Why defend Woody Allen?

Dylan Farrow, Mia Farrow’s daughter, recently published an account of the sexual abuse she allegedly experienced at the hands of Woody Allen. I have to say “allegedly,” I guess, because that’s what we have to do when the accused was never charged. Of course, as those of us who have known abusers and abuse (and that’s likely most of us, as women) know, most abusers aren’t charged. So “allegedly,” I’ll say. But I believe her.

There is no reason not to believe her. I know, I know — it’s just all so complicated, some say. Who really knows the truth? Well, Dylan knows the truth. And Allen knows the truth. So pick a side, any side; equipped with the knowledge that going public about our abuse and our abusers is no walk in the park. Know that coming out about abuse most certainly and almost always will be cause for punishment, ostracization, accusations regarding one’s “mental stability,” more abuse (verbal, emotional, psychological), more trauma, and concerted efforts to discredit the victim. Know that women don’t go public about abuse for fun and kicks. Especially when your abuser is in a position of power (as men, most of them are…), like Woody Allen is.

I will admit I have been a fan of Woody Allen’s movies. Like a big, fat cliché, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Annie Hall have been among my favorite films. I was somehow clueless to these accusations when they came out in ’92. I was, like, 12 then, but there were other red flags. Though I hadn’t known about Dylan’s story, I knew about Allen’s marriage to Soon-Yi, which, while not technically illegal, is significantly… significant. It’s as though this is all he could get away with publicly. If society and the law would have allowed it, I don’t doubt he would have found an even younger girl to coerce into a “relationship.”

And yes, I judge men who date very, very young women. “Judgement?!” “Shaming?!” you might gasp. Yes, judgement and shaming. If we can’t judge and shame men who prey on and abuse young women, then we’re really done for in this postmodernism-soaked “movement.” “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” you might recall, is the song pedophile and rapist, R. Kelly, wrote for his underage former-wife, Aaliyah, to sing. Men get away with what they can get away with. Judgement is not a bad thing (take note, third wavers).

Sixteen year old Mariel Hemingway as Woody Allen's love interest in Manhattan
Sixteen year old Mariel Hemingway as Woody Allen’s love interest in Manhattan

I should have abandoned Allen’s work a long time ago, I know. And I’m sorry I didn’t. We see these kinds of “signs” all the time. We just ignore them. I mean, Allen dates a high school student — 17 year old Tracy (played by Mariel Hemingway, who was actually 16 at the time) —  in Manhattan for Christ’s sake. How I managed to ignore this all these years is significant. But that’s how this all goes, isn’t it. We don’t see until we can’t not see. Men’s art, men’s work, men’s power is always at the forefront — always made more visible than the women they ruin and abuse and erase on their way to the top.

The Daily Beast published a revolting defense of Allen by Robert B. Weide, who managed to drag, what can be summarized as “bitches are crazy, amirite?” into a 5000 word piece, dripping with condescension. The old boys club routine never gets old.

The nerve. The absolutely sociopathic, hateful, sickening nerve an individual must have to listen to an account like Dylan’s, and come back with: “gossip” and “badmouthing.” I mean, Weide feels obligated to remind us that Dylan has been “characterized as emotionally disturbed” — what on earth does he think happens to women who are abused? They come out unscathed? This is gaslighting at it’s finest — calling women who have been traumatized, “crazy.” Well yeah. See how emotionally stable you feel after years of abuse.

This is a tactic used to silence women, in case that’s unclear — to call victims “crazy,” “jealous,” “unstable,” etc. It’s happened to me. It’s happened to countless other women. It’s no coincidence. It’s the plan. It’s how men continue to get away with abuse — because men are rational, you know, and women are nuts. It’s built into the system — the gender hierarchy — the notion that men can be trusted experts and taken at their word, whereas women should be questioned and forced to prove why anyone should listen or take them seriously.

