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Dylan Farrow's Letter Tells Us What Our Culture Needs to Learn: To Believe Survivors.

Dylan Farow

This photo of Dylan Farrow, by Frances Silver, ran with her open letter in the New York Times.

Dylan Farrow, daughter of filmmaker Woody Allen, did an incredibly brave thing this weekend: She told the story of how Woody Allen sexually abused her when she was seven. In doing so, she is actively resisting our cultural dictates about sexual assault, which encourage silence, shame, and denial.

The allegations against Woody Allen have often been discussed—Farrow's brother Ronan succinctly pointed out how the abuse was left out of Allen's Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award highlight reel this year—but this is the first time that Farrow has published her story.

Appearing in The New York Times both in print and online, Farrow’s letter is honest, powerful, and damning of our entire mainstream cultural response to sexual assault. “What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?” she opens. “Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me.”

Farrow tells us how the train incident was the culmination of a long string of abuses by Allen; why the abuse seemed normal to her and why she finally told her mother; how the ongoing veneration of her father silenced her (“It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away”); and how our culture—the media, entertainment industry, court system, and medical professionals—have failed her and others like her. "Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse," she writes. “Sexual abuse claims against the powerful stall more easily. There were experts willing to attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child.” 

Farrow’s story is, rage-inducingly, a common one, only remarkable in that her family is famous. Farrow's experience happens to a jaw-dropping number of children and teenagers: one in six women in America experience sexual assault and 44 percent of victims are under age 18. The cultural response to the initial "allegations" against Woody Allen, and now Farrow coming forward, is only a hyper-magnified example of how our society treats survivors who tell the truth about what happened to them.

You needn't look far to see the culture of denial that is hard at work when survivors come forward to tell the truth about what happened to them. Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist who published Farrow's open letter and wrote his Sunday column about it, is trying to support Farrow but writes that "Allen’s defenders correctly note that he denies the allegations, has never been convicted and should be presumed innocent." Melissa McEwan of Shakesville hits the nail on the head about Kristof's apologist stance: "He deserves the presumption of innocence" has absolutely no place in an introduction to a survivor's story for this simple reason: "He deserves the presumption of innocence" is fundamentally incompatible with "She deserves to be believed." Which, of course, she does. 

Robert B. Weide, executive producer of the popular HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm and director of a PBS documentary about Woody Allen, recently published an article titled "The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast" on The Daily Beast (it appeared before her open letter in The New York Times but he tweeted on Sunday essentially that he stands by everything he wrote). Weide's piece is purportedly an informed, nuanced "weighing in" on the allegations that Allen sexually abused his daughter. But the article is actually just a very long apologia for Allen. For example, Weide skeptically notes that he's observed Allen with his daughters, and he doesn't really seem like a child molester:

"The only parent-child tensions I’ve been privy to are that his girls think their father’s mean for not letting them have a dog, and that he’s an idiot for not knowing how to work a computer. Lest anyone accuse me of being in Woody’s pocket, I’ll confess that I side with his kids on both counts."

Weide is not at all "blaming the victim," he says. "I’m merely floating scenarios to consider, and you can think what you will." Weide is skeptical about the veracity of Dylan's allegations, because:

"It means that in the middle of custody and support negotiations, during which Woody needed to be on his best behavior, in a house belonging to his furious ex-girlfriend, and filled with people seething mad at him, Woody, who is a well-known claustrophobic, decided this would be the ideal time and place to take his daughter into an attic and molest her, quickly, before a house full of children and nannies noticed they were both missing."

Only in a culture of denial and shame about child sexual abuse can it seem reasonable (and printable) that Weide "floats different scenarios" based on his own assumptions about how sexual assault happens and by whom. 

On the same day Farrow published her open letter, The Hollywood Reporter ran an article headlined "Dylan Farrow's Op-Ed Targets Woody Allen But Could Hurt Cate Blanchett More." The article opens: 

"Is Cate Blanchett's best actress Oscar for her performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine as assured as most people believe? Probably—but being called out on the New York Times' website for associating with an alleged child molester certainly won't help her cause."

