Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Anne Townsend

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Incest is a long-distance train

It doesn’t matter how you swing this. Breaking Silence sucks.

You destroy a family. The paedophile’s family. You ruin your health, you wreck your bank balance, your peace of mind is a distant memory. People you’ve never heard of, be it a cousin’s ex-wife, or distant relatives you’ve only seen on Facebook, associate you with a predator.

It’s always your fault. It’s your fault for not speaking. It’s your fault for speaking too late. It’s your fault for being alive. It’s your fault for being a child. It’s your fault for not going through life complicit, silent, avoidant.

Naomi Wolf has told us, that the women she knows who’ve spoken out about campus harrassment, are never better off for having spoken. She advises them, to this day, to get ‘a good lawyer’. She wishes it wasn’t so. But it is.

Dylan Farrow has spoken out, insistently, about Child Sexual Abuse. Is she better off for having spoken? The intensity of keeping open the wound of incest is labour-intensive. It’s all-consuming. Someone has to do this.

Dylan Farrow tried to move on. She couldn’t. She hasn’t. What are her options? To rest. To take breaks. To accept every ounce of empathy, love and support that is rushing her way. To raise a glass to Colin Firth for taking a stand. To raise a glass to every actor who has donated his/her earnings from Woody Allen movies, to charity. To thank every actor who has agreed never to work with her abuser, ever again.

Once you’ve been on the Incest Train for as long as I have, the train acquires some cool & mysterious passengers. You never know who’ll climb onto the seat next to you. Who’ll blow the whistle and try and get you arrested. Who’ll listen with care and growing fury. Who’ll offer to drive up the coast and give someone ‘a bloody good piece of my mind.’

All you can do is to trust your Invisible Army. They support you. They cheer you on. They wave at you from the side lines even though they can’t always understand what you’re up to. Perplexed but trusting, they let you be.

You order the train meal. You open a book. You’re on the train for life. It’s a long-distance journey. The views are spectacular. The end is in sight. And you plan the words for your tombstone. Floodgates? Or Fuck You. xxx

Gagged VisualGagged VisualGagged Visual


Please register or log in to comment