The fact that “Woody literally pays no mind to this stuff, and he continues to work and have a happy home life,” is something that Weide seems to think works in Allen’s defense, when really, all this shows is his deep sense of entitlement. Allen thinks he’s untouchable, because he has learned he is. He thinks he will get away with this because he has. He thinks he has done nothing wrong because he has been treated as though he has, in fact, done nothing wrong. He’s fine and good and happy-go-lucky because he’s not the one who was sexually abused. Dylan was. Yeah, he’s fine. No, she’s not.

Mia and Ronan Farrow call out Woody Allen during the Golden Globes
Mia and Ronan Farrow call out Woody Allen during the Golden Globes

Wiede goes on to suggest Mia “get over herself,” referencing Tweets she posted during the Golden Globes’ celebration of Allen’s work. Really. Women everywhere who speak publicly about sexual abuse should probably just “get over themselves” — is there anything more selfish than calling out the men who abuse our daughters, after all?

Wiebe’s victim-blaming reaches vomit-inducing levels as he “calls out” Mia regarding the fact that her brother was recently sentenced to 25 years for sexually abusing two 10 year old boys. So Mia’s brother is an abuser, and you use that information in an attempt to discredit her and deny the abuse of another individual? Which, to be clear, equates to using male violence to silence the voices of victims of male violence. Get it, asshole?

What Dylan showed us, generously and painfully, beyond her own story, is the way in which silence and denial compounds abuse. When we speak out about abuse, and those around us ignore and deny that abuse, it works to retraumatize the victim — it reinforces that “am I just crazy?” feeling.

Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. 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.

“Who can say for sure,” makes it easier for us to continue supporting and celebrating abusive men. Meanwhile, the victim learns she doesn’t matter at all. She learns that her abuser’s art is more valuable than her life.

Dylan’s story will be disturbing and shocking to many, but it is also a story that will be familiar to many. Because every woman who has experienced abuse — sexual, physical, emotional, psychological — knows what happens when you tell your story. We know that feeling — that sickening realization: “Oh, that’s right. No one cares.”

It’s difficult to see that which we don’t want to, but the consequences are right here in front of us.

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • Dr. Bloehawd McMannsplane

    The court exonerated him: This is a weak argument a lot of sympathizers of Woody Allen employ. Justice in most liberal democracies is somewhat, if not completely, commodified. Got enough money and power and you can buy innocence, or fly the coup if things get too hot (Roman Polanski?). Compound this with male dominated social and legal structure, and it gets even worse.

    • Dawn Marlette

      No, the court did not exonerate him. They chose not to prosecute, which happens in a lot of these cases where the victim is so young.

    • Twice Shy

      SO TRUE! “Sympathizers” freak me out like pedophiles in thin disguises. I can only guess what they would do/have done when they think no one is watching them. There are only two options in an abuser’s view of his accuser. 1) She is crazy, or 2) He is GUILTY. He will never take responsibility, and sadly, too many guys get off on the same crap, so good luck getting justice. God Bless that mom who put a secret cam in the room to fry the stepdad molesting her little girl. Technology is here. Use it. Too bad more victims of violence don’t youtube their partners, to out the family courts who know full well what they are subjecting kids to. The camera never lies.

  • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.com Miep

    Yep. “She’s crazy, she made it all up, or if she didn’t it wasn’t that big a deal and she probably asked for it, and anyway we all need to move on now.”

    Women are unlikely to make this sort of thing up because we’ve seen what happens when you call about male abusers. So often the guys close ranks and shun and slander you. On the other hand, if you let it go you will be forgiven for having the temerity to be a victim. You will also likely be further victimized. Lose-lose. Why on earth would anyone intentionally put herself in such a position without cause?

    • http://tnt666.wordpress.com tnt666

      Personnally, I find Johansen unbearably stereotypical and shallow, against every I stand for as a feminist, secondly, I hated “Simone” with Paccino… so I don’t even have an inkling of desire to see “Her”. Though I usually like Phoenix to a point, his acting in this looks so entirely corny… I’m reminded of all the “geek apologetics” going on right now in various circles and media, forgiving misogynistic sexist creeps… on the grounds that they don’t know better “because they’re geeks”.
      The day we stop compartmentalizing… is the day we’ll really make a dent in acceptable misogyny in the world.