The implication is clear: we're not so much worried about the survivor of sexual assault, but other people and their careers. It's reminiscent of television newscasters worrying about the poor teenage boys in Steubenville whose lives were going to be ruined because they'd sexually assaulted a teenage girl and weren't going to get away with it.

According to Weide, the whole thing is "a hornet's nest that had remained somewhat dormant over the past 20 years." And, for Woody Allen, the "accusations were old business."

So how has Farrow been doing all these years? Has it been, for her, a hornet's nest lain dormant, old business? As she writes in her recent letter: 

"That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself." Last year, Farrow was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "Each time I saw my abuser’s face—on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television—I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart."

Last year, my brave, beloved partner was also diagnosed with PTSD as a result of years of childhood sexual abuse. "When I tell people I've been diagnosed with PTSD, they assume I was in the military. They don't understand it," she told me a few days before Farrow published her open letter. 

My experience has been that people don't know how sexual abuse in childhood can impact a person into adulthood. I certainly didn't understand it. When my partner had what many would have called a breakdown last year, I struggled to understand. I, like the culture I live in, was in denial. When she had hours-long panic attacks that Valium couldn't touch, I anxiously wrung my hands in confusion and resentment. 

"Are you cold?" I would ask her. No, she would say. "Then why are you trembling uncontrollably? I don't understand." I wanted it to stop, because it scared me, because I didn't understand what was happening. 

One morning at 5 a.m., after hours of uncontrollable trembling, sweating, and writhing on our bed, she asked me to take her to the emergency room. The ER doctor essentially told my partner to get a grip. I hadn't slept all night and was crying from exhaustion. "Look at your partner," said the doctor. "Look at what this is doing to her." The ER doctor, like the rest of society, wanted my partner's PTSD symptoms to Just. Stop. Already.

I didn't understand then, as I do now, how the body can lock up trauma, bury it deep inside you to protect you, and how that tightly-locked capsule can burst years later and leave you writhing in panic on the bathroom floor, trembling violently from head to toe. I wish I had understood it then. I would’ve been better equipped to support her from the get-go, rather than having to learn alongside her as we both struggled to understand how her vomiting every morning for two years in her 20s was actually directly linked to things that had happened nearly two decades ago. And how denial and shame can make the original trauma happen “over and over and over again, because it’s never set free,” as my partner put it. 

One of the bright, glaring, non-negotiable truths I have learned, though, is to believe survivors. Believe them, even if they don't remember everything. Believe them, even if they remember almost nothing. Believe them, even if the person they say raped them seems like the nicest person in the world to you. Believe them, even if it shatters your whole world to do so. Believe them, even if they don’t want to share details, or press charges, or ever talk about it again. Believe them, even if their story sounds implausible to you. Believe them, even if you don't want to, even if it breaks your heart. 

Why, even after Farrow has bravely told us in painstaking detail what happened to her, do we still have a cultural propensity to insinuate she is lying to us? Why is it so much easier to believe that Mia Farrow would “brainwash” Dylan into thinking she was abused as part of a custody battle revenge plot than to believe she is yet another survivor of an epidemic of sexual violence? Why are people still calling Weide’s pile of B.S. on The Daily Beast “thoughtful” and “interesting” and “terrific” and “persuasive” after the person Woody Allen sexually abused told us what happened to her

In Dylan Farrow’s case, we are doubly primed to disbelieve her: first, because she is daring to speak out in a climate that is hostile for survivors, and second, because her father is famous and well-liked. As Farrow notes in her open letter, money, fame and power will protect sexual assailants even when the person they sexually assaulted shouts from the rooftops the truth of what happened. Woody Allen fans don’t want to believe he sexually abused his daughter because they want to keep on loving his movies and want him to keep making them. And Hollywood, like its fans, has largely given Allen a pass and continued to reward him. Farrow rightly takes big-name celebrities like Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin to task for helping send the wrong message about child sexual abuse: “the message that Hollywood sends matters …for others [who] are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth.” 

