Catherine Bush reflects on the power of accusations:
Once you have been accused of something, even if the accusation is retracted or proved to be false, it continues to have a life. We can all think of instances of this. Someone who has been falsely accused of sexual abuse can never eradicate that stigma. People have killed themselves in such circumstances. Even much smaller accusations can have great power. At a reading recently, a woman told me a story of being accused by her mother as a seven-year-old of stealing money from her mother’s purse. The idea of stealing from her mother had never occurred to her. She found herself wondering what could possibly make her mother think this. She still wonders. So long ago, and the mother retracted her words, yet the accusation lives. And a rift forms because of it.