  • xx

    Dylan Farrow is my hero. My father sexually abused me from ages 3-16. He’s famous in a very small subculture of a medium sized city. I felt completely hopeless, worthless, seeing his name around town, seeing his friends and colleagues, knowing they all just KNEW I was insane–not to be trusted–a liar. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have the man who abused me be as internationally popular and respected as Allen. I can’t imagine being as strong and brave as Dylan Farrow. I feel so lucky and grateful that she’s alive and still fighting. With all my heart I want her to know I believe her, and I honor her.

  • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

    I hate to be devil’s advocate here, but my personal perception of Woody Allen has not changed. My perception of Mia Farrow has not changed. I also do not like this idea of having to think one way or another and not seeing some sort of inbetween. I don’t like feeling like I am less of a feminist because I support both parties. I knew what had happened in the past. I read Mia’s autobiography and the virtrol she has for Allen. I am a fan of them both equally. I consider Mia a idol of mine for her philanthropic work. I consider Allen a great director, he’s good at his job.To paint this a black and white issue is absurd. Do I not support Dylan Farrow? Absolutely I do. But these are all MY personal feelings. Where as the real issue is a family matter that boils down to the courts, and the parties involved. If this could be put back into the courts to be revisited, amen. Dylan Farrow is able to be a voice and to speak for those who have been sexually abused. No doubt about it. She spoke in Vanity Fair, and now the New York Times. I would agree that Mia has always been painted crudely for her view points in the media, slut shamed and pushed into a corner which is deplorable. The media is deplorable and we should call them out for that. Do I question what may or may not have happened critically? Yes. Would I say there were points made in the Daily Beast article that did not just focus on Mia being shamed, yes. The thing is I place the blame on no one here because frankly, I have no relation to the issue at hand other then being a woman and knowing women who have been sexually abused. My sister for one. Which is why I support freedom of speech as a whole and support Dylan’s words. Woody Allen is not a saint, he did make some decisions in his past that will always make us question the accustations. He’s pretty screwed up, hell that’s pretty much what all his movies are about..as in disecting all of our inner neurosis and problems. The under age relationship in Manhattan was pretty creepy. I felt that the moment I saw that movie. It also made me wonder more about him, past the point of his films but then I was so caught up in it I was back inside the CHARACTERS. Not the reality. Like the story of Lolita, his work is that of fiction…that we know of. What I want toknow, and ask the media such as Feminist Current is why wasn’t any of this anknowledged the first time Dylan spoke about this issue in Vanity Fair? I assume it was because people weren’t paying attention. Or paying attention to Mia Farrow’s autobiography many years ago when this was detailed by Mia’s accounts at the time, and where was the public the last 20 years of her growing into a woman? To say that she shouldn’t bring this to light is absurd and Mia has over and over again. Which is no doubt her right, and for which she should be praised. To say that people shouldn’t gather their own personal opinions about this issue is kind of rediculous. I am just one of few people who are trying to gain a perspective of this from a far off objectionable vantage point, because really as the public that’s all we have the right to do. I LOVE Manhattan, I LOVE Stardust Memories.These are two of my favorite films. Allen’s work itself is not dead to me. This may send a shudder of resentment through all my feminist comrades spines but I stand by it.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I disagree with the notion that this is a ‘family matter’ when it’s clearly structural, as well as a cultural issue. It is a misogynist/patriarchal culture that allows women to be raped and abused.

      I am unsure as to how we can ‘place blame on no one here’ when it’s very clear who is to blame.

      “Freedom of speech” alone will not end rape culture or hold men accountable for the violence they commit.

      “The under age relationship in Manhattan was pretty creepy. I felt that the moment I saw that movie. It also made me wonder more about him, past the point of his films but then I was so caught up in it I was back inside the CHARACTERS.” — but Mariel Hemingway was, actually, 16. And Woody Allen’s “character” (all of which seem based on himself) was a grown man. This relationship was portrayed merely as quirky. Not abusive or inappropriate.