Mainstream U.S. culture teaches us to do our very best to deny the horrors of child sexual abuse. Mother Jones, in their piece about Dylan's open letter, said her story "wasn't easy to get through." Of course it's not. Of course we want to deny the things that happen to children that should never happen to them—should never happen to anyone, no matter their age. It's absolutely and completely heartbreaking, and we should fight like hell to make sure it never happens. But if it does, and a survivor tells us what happened to them, we need to quit it with the traumatizing apologist denials and learn how to say, “I believe you.”

Caitlin Carmody is a writer, activist, and student who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Comments

30 comments have been made. Post a comment.

THANK YOU

Yes, yes, yes. We will contort ourselves to prioritize the voices of everyone else over the survivor, and the damage that has done is so blatant and widespread. No excuse we can conjure in our fear and laziness can ever measure up to believing the survivor. Refusing to do so is NOT how we help, heal or move forward in this fight against abuse, violence and undue shame.

Caitlin Carmody's comment to Dylan Farrow's letter

Hats off to Caitlin Carmody! As a survivor of sexual abuse in childhood, by a family member, and subsequent years of struggling with my family not believing me and thus ending up doubting myself, after years of mutilating myself (hurt yourself so the pain you experience seems to have a physical origin), and being re-abused by an ex-husband, I whole-heartedly agree that we need to believe and support those who suffer from the effects of this traumatic experience. As a result of my horrible experiences (and I mean not just the childhood sexual abuse but the years and decades of stumbling on with my pain alone and abandoned), I developed panic attacks, phobias, a speech impediment and suffered, in general, from very low self-esteem. I dropped out of college, went back after years of therapy, and moved on to earn an M.A. and eventually a Ph.D. This was at the end of decades of pain and suffering, of falling down and then picking myself up again, not because my family of origin would have acknowledged my pain or believed what had happened to me in those childhood days. At this point in my life, I can certainly say that this trauma has marked my life. For better or worse, trauma and I have cohabited for the better part of my life. To this day, I am still trying to overcome. And it is fair to assume that I will never forget how this assault against my body and soul has overshadowed my life. Who would I have become without these terrible things happening, or at least with my parents acknowledging what had happened to me and helping me start the road to recovery? I don't know, but I know that, as Caitlin Carmody says, believing me, the victim of sexual assault, would have been a first step. So much wasted time!

Great article. All of this

Great article. All of this needs to be said in the face of the pseudo-reasonable doubting of Dylan Farrow.

BTW, if you have the stomach for it, the most egregious victim-blaming article to date:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/03/woody-allen-dylan-f...

Why not...

Very broadly...

How about we support people who claim to be abused because in most cases they have been. So we provide them with unqualified support and rigorously investigate the claim, and where there is thought to be sufficient evidence to secure a conviction charge accused and take them to court. Since we live in a society that values the presumption of innocence and given that some accused are, in fact, innocent, we respect that a criminal conviction must be secured before we punish or inhibit their freedoms. Where a conviction is not secured or a case cannot be brought because there is insufficient evidence, we continue to support the person who claims to have been abused while accepting that the accused has, in the absence of being proven guilty of anything, the lawful right to carry on living their life.

And we leave questions of belief to friends, loved ones and other people with intimate knowledge of the individual and their case, and to judges and jurors who are required by necessity of discharging their public roles to make such a determination. (It goes without saying that investigative agencies such as the police should proceed on the assumption that they should believe the person.)

Is there something wrong with this position?

What a lovely, heartbreaking,

What a lovely, heartbreaking, true essay. It's so important for people to speak up in Dylan's defense. I can't believe that people are letting their fondness for Woody Allen -- and of course, their self-defense reflex in feeling complicit for liking him -- cloud their judgment here. So well done. Thanks for writing this, seriously.

Hypocrisy

1. Read this objective take: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegat...

The facts of this situation have been twisted for the past 20 years, and Woody Allen's disdain of the media leaves him without the opportunity to defend himself.

