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Beware 'Coming Out' as an FA

Roy catchpole

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On holiday in Cyprus we became friendly with two strangers.
We became so friendly that I gave them my business card. Halfway through the holiday I had a discussion with our tour guide about her presentation. I later shared the narrative of the encounter with our new friends, who had also expressed dissatisfaction with that aspect of her presentation
The following day, my new friend called me to his room and said,
“Sascha is going rough telling everyone you poked her in the chest between her breasts.”

I thought he was joking, but he assured me that our guide was ‘getting her story in first’ to draw the sting from any official complaint I might make against her.

I realised that in handing over my card, with the website of F.A.C.T. on it, I had opened myself up to any malicious individual who might wish to hurt me.

For over an hour, I wandered around the hotel grounds in a panic. All those old feeling of terror, palpitations, confusion, desire to be dead, and weakness came flooding back.
I asked Linda to come for a walk with me, but didn’t feel able tell her what had happened. Her response would have been the same as mine. What could I say? This was happening again, and this time in Cyprus! I was hoping to contact Sascha in the company of my wife to confront her with what my new ‘friend’ had alleged. We soon found Sascha and I asked her to tell my wife whether she thought I had behaved inappropriately towards her on this holiday. I immediately realised from the look of confusion in her face that my ‘friend’ had been lying. Sascha readily confirmed that I had not behaved inappropriately towards her. I asked if she would repeat what she had just said, which she did.
Moral of the story.
If you decide to ‘come out’ as an FA, be aware that there are more than just your own personal False Accuser out there. There really are some individuals who are just simply, always, malicious liars, sometimes masquerading as friends.
 

Troy

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Hi Roy, a salutary tale. I am seriously looking at "coming out" as being being Falsely Accused of being a paedophile. I read Patrick's introduction and he was very keen, in retrospect, to "get it out there" and let the truth be known. This approach sits well with me ... but I'm very cautious. I can hear "no smoke without fire" winging around behind my back. Is there a thread that you know about where "coming out" has been discussed? I would really appreciate a pointer if you have one - and fine if not. Thanks, T.
 

Patrick

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Just to add (to my other post on same topic) I believe it was a great relief to my psyche to tell all my friends and relatives...
I never lost a feeling of necessary caution about raising it with some other people I didn't know well enough, but went public anyway.

the newspaper coverage only led to one person talking to me about it - and he turned out to be an entirely sympathetic villager I knew only as a neighbour, who made me cry with the big hug he gave me. It greatly upset my false accuser and the police - Good.

Like Roy says - there is always going to be a chunk of the ordinary public who are still behind the curve on learning about false accusations - and who are cheerleaders for the pitch fork mob - based on the psychology that makes people project their own inner troubled selves on to someone who can be "monstered", - a tool for making oneself feel better at the expense of "the other".
Hopefully this "chunk" has shrunk considerably due in no small measure to Liam Allan, Mark Pearson and all us others showing up what the price can be to innocent men by the thousands.

Understanding all this helps guide who you talk to and how you talk about it.
but if we do not (some of us) talk to the papers, go on TV, make our films, write our books...
then we will be back where we were - where everyone assumes guilt and no one is around to illustrate the truth and change societal views.

Yesterday the Mail talked of CICA compensation being wrongly paid out to "alleged victims" -
a turn around I would barely have dreamed possible as little as 18 months ago.
 

Matt

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@Troy I know that there is not quite the same level of stigma with allegations of domestic abuse as there are with sexual offences, but it's still widespread and like many of us I've also fallen victim to the "no smoke without fire brigade" on occasions. The way that I approached it, was to first gather together my thoughts on the weaknesses of the case - how was I able to prove my innocence to someone who knew nothing about my case?

In my case that was centred around a significant amount of fresh evidence, combined with her lack of credibility, but it can be as simple as pointing out glaring inconsistencies, police misconduct, lack of investigation etc. I chose my wording to be neutral. I wasn't preaching or saying that people had to believe me, I was asking them to read the evidence with an open mind and form their own conclusion.

I fully expected a torrent of people snapping "why would he plead guilty if he was innocent then?" - but to my great surprise it was the complete opposite. Whilst a couple of people have adopted negative or neutral positions, the overwhelming majority of old friends, acquaintances, colleagues and strangers have expressed their belief in my innocence.

I can't promise that this is the warm reception you will receive if you 'come out' as a victim of false allegations, but I do heartily believe that adopting a more measured tone, resisting the temptation to insult and slander the complainant can help you sound down to earth as opposed to feverently in-denial. If they're mentally ill, say so - but avoid words like 'loony'.

