Книжка занимательна, читается одним духом. Сходство с ныне обсуждаемым в блогах кейсом (причём сходство столь разительное, что меня не покидает ощущение, что жена Адагамова и её адвокаты - если только они у неё есть - действуют по этой книжке) узрел в одном куске её.
<...>Masters was fifty, a marketing manager at MicroSym. A stable guy, solid citizen, married twenty-five years, two kids-the older girl in college, the younger girl a junior in high school. The younger girl starts to have trouble with school, her grades go down, so the parents send her to a child psychologist. The child psychologist listens to the daughter and then says, You know, this is the typical story of an abused child. Do you have anything like that in your past?
Gee, the girl says, I don't think so.
Think back, the psychologist says.
At first the girl resists, but the psychologist keeps at her: Think back. Try to remember. And after a while, the girl starts to recall some vague memories. Nothing specific, but now she thinks it's possible. Maybe Daddy did do something wrong, way back when.
The psychologist tells the wife what is suspected. After twenty-five years together, the wife and Masters have some anger between them. The wife goes to Masters and says, Admit what you did.
Masters is thunderstruck. He can't believe it. He denies everything. The wife says, You're lying, I don't want you around here. She makes him move out of the house.
The older daughter flies home from college. She says, What is this madness? You know Daddy didn't do anything. Come to your senses. But the wife is angry. The daughter is angry. And the process, once set in motion, can't be stopped.
The psychologist is required by state law to report any suspected abuse. She reports Masters to the state. The state is required by law to conduct an investigation. Now a social worker is talking to the daughter, the wife, and Masters. Then to the family doctor. The school nurse. Pretty soon, everybody knows.
Word of the accusation gets to MicroSym. The company suspends him from his job, pending the outcome. They say they don't want negative publicity.
Masters is seeing his life dissolve. His younger daughter won't talk to him. His wife won't talk to him. He's living alone in an apartment. He has money problems. Business associates avoid him. Everywhere he turns, he sees accusing faces. He is advised to get a lawyer. And he is so shattered, so uncertain, he starts going to a shrink himself.
His lawyer makes inquiries; disturbing details emerge. It turns out that the particular psychologist who made the accusation uncovers abuse in a high percentage of her cases. She has reported so many cases that the state agency has begun to suspect bias. But the agency can do nothing; the law requires that all cases be investigated. The social worker assigned to the case has been previously disciplined for her excessive zeal in pursuing questionable cases and is widely thought to be incompetent, but the state cannot fire her for the usual reasons.
The specific accusation - never formally presented - turns out to be that Masters molested his daughter in the summer of her third grade. Masters thinks back, has an idea. He gets his old canceled checks out of storage, digs up his old business calendars. It turns out that his daughter was at a camp in Montana that whole summer. When she came home in August, Masters was on a business trip in Germany. He did not return from Germany until after school had started again.
He had never even seen his daughter that summer.
Masters's shrink finds it significant that his daughter would locate the abuse at the one time when abuse was impossible. The shrink concludes that the daughter felt abandoned and has translated that into a memory of abuse. Masters confronts the wife and daughter. They listen to the evidence and admit that they must have the date wrong, but remain adamant that the abuse occurred.
Nevertheless, the facts about the summer schedule lead the state to drop its investigation, and MicroSym re-instates Masters. But Masters has missed a round of promotions, and a vague cloud of prejudice hangs over him. His career has been irrevocably damaged. His wife never reconciles, eventually filing for divorce. He never again sees his younger daughter. His older daughter, caught between warring family factions, sees less of him as time goes on. Masters lives alone, struggles to rebuild his life, and suffers a near fatal heart attack. After his recovery, he sees a few friends, but now he is morose and drinks too much, a poor companion. Other men avoid him. No one has an answer to his constant question: What did I do wrong? What should I have done instead? How could I have prevented this?
Because, of course, he could not have prevented it. Not in a contemporary climate where men were assumed to be guilty of anything they were accused of.
Among themselves, men sometimes talked of suing women for false accusations. They talked of penalties for damage caused by those accusations. But that was just talk. Meanwhile, they all changed their behavior. There were new rules now, and every man knew them:
Don't smile at a child on the street, unless you're with your wife. Don't ever touch a strange child. Don't ever be alone with someone else's child, even for a moment. If a child invites you into his or her room, don't go unless another adult, preferably a woman, is also present. At a party, don't let a little girl sit on your lap. If she tries, gently push her aside. If you ever have occasion to see a naked boy or girl, look quickly away. Better yet, leave.
And it was prudent to be careful around your own children, too, because if your marriage went sour, your wife might accuse you. And then your past conduct would be reviewed in an unfavorable light: "Well, he was such an affectionate father-perhaps a little too affectionate." Or, "He spent so much time with the kids. He was always hanging around the house..."<...>
Не доверяю психологам, парапсихологам, чумакам, шаманам, а также чужим и собственным воспоминаниям. Вот почему пишу каждый день.
Когда на улице или в парке (дома, в Торонто) навожу фотоаппарат на чужих детей, мои одёргивают: "Не смей! Родители могут заявить на тебя, сказать, что ты педофил"...