Every once in a while, I am reminded why I campaign against false allegations. Those reminders typically come out of the blue. Watching Harvey Proctor dissolve in front of the media yesterday hurt. I didn’t just feel his pain, I know it. It sucker punches you.
Yesterday, having downloaded Harvey Proctor’s book, I thought OK not too much reading, I can do this in 24 hours. I can’t, I have to keep moving away from it. It describes so many things that I identified with, it was as if he, I and so many others I know, were walking the same path with varying degrees of the same outcome.
I felt incredibly sad. I had been sure that I probably would not have liked this man in real life. His politics being the root cause of my prejudice. I was wrong. His descriptions of the devastation caused by the police to the young family he was homing, his descriptions of what happened to his beloved dogs. (Yes they were affected too) his quite ordinary life that was blown to pieces in a nano second of incredible fantastical allegations that had no substance, served to show me that ultimately all that we are is so very fragile and not so different after all.
What was evident from the outset was one overriding theme. Had Harvey Proctor not pleaded guilty to gross indecency in 1987, (on advice from his then lawyers) it is unlikely that much of what has happened to him in the manner it has happened would have materialised in the way it did. Even more etraordinary is that Harvey Proctor in law today, did not commit a crime at all in 1987. He is gay, the age of consent for gay men was 21 in 1987, it was frowned upon, it was the era of gay bashing and slurs relating to the emergence of HIV & AIDS. So homophobic were we at that time, that religious leaders openly stated that HIV was the curse of being homosexual. It was God punishing them for acts that were unchristian, abhorrent.
Not much has changed seemingly. Whilst everyone publicly states they are not homophobic, so it has crept in on social media when they talk about Harvey Proctor. Constant references to the prior conviction, now expunged as well as spent, being used to justify calling him a paedophile. Because that’s a scientific fact isn’t it?
I am posting the evidence. One retweet of homophobia and one tweet with a homophobic hash tag. There is no doubt. The evidence supports my view.
Credible and True, the title that comes from the Metropolitan Police’s quote regarding “Nick” the alleged “victim” of Harvey Proctor, coincidently friend and seemingly confidante of Esther Baker, the author of homophobic tweets.
What is Credible and what is True is this, false allegations devastate lives. They not only cause immense harm to families and their children, they undermine the credibility of genuine victims of abuse.
Because it takes far more man power to prove a negative, let alone an historic one, it also leaves today’s vulnerable children with less protection than they otherwise might have had. False allegations drain the criminal justice system. By the time everyone realises that there is no evidence to substantiate the claims made by these people, it’s too late, the damage has been done, the money spent and today’s children left with even less protection than they had before.
If you want to know what goes on behind closed doors after these allegations are made, buy Harvey Proctor’s book, it takes you down the path of the ordinary life of somebody, who is actually extraordinary given his “adoption” of Adam. Who pays the ultimate price for other people’s prejudices In an era when you are guilty regardless of outcome, a time in which the allegation alone leaves, as Harvey Proctor says, “an indelible stain on your life.”