Sally and Charles had an intense but short-lived romance. Afterward, the former lovers wanted nothing to do with each other. But they still had one thing in common: their daughter, a young girl we’ll call Amy. Sally strongly resisted letting Charles have any contact with Amy. As a result, the couple was in and out of court trying to resolve custody issues. Eventually, the family court decided that Amy would live with Sally. Charles, though, would have the right to spend time with Amy regularly.
This compromise was threatened when Sally complained to the authorities. Sally claimed that Charles sexually abused Amy. However, once investigators spoke to Amy alone, it became clear that something else was amiss. Amy’s initial medical examinations indicated no signs of abuse. Although Amy said her mother’s story was true, their stories did not match up. Charles also produced witnesses and video footage of himself and Amy attending a party at the time of the supposed abuse. All signs pointed to Sally making the whole thing up. Nevertheless, Sally pressed the issue in court and requested even more invasive medical examinations of Amy.
In the end, the judge decided that Sally was making the whole thing up. In fact, the judge ruled that Sally’s false accusations were themselves a form of child abuse. Sally’s lies caused Amy to undergo invasive medical examinations, which violated Amy’s privacy. Additionally, Sally asked the child to lie about something very serious. In sum, Sally likely caused Amy severe psychological harm. The judge took custody away from Sally, at least for the time being.
People often say that when something bad happens, you should never attack the victim. But sometimes, it’s the accuser who really bears the blame.