      “What I want toknow, and ask the media such as Feminist Current is why wasn’t any of this anknowledged the first time Dylan spoke about this issue in Vanity Fair?” As I stated in the article — I was 12 years old in 1992. We didn’t have the internet then.

      No one has said that “people shouldn’t gather their own personal opinions” about the issue, but this is not about “personal opinions” — this is about sexual abuse and violence against women. Whatever our “personal opinions” are on the matter are, in fact, political.

      You comment makes me feel as though you didn’t read the piece I wrote and that, instead, you’ve simply responded with your own muddled thoughts on this matter?

      • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

        I was speaking broadly beyond your article and in relation to the MANY articles I have read so far. So, no it wasn’t specifically directed towards your every paragraph. So I apologize if my thoughts were muddled but I have been trying to encompass the mass of media that I have been directed to read. Not only that, I’m not a professional writer. It feels like mass media hysteria which is why I am feeling disgruntled as I very much wonder how much of this is for the website clicks. There have been many articles, and if anything I have felt dizzy by it. I did read through your article, and found it the most concise piece of material I have read so far on the internet. Which is why I felt compelled to write a response. If you’d like, I’ll go through your every paragraph to try and make myself clearer. In response to your most recent comments:

        “I disagree with the notion that this is a ‘family matter’ when it’s clearly structural, as well as a cultural issue. It is a misogynist/patriarchal culture that allows women to be raped and abused.”

        Yes it’s a structural issue..I do not disagree with that. I agree with your perspective about how both Dylan and Mia have been depicted in the media and how many have responded. I agree about your ideas that we live in a misogynist/patriarchal culture and that feeds the idea that we do not have the right to talk or support this issue. It is ALSO a family issue. A real, living breathing issue where in there are many people involved. Many other family members, from Allen’s children to Mia’s children of which this is exposed to. Obviously no one should be shielded from this, but there are other underage children who may be ostracized over this by other people, other misogynists. People you physically as a writer cannot help. The choices the media makes can ripple and transform people. Such as Allen’s other daughters, and Mia’s children, grandchildren, etc. I don’t always mean for the better. It can leave them vulnerable and voiceless as well. I do not appreciate the fact that you can narrow it down to being just a structural issue, or just a misogynist issue where in one person is to blame. That’s not the case. There are many people to blame, and in my opinion a good part of it is the media. So to me it is not a clear issue of who is to blame. There are many facets, many faces.

        “Freedom of speech” alone will not end rape culture or hold men accountable for the violence they commit.

        Agreed. Which is why there is a lot more at hand then exclusively writing about this issue. There are many organizations and grass roots operations vs. just a soap box to stand on. preventchildabuse.org to name one of many. Of which I have not seen referenced in any article, or even by either of the Allen and Farrow families.

        “The under age relationship in Manhattan was pretty creepy. I felt that the moment I saw that movie. It also made me wonder more about him, past the point of his films but then I was so caught up in it I was back inside the CHARACTERS.” — but Mariel Hemingway was, actually, 16. And Woody Allen’s “character” (all of which seem based on himself) was a grown man. This relationship was portrayed merely as quirky. Not abusive or inappropriate.

        Yes, because it is through the lense of Allen himself. Does it make him look gross? Yes, absolutely. I don’t deny that.

        “What I want toknow, and ask the media such as Feminist Current is why wasn’t any of this anknowledged the first time Dylan spoke about this issue in Vanity Fair?” As I stated in the article — I was 12 years old in 1992. We didn’t have the internet then.

        I’m speaking again in a broad term, Mia Farrow’s autobiography was released in 1997 when internet, and print still existed. Dylan would have been 12 then as well as we are the same age. I read the autobiography when I was around 20/21. What I meant is, it was still very much under the radar then. I feel and worry these sensationalist ideas you brought up will disapate over time yet again.

        No one has said that “people shouldn’t gather their own personal opinions” about the issue, but this is not about “personal opinions” — this is about sexual abuse and violence against women. Whatever our “personal opinions” are on the matter are, in fact, political.

        If it is political, then please execute more clearly how we can actually change this situation vs. talking about it and adding it to the roaster of publications desperate to make ad money off of it.

