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Anne Townsend

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Breaking open centuries of complicity

IMG_0006[1]It’s never too late. Dylan Farrow proved that, when in 2014, and then again, in 2017, she illustrated that, even after decades of avoidance, and putting children’s lives in danger by not speaking out, and mistakenly seeing silence as the path of sanity, you can swirl around a stalemate. Her two rather beautifully written essays have changed the minds, and lives, of many.

In this country, we are also ‘in motion.’ Until recently, any sexual assault claims (except for rape) expired after twenty years. Thereafter, an alleged perpetrator could no longer be charged. But, on 14 June this year, this changed. Eight applicants, known as the Frankel-eight, managed to overturn this law as unconstitutional. And of course, the Bob Hewitt trial changed our lives too.

Bob Hewitt’s victims lost, in some cases, relationships with their own children, they had to move house or change jobs. For all three women who went public (and there is a fourth, who chose not to go to court), their lives were made hell by their choice to ”taint” Bob Hewitt’s name. Yeah. That’s why at least one of those women got death threats. She was ”tainting” Bobby’s name,

But not only is Bobby in jail. That’s a minor achievement. What has happened is that those of us who followed the trial, who watched Delaille enabling her spouse in court, have forever changed our neural pathways. We saw an arrogant, blundering rapist led off to prison, and we read about the sheer endurance trial of those who dared to speak out.

To the three of you who endured hell, including years of further contact with the predator, you changed the course of history. You broke open decades and centuries of complicity. You rock. XXX XXX

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