, untouched, adored by the parishioners for their apparent godliness.
The Catholic Church rallied around its pedophiles and shielded them from prosecution. Hollywood rallied around its pedophile and shielded him as well, and in both cases, the children who were harmed were left to fend for themselves, to be seen as liars or psychopaths, fantasists looking to bring down someone of influence, someone important, someone beloved by the masses.
Now the abused has come forward, to speak truth to power at a time when her abuser is being lauded for his body of work. Can you blame her? But will the protectors of the powerful take another look at what they've said and done, see that they are complicit in a crime by their silence? Or will they shrug like they did when Woody Allen married his adopted daughter, and go back to heaping praise on a talented man?