2.07.2012

Fair Witness

Here is what I know:

It is an alleged incident. The allegations shocked me. I hope there is no truth to them. I wasn't there, so I can't comment. But I can vouch for her character.

I saw her mug shot. I read the charges. I saw the story spread from the news sites to the email lists and onto the blogs, trailing rage along with it. I cried. They don't know her. They don't know that this is not like her.

And I also understand the rage. Our children are more vulnerable, less able to defend themselves against abusive situations. Alleged abusive situations. If I didn't know her, I might react the same way. I might assume the charges are true rather than remembering they are allegations, or waiting for a verdict.

I also know this:

She was with Leo, at our house, several times per week, supporting him 1:1 through three of his toughest years, years when he struggled to wear his own skin. She was there through self-injury and aggression and and while other people drifted away from him, couldn't handle him. She was practically part of our family.

She was there just a few months ago, stepping up at the last minute to mind the kids after my three failed days of trying to recruit a sitter so we could find out in person if Seymour had in fact won an Emmy. She cancelled her own night out to make it happen.

I know she is highly principled. I know she is extremely hard working. I can vouch for her character.

And I know this, too:

Reporters ask leading questions. I did my best to deflect them. How did they get my number, anyhow? I cannot comment on the incident as I was not there. The alleged incident. Yes, I was surprised to hear about the allegations. No, Leo would not have a comment because allegations are an abstract idea, and he doesn't talk about abstract ideas. No, I haven't told my other children.

No, I don't believe the reporter will quote me accurately. I don't. I worry that I have caused harm just by talking about what I do know.

I want to defend her to the reporter, but I remain in Fair Witness mode and do not offer an opinion about matters I have not personally observed. But I can vouch for her character. She is principled. She is hardworking.

I can vouch for her character.

12 comments:

  1. Oh dear, Shannon... I have no idea what this is about, but clearly it is something bad hitting a little too close to home. My thoughts are with you and your family, friends. I hope and pray that this resolves in a way that won't cause you heartache and grief. Much love.

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  2. Echoing Kristen's words. Sending you good thoughts.

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  3. It's hard, given the allegations, and having a child with special needs, to assume "innocence" until proven guilty. It's probably much harder for you, given your personal knowledge of her.

    Innocent or guilty, the damage to reputation is immense.

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  4. It's such a tough situation and I can tell this is really hard on you and others who know her. I guess we can hope for the truth and the safety of our kids.

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  5. I'm so shocked. I saw that article late last night and almost called you...

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  6. Haven't seen the article, but my sympathies for everyone. My father, as a psychiatrist, had to deal with a terrible accusation during his career, and it was very difficult to move past, but he got through.

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  7. I have no idea what's going on, but I hope everything winds up OK.

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  8. I didn't put the two together yesterday, as I didn't look at the news stories, just the headlines.

    Oh this must be so awful. I'm thinking of you.

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  9. Thank you for writing this. xoxo

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  10. I had a similar cognitive dissonance when a colleague of mine was accused of attempted murder, something I knew he was incapable of doing. The public tarred him (same population as where you live, and I think perhaps just as quick to judge and react and become strident), but in the end, all charges were dropped. I hope that your interpretation and experience are the guiding light for how this turns out, too. I'm so sorry.

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  11. This is such a tough situation. We parents want our kids to be safe with the people we entrust with their care. And we tend you scream in outrage at perceived injustices and allegations. We must remember that the people we trust with our children are just that - people. Not only are they human but they have feelings. And they are innocent until proven guilty.

    I guess the question is, how do we help them so they stay the wonderful Caregivers and Service Providers we know they are. I preach and pontificate to Moms about taking care of themselves so they can take care of their loved ones. We need to support and encourage our Special Caregivers and Service Providers to do the same. For everyone's sake.

    Thank you Shannon for staying as impartial as possible and for reminding us that we are all human.

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  12. Bless you for being fair-minded. Not everyone who is charged with a crime is guilty and there are always at least two sides to every story and mitigating circumstances to be considered.

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Respectful disagreement encouraged.

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