Evidence points to Mia Farrow brainwashing her daughter, as Woody Allen passed a lie detector test claiming he didn't abuse his daughter, and Mia Farrow refused to take the lie detector test. Suspicious to say the least.

The investigator who said there was probable cause that Allen had abused his daughter was fired within two years of that statement. Clearly, not the best investigator.

Farrow's own brother is in jail for child molestation. Yet, she does not condemn him.

Life is about perspective. Woody Allen is an incredible entertainer, and his personal life should be just that, personal. He was acquitted of all charges. What right do you have to barge into his life?

You're a moron.

Your anonymity reflects your cowardice. When you are a public figure you open yourself up to public criticism, especially when you are an accused child sex offender. The justice system can be biased and corruptible and his acquisition doesn't prove his innocence. Any person that could suggest turning a blind eye to the victimization of a child, because the abuser happens to be 'entertaining' doesn't deserve the precious life they have. You're ignorant.

You are actually the moron here...

You call Allen "the abuser" but you have absolutely no evidence that he is. You ignore the points made by Anonymous. That makes you ignorant by definition.

Did you read the article the

Did you read the article the "moron" posted? I found it very thought provoking.

Presumption of innocence

Presumption of innocence until guilt is proven in a court of law.

Moreover, there is never a legitimate reason to call someone a moron in a serious argument--in fact, somewhat ironically--it reflects that the name-caller is in fact the one who feels insecure about his/her own intelligence.

The press is bound by NO presumption of any kind

I'm sure techies are as annoyed by the misuse of technical terms in public parlance as I, a lawyer, am of pundits misusing and misinterpreting legal terms.

There is no "presumption of innocence" in the court of public opinion. It is a technical legal concept that belongs in the realm of criminal procedure, for good reason. Anyone, including journos, are entitled to believe whatever they want, the thought police will not intervene.

Because of the laws on defamation I would not recommend anyone other than Dylan Farrow herself to write that "Woody Allen sexually abused her daughter", but nothing prevents anyone from writing that "Dylan Farrow writes about how her father sexually abused her" or "I believe Dylan Farrow when she says her father sexually abused her". These are both statements of fact.

So here is, once more for the sake of clarity, a free bit of legal advice to the NYT as well as others: Outside of a criminal trial Woody Allen is NOT entitled to the presumption of innocence. Please do not misuse the law to excuse your own decision not to believe Dylan Farrow.

No, he was not acquitted

No, he was not acquitted because there was no trial. Because Dylan was too traumatized to testify. You should become informed before commenting.

No, the prosecutor was not

No, the prosecutor was not fired, he was found completely innocent of wrongdoing. Mia was never asked to takea lie detector test because she was not a suspect, nor an accuser. The doctor notified the police as required by law. You are accusing Mia of something with no evidence whatsoever. And its an absurd accusation. You obviously know nothing about Mia Farrow. You should become informed before commenting.

Thank You Caitlin

we stay silent because the accusations of being a liar cuts us off at the knees. Being called crazy. Accused of teasing (how does a 4 year old 'tease' her father?).
Yes, just believe.

What if Dylan's wrong about what happened?

Caitlin, this is failed logic right here:

"He deserves the presumption of innocence" is fundamentally incompatible with "She deserves to be believed."

You can believe her and him at the same time. The fact that you are promoting this flawed mentality is bad news for feminist media. Let me explain (if you need me to....you probably do).

She may believe these things happened, and maybe something did happen. Do we know what happened? No. What if these events really did happen but not to the extent that she remembers? Is she not doing something wrong by blowing it out of proportion? There is the very real possibility that, when she was young, her mom pressured her into viewing these events in a different light. An innocent caress of her shoulder could turn into a guilty attempt to touch her chest. An innocent hug could be a guilty attempt to grab her butt. An innocent head on the lap could turn into an attempt at oral sex. She claims she was naked, what if she wasn't but just remembers it that way? Hasn't everyone remembered things differently than how they actually happened at one point in their lives? Hasn't everyone been pressured to lie at one point in their lives?

