Dylan Farrow speaks out against Woody Allen’s alleged sexual abuse

Lylia Li, Staff Writer

Only 2-8% of sexual abuse charges are false.  I open with this statistic because it is something many people do not seem to know, and because I think it’s an important statistic to keep in mind.  Compare it to the mindset of our culture, which assumes that women, by default, are liars.  Compare it to men and women who think that a woman, out of some kind of irrational, exclusively feminine rage, is more likely to lie about rape than a man is to commit rape.

Compare it to a society that would refuse to accept a seven year old girl’s testimony that her father raped her, that would turn its back on her and shrug and say “we’ll never know what really happened,” and that would continue rewarding her abuser with wealth, acclaim, and most recently, a Golden Globe lifetime achievement award, just because of his movies.

The controversy behind Woody Allen’s personal activity has become almost common knowledge.  He married Mia Farrow only to divorce her and marry her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi.  Shortly afterwards, he was accused of child molestation by his and Mia’s other adopted daughter, Dylan.

Even before the accusation, Allen had already been in therapy for his inappropriate behavior towards Dylan.  Allen and his supporters claimed that Mia, to exact revenge, was behind the whole thing, coaching Dylan and feeding her lies to make her believe that Allen attacked her.  Although he was taken to court, Allen was never prosecuted and continues to deny allegations.

Many who argue in favor of Woody Allen say that the situation is a case of “he said, she said.”  Because either Allen or Dylan may have been lying in their testimonies, and there were no other witnesses and no concrete evidence as to what actually happened, we can never know the truth.  But why do they give Allen the presumption of innocence over Dylan?  Why, when we know that only 2-8% of sexual abuse charges are false?

Others say that it does not matter whether or not Allen is a pedophile and that we must separate the art from the artist.  We can appreciate his films without also having to address his personal life.  Our ability to watch Midnight in Paris with ease of mind takes precedence over the suffering of an anonymous, inconsequential seven-year old girl.That seven year old is now nearly thirty and, for the first time, has given her own account of the happenings this past month.

Although the case is old—more than 20 years old—it is important that we continue to discuss it.  Woody Allen took his daughter into an attic and sexually assaulted her.  He then escaped from his crimes unscathed while the public turned a blind eye to the girl and gave him another award.

Is it possible that we will never know what happened with complete certainty?  Maybe—but it doesn’t matter.  We must believe Dylan Farrow.  No matter how much we would like to give Woody Allen the benefit of the doubt—out of the subject being uncomfortable, out of how much we love his movies, out of how much easier it would be to watch them without having to think of their director being a sexual predator—we must believe Dylan Farrow.  This is not a case where it is possible to separate the art from the artist.  By lauding Allen’s contributions to the cinematic arts, we tell Dylan that she does not matter.  When we tell Dylan that she doesn’t matter, we tell other victims of sexual assault that they don’t matter either.  We silence them and refuse to believe their stories.  In doing so, we create a vicious cycle in which rapes go unreported and rapists are not held accountable for their crimes.  This is about much more than just Woody Allen’s reputation.

Dylan can speak for herself much better than I can.  You can find her open letter to Woody Allen on Nicholas Kristof’s blog on the New York Times website.