        Okay…..now on to the specifics of your article…

        I agree with it. All of it. I’m not disagreeing with your perspective. Though I will say that we have yet to hear from Allen himself on this issue. I have a feeling it’s going to happen. Should he face it head on..yes. Absolutely. Should he shy away from this situation, absolutely not. I am anticipating his statement. Should they all sit down with a therapist in privacy and perhaps work it out prior to giving information to the media or hashing things out through the vessel that is the media? I would think so. As this may actually help to aid this situation, change futures, vs. propagate it.

        • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

          Oh & I think we got our wires crossed:

          “What I want toknow, and ask the media such as Feminist Current is why wasn’t any of this anknowledged the first time Dylan spoke about this issue in Vanity Fair?” As I stated in the article — I was 12 years old in 1992. We didn’t have the internet then.

          You were 12 in 1992, the autobiography released in 1997, the Vanity Fair article was released in Oct. of 2013. The media did not really catch on to the VF article, but suddenly they have now? Only after the VF article, Ronan & Mia’s twitter comments around GG, and then the eventual NYT article where in it finally gained momentum in the media and through your publication as well as others.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Thank you for clarifying. I appreciate it.

          I’m sorry for using the word ‘muddled’ — it was intended as a literal description, not as an insult. It literally seems like you are trying to sort your thoughts out here, which is fine I guess, the comment just didn’t seem a direct response to what I’d written here is all. Which you confirm here. So that’s fine.

          Do you really think that I would just write anything for “page clicks?” Or that I wrote this, specifically, for page clicks? Or are you referring to other media? I mean, in terms of other media sites, they kind of do everything for ‘clicks’ in a way… It’s how they survive. I, don’t profit in any substantial or notable way from page clicks…

          “I’m speaking again in a broad term, Mia Farrow’s autobiography was released in 1997 when internet, and print still existed. Dylan would have been 12 then as well as we are the same age. I read the autobiography when I was around 20/21. What I meant is, it was still very much under the radar then. I feel and worry these sensationalist ideas you brought up will disapate over time yet again.”

          I think I answered that question (or attempted to, in part, anyway):
          “But that’s how this all goes, isn’t it. We don’t see until we can’t not see. Men’s art, men’s work, men’s power is always at the forefront — always made more visible than the women they ruin and abuse and erase on their way to the top.”

          • Meghan Murphy

            That’s a good question, I suppose. I didn’t know about or read the Vanity Fair article until the Golden Globes Tweets happened last month…

          • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

            Thanks for your response, no offense taken. I appreciate it. I was trying to sort out my thoughts and I did veer off track.

            I know that Feminist Current does not. I was generalizing again, sorry. What often upsets me is topical articles looking to draw attention vs. real discussion or solution.

            I just wanted to make a point more or less that I dislike the “you’re with us or against us” POV.

            Woody’s work is trivial and the accusations much larger. No one should be comparing movies to allegations of sexual abuse, like apples to oranges.

          • Meghan Murphy

            We won’t take away your feminist card for thinking things through, don’t worry.

          • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

            Haha. Thanks! Much appreciated. :)

        • http://gratis4.wordpress.com/ Jennyjinx

          I’m sorry if I’m misreading the following:

          but there are other underage children who may be ostracized over this by other people, other misogynists. People you physically as a writer cannot help. The choices the media makes can ripple and transform people. Such as Allen’s other daughters, and Mia’s children, grandchildren, etc. I don’t always mean for the better. It can leave them vulnerable and voiceless as well. I do not appreciate the fact that you can narrow it down to being just a structural issue, or just a misogynist issue where in one person is to blame.

          Are you saying that Dylan shouldn’t have publicized her ordeal and that we, due to that publication, shouldn’t be discussing it because other members of her family could be ostracized?

          I’m just asking for clarification on that point.

          Thank you.

          • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

            No problem. Thanks for asking. IMO we all have the right to discuss it as has made it into the public eye. Dylan had the right to make it public, as did Mia. They are kids, and I do feel they will be ostracized over the media’s insensitivity from either angles.

          • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

            Wish there were a way for me to edit..I’m sorry. Soon Yi & Allen’s as well as Farrow’s adopted children and Grandchildren IMO will be ostracized due to dealing with this exclusively through the media, esp. if it is going to be worked out in public tossing statements between each other for the next while. Hope this makes things clearer?

          • http://gratis4.wordpress.com/ Jennyjinx

            Thank you for your explanation.

            I don’t believe that the extended family will see any repercussions from this aside from people wondering if he’d harmed any of them. I do believe that Dylan will be ostracized for speaking out and Mia for standing by her. In fact, Mia has already faced being called a “scorned woman” and accused of coaching her daughter.

            Survivors should never have to keep quiet just in case people not involved maybe might someday look sideways at another member of the family or wonder if other family members were victimized. That tells us (us: survivors) that our own stories are not more important than the future hurt of someone not involved.

            That’s one way abusers silence us. “If you tell the mommy will lose her job”, for example. “If you tell then everyone will hate your mommy” (or whoever is the primary caregiver). We are guilted into shutting up to save someone else a future hurt and that’s really not good for anyone.

          • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

            Really? Farrow and Allen’s family will see no reprecussions? I mean in their personal lives, through school, and through the rest of their adulthood. I mean people bringing it up to them when they’re teenagers. Bringing it up to them at school via various peers. Being bullied, being put on the spot. I agree that people will always wonder and will probably ask whether they were harmed. No doubt. They should have the power to come forward if they have. Though the media frenzy could put them in doubt, and work backwards. There is absolutely no way they won’t have to deal with the media who will hang this over their head.I feel that yes, Mia and Dylan are ostracized. How this doesn’t make this widespread and a generational issue is a whole other story but to me is quite apparent.

    • Laur

      I accidently pressed “liked” to your comment and now can’t undo it…

      How does enjoying a film lead to supporting a man accused of sexual abuse? I can just imagine Dylan reading comments such as yours and feeling the way she wrote about (as quoted by Meghan above):

      :Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. 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”

      • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

        Understood, but what exactly do we as feminists like to see happen to Allen? Prison without another trial? Does this solve the underlying issues? It would give Farrow some peace of mind, I do not doubt that. I also support that but it does not put the many other issues to rest.

    • Liz

      The relationship in Manhattan is not purely fiction. He did in fact date a 17 year old high school student while he was in his 40s.

      • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

        Yep, pretty apalling.

    • MistyLane

      Really?? You are just justifying yourself here. Some things are black and white and you just dont want to admit the truth to yourself. I saw Manhatten and was disgusted. HE cast a 16 year old to play his love interest. It was his choice. He wrote it, directed it and cast it. The character was based on HIM. Then he has a sexual relationship with a teenaged girl he has been raising as his own daughter since she was 7 (although not making it legal)?? His wife’s daughter! His daughter’s sister! The little girl he took care of for years. Geeeez!! Ick doesn’t even begin to cover it. We dont know for sure when the relationship turned romantic/sexual but still!! He has a relationship with another actress in highschool before any of this. AND now his own daughter claims he sexually abused her and… YOU are on the fence???? Seriously??

  • TB

    The piece of crap that abused me was my female parent. She pulled the crazy card on me, even had me going to shrinks at age 10. She told him I was troubled because I was angry at my mother. My father most assuredly was own brand of mysoginistic neglectful access. But the one thing he didn’t do was rape me. Of course I wasn’t going to tell therapist because she was sitting right outside the door. When I did finally, try to tell I told my female parent’s sister. It took me three years to work up to that. She turned around and told the female parent who proceeded to punish me. Her response, “If I wanted you, I would have had you already.” When I did try to exercise some type of agency over my body (closing the door while using the bathroom) around 15, she retaliated by taking me to a female physician where I was held down for forced pelvic exams. The female parent would gleefully stand over this doctor’s shoulder to get a full view of genital’s because as she told the doctor, “I was slut and she needed to see what I was doing.” At that point, I knew I wasn’t going to get any help from anyone, so I went into repression, denial and minimization mode for twenty years or so. Even though she stopped raping me and getting others to rape me, she was still cruel, sadistic and controlling. Being abused for so long created in me an utter sense hopelessness. When she would call my body would grow weak with terror. I also had a lot of somatic symptoms as well.