Now is perhaps as good a time as any as well, given that we've had a string of false allegation cases in the headlines and it's becoming less taboo to talk about it in polite conversation - it turns out a surprising number of my ordinary friends (outside of legal and support group circles) also view false allegations as a growing threat post-MeToo.

Whatever you decide, please do let us know how you get on and remember that we will support you as much as we can throughout :)
 

Troy

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@Troy I know that there is not quite the same level of stigma with allegations of domestic abuse as there are with sexual offences, but it's still widespread and like many of us I've also fallen victim to the "no smoke without fire brigade" on occasions. The way that I approached it, was to first gather together my thoughts on the weaknesses of the case - how was I able to prove my innocence to someone who knew nothing about my case?

In my case that was centred around a significant amount of fresh evidence, combined with her lack of credibility, but it can be as simple as pointing out glaring inconsistencies, police misconduct, lack of investigation etc. I chose my wording to be neutral. I wasn't preaching or saying that people had to believe me, I was asking them to read the evidence with an open mind and form their own conclusion.

I fully expected a torrent of people snapping "why would he plead guilty if he was innocent then?" - but to my great surprise it was the complete opposite. Whilst a couple of people have adopted negative or neutral positions, the overwhelming majority of old friends, acquaintances, colleagues and strangers have expressed their belief in my innocence.

I can't promise that this is the warm reception you will receive if you 'come out' as a victim of false allegations, but I do heartily believe that adopting a more measured tone, resisting the temptation to insult and slander the complainant can help you sound down to earth as opposed to feverently in-denial. If they're mentally ill, say so - but avoid words like 'loony'.

Now is perhaps as good a time as any as well, given that we've had a string of false allegation cases in the headlines and it's becoming less taboo to talk about it in polite conversation - it turns out a surprising number of my ordinary friends (outside of legal and support group circles) also view false allegations as a growing threat post-MeToo.

Whatever you decide, please do let us know how you get on and remember that we will support you as much as we can throughout :)
Thank you Mat ... very helpful to hear of your experience and thanks especially for your continued support. Live on my own at the moment and I don't think I have ever felt so lonely and isolated as I have of late - it is so helpful to feel that you and others are around. T.
 

Troy

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Hi ... I have been churning over about "coming out" and the helpful comments from all ... Well .... I started this morning! I told a dog walking friend what has been happening and that I have been awake since 3:30am worrying about it. She was the first person I've told (apart from my two daughters) ... she was stunned with disbelief. I was quite objective, factual and non-retaliatory towards my accuser and I think this helps (this was before I had read Mat's insightful and invaluable piece above). Mat's advice about keeping a moderated and straightforward approach is spot on my opinion - and so very, very helpful for me to hear that and have it confirmed from another. ... The temptation to "go off on one" is SO STRONG and I could feel my emotions rising at some points but, thankfully, I remained calm.
I'm going to see my solicitor this afternoon and I intend to discuss my "coming out" with him.
Feels good to be able to take some pro-active steps and with Mat's confirmation, my experience this morning and, hopefully, some positive advice from my solicitor I am minded to start getting this stuff out into the light of day and get some air around it - been closed in and festering for so long.
Many thanks to all .... Onward!
 

Patrick

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That's great Troy,
and remember - you don't have to tell everybody! -
and it is about being honest about how it hurts, the pain, and the ridiculousness of having to live under this cloud that you had nothing to do with making... people will get that -
whereas - as Matt says - if you come across as angry and vengeful , however justified that may feel, - a lot of people are repulsed by that and will take against you in order to feel separate from that.
 

Matt

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That's fantastic to hear, I'm having a nightmare on the train this morning but have a big smile on my face having read your update Troy, great stuff!

As you say the temptation is to let the anger spill out, but like Patrick says all that does is create a wall - we're well accustomed to a good venting here though, so please don't feel the need to hold anything on here :)

Keep us updated
 

Roy catchpole

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Yup. We went to church this Sunday since the nasty vicar is away on annual leave. It was a wonderful affirmation that every single one of my former congregation greeted us, and spoke - some at length - with us, and expressed their joy at "Having you both back among us". When the Troll returns, of course, we'll not go. But, as you say, people are generally not inclined to make a negative judgement. Much of this is due to the current social/media ethos, but a lot is about how people know you, as a person of integrity and honesty. One of the issues with being falsely accused is that it is so easy for you to forget who you are. But remember, you are the same person. The ONLY thing that's changed is that you - an innocent individual - have been falsely accused of a crime you did not commit. Like Matt says, vent here, not there. ;)
 
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