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Why the silence suddenly broke

Beverly Young Nelson, the latest accuser of Alabama Republican Roy Moore, reads her statement at a news conference, in New York. Nelson says Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

I don’t know if Roy Moore did what he’s accused of or not.

Ross: Is there a deeper problem here?

However, I do know there are men who have taken advantage of a child, and who know they did, and who think it won’t matter because their victims have grown up, and it was long ago.

And these people should understand that the victims don’t forget.

The brain doesn’t erase. It sometimes locks the memory behind a little synaptic door, but the key is hanging on a nail right next to it. It doesn’t take much to turn that key. Sometimes just a news story about a complete stranger is enough to unlock the repressed memory.

And when the door opens the same questions return – should you have said something about it then? Maybe someone else turned him in. Maybe he’s dead! Close the door, hang the key back on the nail.

And then one day, maybe on a campaign flyer, maybe on a television clip, the name pops up. And – it’s him. It could be 10 years later; 20, 30, 40, it doesn’t matter. Because the memory is there and so are the consequences of silence. It turns out he wasn’t turned in by anyone else, he’s not dead, there were other victims, and now this man wants to be elected and make the rules for the rest of us.

Suddenly the silence that was easy to justify as a child can’t be justified any longer.

I don’t know what Roy Moore did or did not do. But for the men who have done it and thought it was forgotten, they should understand it would be unwise to choose a career in politics if there’s any chance that one of your victims will see your unforgettable face on television.

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