In much the same way that not all cor­rup­tion in­volves brown pa­per bags, not all rapists come with a mask and a knife

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE -

with were in a pow­er­less po­si­tion and felt they couldn’t say no. Un­for­tu­nately, when you look at the ca­reers he has ru­ined, they were right to be fear­ful.

This was a man who had the power to en­sure that any ac­tress who dis­pleased him was des­tined for the ranks of ‘where-are-they-now?’ and he made sure peo­ple knew it.

Re­move the money, the glam­our, the el­e­ment of celebrity and we’re left with a sce­nario which is painfully fa­mil­iar to many Ir­ish peo­ple — an in­flu­en­tial and re­spected pil­lar of the com­mu­nity ex­ploit­ing and de­fil­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple while other, stronger types stand back and do noth­ing.

In such cir­cum­stances, si­lence is com­plic­ity and for all the end­less show­boat­ing and virtue sig­nalling from Hol­ly­wood roy­alty on is­sues they know noth­ing about, they were per­fectly happy to stay quiet on an is­sue that was hap­pen­ing right at their doorstep.

In fact, some of the quotes from ac­tors who have mirac­u­lously found their voice af­ter decades of si­lence re­minds me of a friend of mine who was abused by a priest when he was in school.

While the abuse he suf­fered was on what we eu­phemisti­cally term “the lower end of the scale”, what re­ally haunted him was that teach­ers warned him about the par­tic­u­lar priest, even go­ing so far as to warn him about be­ing in a room on his own with him — but they didn’t ac­tu­ally do any­thing to stop it. To this day, he hates those teach­ers more than he hates the priest.

So there was some­thing painfully fa­mil­iar about Ben Af­fleck, who ac­cord­ing to Mc­Gowan, said: “Goddamnit! I told him to stop do­ing that,” in re­la­tion to We­in­stein’s abuse, as if the pro­ducer was guilty of noth­ing more than bad so­cial be­hav­iour, rather than be­ing a se­rial preda­tor.

The one grim plea­sure in all of this is watch­ing some of the smuggest peo­ple in Hol­ly­wood squirm like worms on a grid­dle.

In our largely sec­u­lar, post-re­li­gious world, we’ve seen plenty of ac­tors take up the man­tle of mod­ern-day cler­ics, con­stantly lec­tur­ing the lit­tle peo­ple about our moral fail­ings, yet Hol­ly­wood is prob­a­bly the most de­gen­er­ate and mo­rally bank­rupt in­dus­try there is.

The great au­thor An­drew Vachss — and if you haven’t read his work, I urge you to check him out — has a phrase for vic­tims of abuse, whom he calls “chil­dren of the se­cret”. The se­cret in ques­tion is the way so­ci­ety is happy to draw a dis­creet veil over abuse and, when it does fi­nally con­front the abuse, tries to make ex­cuses for the abuser rather than lis­ten­ing to the vic­tim.

The peo­ple who al­lege that We­in­stein forced him­self on them may be above the age of con­sent, but just be­cause they weren’t chil­dren doesn’t make them any less a vic­tim.

Chil­dren of the se­cret, as we now know, come in all ages.

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