The truth is too far out of reach for anyone who wasn't a part of the situation to have an opinion on.

Why? Because there's a

Why? Because there's a reasonable amount of doubt that says her mother DID brainwash her into only thinking this happened. If she was abused, that is horrible. But if she wasn't, and Mia Farrow planted the idea for her own gain, that's just as sick as a grown man who would touch children. In both cases, a trusted adult, (her PARENTs, even) is being put in a spot where their opportunism is taking precedence over the well-being of a child:
On one hand, in a way that personally corrupts, defiles, and physically/psychologically harms her.
On the other hand, in a way that does all the same things...because she had to undergo tests/physical exams to determine whether she had been molested.

She is very brave for coming forward, but at least one of her parent's is a piece of shit. I wouldn't be so quick to jump to a conclusion as to which it is.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegat...

One more way victims are gaslighted that wasn't mentioned

Childhood victims of abuse often do things to cope that are unhealthy, ie cutting, drug abuse, anorexia, bulimia, etc. the thing this article didn't mention, is how those behaviors that result from an inability to cope are used as grounds by media and the legal system to disbelieve the reports of victims when they do come forward. It's commonly referred to as character assassination and victims whose character hasn't even formed and is developmentally delayed by abuse, as children and young adults are subject to this kind of abuse (also referred to as slut shamming). It's often as bad or worse than the abuse alone and has its own array of complex problems. The article wasn't direct enough in mentioning this as would suit me. All in all, a well written article.

Dylan, my prayers for your brave soul that you are. You are a hero to many. Thank you for your courage in telling your report of what you endured.

I agree completely with what

I agree completely with what you are saying and thank you for saying it.

I was sexually abused as a child by my father, abandoned by my mother and then raised by my grandparents as a result. My family shrugged off my experiences and refused to talk about it or deal with it and when I started cutting myself and going through emotional things at the age of 11, my family was sure it wasn't because of the abuse I experienced but because I was a troubled child and I was being rebellious.

No matter how hard I tried to tell everyone that I just needed someone to listen to me and understand that I was hurt by what happened to me, it was always my fault and I was bad and troubled and just wanted to be difficult and hurt them. Why else would I do something like razorblade my chest and then try to commit suicide?

I'm not saying this for sympathy. I'm an adult now but I have ptsd too and to this day I still have trouble articulating just how damaging those experiences and the subsequent lack of support was for me.

Having people judge you and damn you for self destructing after being abused will only cause you to self destruct and turn inwards more. When you are already blaming yourself for something that has been done to you, you ask yourself "why me? what is wrong with me"

That is why we do drugs or cut ourselves or turn to eating disorders, we need some way to assert control over our own bodies. Its like we're saying "this is mine and I'm taking ownership of it now" and then we hurt it because thats what we think of ourselves.

This is what society does to us every time someone like her, someone like me, tries to tell our story and people say "I don't believe you, that doesn't make sense, you must have done something wrong. You must be exaggerating, maybe you were coached, maybe your mom made it up" etc.

It makes me sick. The more this happens the harder it is for children of sexual abuse to come out of the shroud of secrecy and heal.

Speaking Out Does Not Mean it's True

The fact that so many people jump on the bandwagon that Woody Allen is just a sick bastard is kind of sick in itself. Maybe he did it. Maybe he didn't. Does anyone, other than the parties involved, actually know the real facts and the real truth? The letter, although powerful and inspiring, does not prove anything. I think that it's okay to say "I don't know, but I admire your courage," rather than "I believe you, and your dad is a fucking bastard."

Dylan is a victim and deserves support...

