Much better to let any victim speak for himself/herself/themselves, so that’s what I’ll do here. Take it away, Charisma.
“…based on the open letter I wrote, you now know about the psychological abuse I endured while acting on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I shared my experiences about my former boss, Joss Whedon, so that we may identify a very real problem that is still happening 20 years later. My open letter is not just trauma unpacking or dumping. It’s a wake-up call. And a call to action…”
Ms. Carpenter lists in her letter some important tips for those of us who are not the victim. You might think some of them are common sense matters, but you’d be surprised at the ways people can sometimes further inflict abuse and hurt despite having the best of intentions.
Look, false accusations against celebrities do happen (though rarely). People are, generally speaking, terrible, and there’s always gonna be somebody who wants to make a few bucks by engaging in a fraudulent smear campaign. “Pay me and I’ll shut up! Don’t pay me and I’ll wreck your image!” Yes, that happens, though again, it’s rare. But we have to—have to—always give an accuser the benefit of the doubt. With cases like this one involving Joss Whedon, it’s easy; when you have *that* many people all saying the same thing, there’s no doubt they’re telling the truth. But even if it’s only one person, we owe it to that person to listen. With care, yes; no one wants to see an innocent person slandered. But we must preserve the atmosphere in which victims now feel safe to come forward with their accounts. Be an ally, not an unintentional abuser enabler.