    It also made me prey to predatory men. I dated sadistic, controlling, cruel men because I trained to submit. Right around age 35 something shifted in me and I began to entertain the thought that maybe I wasn’t the problem. When I told this to her and demaded she get professional help, she began stalking and terrorizing me first by phone by calling the management at my rental office repeadtely, then having cops at my door at all hours the night. Then she drove across three states and proceeded to catch me outside of my door for two weeks. I lived in Florida and my apartment had a front and back entrance. The back entrance had small pond where alligators frequented. My fear of her was so strong that I would leave my home before dawn and and come back after dusk using the back entrance. I remember walking around the edges of the pond in the dead of night hearing the alligators nearby. She began scatching on my door usaully between 2 and 3 in the morning. But me being traineid to submit and not complain, told no one.

    I was at work one day getting ready to go home. I was planning my route home and had my first panic attack. I went to a friend’s house under the guise of an unannouced visit and she saw something was drastically wrong. I told in very calm voice as if it wasn’t a big deal. She looked at me and told me I needed to call the police. She probably said it ten times before I heard it. She then gave me the card of therapist and made me promise to call.

    I did both of those things and from that moment my life changed. I got restraining order against my mother and that act made me feel safe for the first time in my life. But it still wasn’t until age 40 that I began to able to deal with all the ramifications of her treatment of me. When one’s been terrorized the majority of one’s life, one has to be a place of safety for sum time to begin to even acknowledge the ramifications of such henious acts. I’m 42, have been in consistent good therapy for well over three years including EMDR. I still have a lot to work through and feel alive and free to feel all my emotions for the first time.

    So what does this have to do with Dylan Farrow? Everything. Trauma, consistent persistent trauma, changes the chemistry of the brain. That is called PTSD. I also suspect Dylan like myself has complex-PTSD. I have outed my abuser a few years ago via letters to everyone who saw aspects of what my mother was and did nothing. I didn’t expect a response but it was me finally speaking the truth. Fuck what all those assholes thought. Dylan speaking up is wonderful and a testament to her healing. Even thought the ’90s don’t seen that far away, in regards to incest and rape it might as well have been the middle ages. I don’t think things have much improved now.

    The person who abused and terrorized me and the people who supported her were women. However, I as a radfem, thinking back their language and use of me was couched in mysgynistic, patricarchial, anti-child retoric. I was for their use, to been and not heard, to be pretty, and expeted to submit. Any efforts to not do those things were utterly crushed. And the systems that were meant to supposedly me protect wouldn’t have believed first off because I was girl/woman and secondly because the abuser was mother.

    Her description of the train, her being triggered when she sees him are all normal PTSD responses to seeing and encountering someone who has abused you. Her story is every story of a survivor.

    People like myself who have been abused as child and as a result repeatedly assualted by men because of lack of boundaries don’t make this up. In fact the mechanisms used to cope (denial, repression, minimization) are a testament to that. No one wants to believe that someone who says they love you, is suppose to protect you or pretends to just be a decent human being would also engage on such violence. I think human beings have a innate belief in another’s humanity even in the moment that violence is occuring. It’s called disassociation.

    I have the benefit of being able to never see the face of abuser again. My abuser isn’t celebrated and lauded for all the world to see. That’s why I think it takes Dylan even more courage to do what she did. And I know what she has done is going to give a lot survivors the courage to come out of the closet, find those compassionate people who understand trauma and get the help they need.

    Sorry about all the typos.

    • http://gravatar.com/tinfoilhattie tinfoil hattie

      TB, thanks for sharing your pain and trauma, and I’m SO terribly sorry and angry on your behalf.

  • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

    I agree with Meghan that this is most probably true, as the alleged victim would have no benefit in reporting the abuse.