First of all, thank you Caitlyn for sharing your partner's, and your associated experience with abuse and trauma. It sounds like an incredibly painful experience, especially when faced with a thoughtless medical professional. I do not have PTSD, but I do have a history of panic attacks and have experienced being yelled at to "Just CALM DOWN" by someone who supposedly loved me but clearly did not understand what was going on. I am a medical professional, and I have seen many very talented and caring medical professionals still fall into fallacies like this - that anxiety is all in someone's head and that they should be able to just shut off their bodies' reactions; these same people get frustrated taking care of drug addicts wondering why they "choose" to keep hurting themselves and their families. This despite being well trained and knowledgeable in the physical responses to anxiety, as well as the physiological aspects of addiction that make quitting far more than a mere "choice". Even in professionals, emotions often overrun logic and evidence, and since I have fallen prey to this attitude myself at times (despite my own firsthand experience!) I apologize to you and your partner.

I have also suffered sexual abuse in the past. I was not serially abused by a close family member, but only once - as far as I recollect - by an older cousin. He was not close, he was not even a blood relative thankfully, but the stepson of my father's brother. The only time I clearly remember seeing him again in the 26 years since (I was 4 at the time) was on a family trip and I was horrified to discover that he had a young daughter. He has since been imprisoned for drug related charges. I am not claiming that my experience gives me the right to judge of assume anything about other victim's experienced, only disclosing relevant information that effects my reaction to this article.

I believe that Dylan was traumatized as a child and suffered for it, even though that belief is irrelevant in the long run. I believe that it is important to address the culture of victim shaming/blaming, and to speak up about sexual trauma. I do not however think that this publicity stunt should have been grasped at as an opportunity to do do - I would have appreciated your article much more without the association to Woody Allen. Not because of any misguided fondness for Allen and his works (I think I've seen 2.5 of his movies and moderately enjoyed 2 of them), but because I think that your personal account had more impact than your short assessment of a media scandal. I'd rather read about you and your partner than celebrity gossip.

My opinion doesn't matter, but since everyone's discussing it I'll share it. From my limited ability to observe through media coverage, Dylan's trauma and it's source are not both clearly defined things. Dylan was certainly a victim and deserves to be believed in that she suffered, but it does not automatically follow that Woody was definitely the abuser and that no public support of him and his career is compatible with supporting Dylan. His morally questionable instigation of a romantic relationship with a much younger woman who is the adopted child of his former lover but was NOT a blood or legal relative of HIS at any time does not suffice as evidence that he is a pedophile, just as Weide's comments about his seemingly normal relationship with his two teenaged daughters now is not evidence that no abuse could ever have occurred.

The reason I don't think Dylan's narrative should be associated with other less public narratives is because she doesn't fit the profile of victim suppression. According to her mother she was immediately believed when she claimed she was molested, Mia even videotaped her for evidence - something a mother not accustomed to being in the public spotlight, and not in the middle of a custody battle probably would do. Dylan was then, again not ignored but put through multiple invasive physical examinations which in itself was probably traumatizing.

Decades after the fact her mother and brother, both public personalities hungry for the spotlight, renew attention to her trauma. Mia herself made sure that her own participation in Woody Allen's career was not left out - she had to consent to inclusion in the clip reel - then she tweeted about her daughter's trauma to cast a negative light on the tribute. If she felt so strongly that the tribute was inappropriate without mentioning the sordid last, why did she not refuse to allow her clips to be included? The omission would have been glaring and much more effective in supporting her daughter than tweeting.

My heart goes out to Dylan, but I think that leaping on this story in this way does a disservice to less famous abuse victims.

Blubbering Appeal to Emotion

Yes, thank you!!! People need place their emotions where they belong and not wrap them up in an obvious exploit. Publishing the author's abuse experience mixed in with the Farrow Allen scandal really does a disservice to abuse victims, public sympathy and this woman's magazine by causing a MESS.

They were not in the middle of a custody battle

The videotape of Dylan's molestation narrative was not made "in the middle" of the custody battle. The videotape was made before.

Woody Allen filed for custody AFTER Dylan's doctors reported the molestation to police. Allen, as we know, lost. The judge decided that Allen, whose behaviour he found so troubling, shouldn't even have visitation rights--not even supervised visitation with Dylan.

Thank you, Caitlin Carmody!

