False Allegations, False Memories and False Remorse: Meredith Maran
Meredith Maran self-identifies as a journalist, author and feminist. Twenty years ago, she believed she recovered repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her father because—get this—she was having dreams about his hands. She never confronted her father, but instead cut him out of her life and wrote books about it. She now has a new book, My Lie: A True Story of False Memory, in which she recants all of her previous memories and allegations and says she feels ’embarrassed’ by her actions and for the pain she caused her father and the rest of her family.
Back in the 1980s, Maran states she was swept away by the Salem Witch Trial-esque hysteria of repressed sexual abuse memories spawned by the book, The Courage to Heal (Bass and Davis, 1988). Bass and Davis infamously claimed, “If you think it happened, it happened,” which is a prime example of emotional based reasoning. Feelings are not facts. If an individual doesn’t reality check his or her feelings, it almost always causes problems. Additionally, automatically accepting one’s feelings as facts is at the core of many personality disorders and general hysteria.
Today, Maran claims it was the confluence of the Bass and Davis book, her recently estranged same sex partner’s own dubious memories of childhood molestation and satanic rituals (that Maran believes are also fabrications) and her immersion in observing therapy sessions with incest survivors and interviewing molestors that led her to make such horrific claims against her own father. [*Read more in Salon’s interview: “My Lie:” Why I falsely accused my father. The comments are actually far better than the grapefruits the interviewer lobbed to Ms Maran.]
The interview is pretty much what you might expect; Ms Maran believed she was a hero when she falsely accused her father of molesting her in the most public fashion possible and she believes she’s a hero now for saying, ‘Whoopsy. My bad.‘ It’s unclear if Ms Maran would have reached this realization had she not separated from her former lover who played a large part in inspiring Ms Maran’s false beliefs.
Here’s what I found to be the most disturbing excerpt from Maran’s interview:
In the middle of the book, while you are still deeply in the mind-set of being molested, there’s a notion you agree with that if one innocent man goes to prison, but it stops a hundred molesters, it’s worth it. Do you still agree with that notion?
I’m fairly close to a man still in prison, and really believe he is innocent. I know how he’s suffered. I know he’s 80 years old and in ill health. He’s spent 20 years in prison, for no reason. If every elementary school child is now taught how to protect themselves from sexual abuse — and even more to the point, some father or preschool teacher who feels the urge to molest a child will be inhibited from doing so because they think there are guys still in jail for doing that — but innocent people are in prison, do I have to make that choice? It is a Sophie’s choice kind of thing. Would I allow an innocent man to sit in prison if it meant keeping children safe?
So would you make that choice?
I think so.
This attitude calls to mind the deliberate false abuse and false violence claims made against men who are torn apart from their children and lose their assets and homes based on nothing more than equally unsubstantiated claims. One wonders if Maran would be okay with that, too.
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