Thank you for stating this so clearly. "I believe you" is what victims need to hear. Weide's statement that he's "merely floating scenarios to consider," as though doing so is utterly harmless--a simple thought exercise that couldn't possibly hurt anyone--reveals his arrogance. As I wrote elsewhere:

The hubris behind this statement is staggering. Floating alternative scenarios to contradict the testimony of a survivor of sexual abuse is not something one “merely” does. It’s actually a big deal—and a dangerously irresponsible thing to do.

Weide needs to understand that his words on this matter have real-world consequences. Not just for Dylan Farrow, who is being told yet again that her experiences don’t count, don’t matter, don’t have weight; no. His words also have consequences for those who are currently victims of sexual abuse, and for all those who are survivors.

(More here: http://rebeccahains.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/why-the-daily-beast-article... )

Again, thank you for writing this piece, Caitlin. Your perspective is invaluable.

Such a strong article. Thank

Such a strong article. Thank you. I BELIEVE HER!

Why?

Why do we believe the abuser over the abused? Why is it so hard to believe victims? The answer is easy on paper, but hard to digest.

We like these people. We watch their films. We go to their sports games. They are celebrities, and become idolized. If you have put a celebrity on a pedestal, and then someone starts talking negative about that celebrity, you rush to defend them. Why? Because by idolizing them, you are convinced they are 100% good, and you don't want to admit you're wrong.

All these people defending Woody Allen are doing so for one primary reason. They have liked him all these years, and they don't want that core value shaken. If they believe that he's capable of this abuse, then they have to admit that they were wrong about him. And they don't want to be wrong.

"None is righteous, no not one." We see proof of this every day, in the behaviors that people manifest, sometimes hidden for years before coming to light. We blind our eyes to the truth, because we don't want to admit our own part in the deception.

Victim's of sexual assault are especially not to be believed

Sexually abused children are being blamed for getting themselves molested and raped by their fathers or other family and then chastised for not liking them afterwards. Victims often face disbelief and blame.

This is a Pinterest Page with many pins of various news articles. You will be shocked at how many posts show how Woody Allen's own behavior betrays him as a sexually immoral person.

http://www.pinterest.com/ndvregistry/dylan-farrow-child-abuse-victim/

SO GOOD!

THANK YOU for writing this.

Woody Allen and Jewish Masculinity

I would love to read some commentary on how Woody Allen's Jewish Masculinity plays into the idea that he could "never do this." As a socially awkward Jewish queer, I have long looked to Woody as an example of masculinity that fit with definitions that were culturally appropriate that I wanted to emulate (before I knew about the abuse). He does the neurotic, harmless, nebbish-e (Yiddish for someone who is always a loser, things will never go well for) bit beautifully. He's played it in every role (from his acting, directing to interviews). It's who he is. But it is also a great cover for predatory behavior. He can do things like marry his daughter and get away with it because his sexuality doesn't seem nefarious, it seems bumbling at best. Jewish masculinity has always been portrayed as this: over intellectual, awkward, not a threat. Hell, I even have a collection of Jewish erotica called "Neurotica." The idea that Woody Allen could have never molested his daughter because he wouldn't go into an attic because he's claustrophobic says it all to me. America is buying into this idea that Woody Allen isn't dangerous because it fits so nicely with the stereotypes we have developed for Jewish men: harmless, anxiety-ridden, emasculated. The main argument isn't "Woody didn't do this", it's "Woody could never do this" because we don't see him as capable of something like this. If Woody Allen were Black, he would have been locked up, because society has been taught to fear Black men's sexuality. Here, Woody benefits from his White privilege and the fact that he has carefully cultivated his use of Jewish stereotypes in order to make him seem innocent-neurotic, but innocent.

Dylan Farrow

"Believe them, even if the person they say raped them seems like the nicest person in the world to you." What if that nice person is named Caitlin Carmody? Is that what you would prefer? Would you want me to automatically give your would-be accuser the benefit of the doubt, regardless of what you said in your defense? Would you want me to stand by your accuser while you lost your job and family? And where would you stand? Would you believe your accuser, too?