    But the question of loathsome human people who create valuable art is a different one (and not only restricted to pedophiles and rapists). I certainly thought The Pianist was a remarkable film, vile as I think Roman Polanski is.

    • http://gravatar.com/tinfoilhattie tinfoil hattie

      Who cares if it was a great movie? Seriously. It’s a movie. Made by a man who raped a 13-year-old girl. What’s so sacred about a movie?

      • https://plus.google.com/101921644367573359355 Rb D

        Maybe we could have an English grad seminar course on Men who we think are great but oh by the way, raped little girls? There are far too many, and each one gives credence to the next. Each one that we don’t call out and hold feet to the fire of law enforcement and media damn them, gives a green light. It’s ok. Who’s gunna believe her?

        A find article Meghan. For another TB, check out Carolyn Gage.

  • Kelly Moore

    Thank you for pointing out that the victim’s emotional and psychological damage are EVIDENCE that the abuse occurred, not an opportunity to insinuate that the victim is just another crazy, lying, hysterical female.

    It is the perfect crime — abuse or rape someone, cause psychological terror and instability, and then point to that instability to refute the victim’s testimony. I’m sick and tired of it. It has to stop.

    Psychological trauma is the bleeding evidentiary wound of abuse and rape.

    • https://plus.google.com/101921644367573359355 Rb D

      Kristoff is being crucified among journalists. By his publshing Dylan, my estimation of him has gone up.

  • Elizabeth

    Re: Eva’s question about what we’d like to see happen to Woody – no, he can’t go to prison because the allegations could not be proven in court. Given our rape acculturated justice system, that’s no surprise. But even in a system that isn’t sex biased it’s possible that a thing could happen that could not be proven and then there is no conviction and then the accused does not go to prison. But such a result doesn’t “prove” the accused is innocent, merely that he can’t be proven guilty. More to the point, it doesn’t “prove” that the woman complaining is guilty of lying. Nor does it prove that we should ignore her or call her mentally unstable or a liar when she then speaks out about her abuse. As I’ve said elsewhere, I really don’t care what other people believe. I believe Dylan Farrow because her story rings so familiar to me. That’s doesn’t mean I’m for sure correct. Belief isn’t about being for sure correct. What it does mean is that I hold her in very high regard for telling the story that needs to be told, that I have told and received similar treatment, and that she and I will keep telling until it stops. Good for her. She doesn’t deserve this bullshit.

    • https://www.facebook.com/marille.herrmann Marille Herrmann

      see nothing wrong with shunning a pedophile.
      also, was Woody Allen ever been seriously questioned, hard, not gentleman style?

      • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

        The head doctor of the police-appointed medical team gave sworn testimony that Dylan “either invented the story under the stress of living in a volatile and unhealthy home or that it was planted in her mind by her mother” because of the inconsistent presentation of the story by Dylan.[40] Justice Elliot Wilk, who rejected Allen’s bid for full custody, and also denied him visitation rights with Dylan, wrote, “I am less certain, however, than is the Yale-New Haven team, that the evidence proves conclusively that there was no sexual abuse.”[38] In September 1993, Connecticut State Attorney Frank Maco announced that, while he had “probable cause” to prosecute Allen on charges of sexual molestation of Dylan, he was dropping the case to spare her the trauma of appearing in court.[41 Cited from Wikipedia.

  • http://tnt666.wordpress.com tnt666

    Three stories here: 1) WA career and life choices, 2) Soon-Yi, 3)Dylan
    1) Cinema has been my favourite art form since 1980, from many countries, independent, strange, animation, many languages, from many decades. Through all these years I have NEVER understood the adulation over this man. In my 34 years of cinephilia, all I’ve ever seen is an old misogynist male getting rich on selling female neurosis… So no, I have disliked him with a passion, since always. Worst, is that he has consistently treated his females as muses, and then used these women intimately, at least most of them, abusing his position of authority, as a big director over a young actress. He has been showing us his misogyny for a very long time.

    2) MF and WA adopted two additional kids, and bred a third (until a paternity test denies it). They were together from 80 to 92. WA was not “just a boyfriend”, he was her life partner… the house is irrelevant. One does not go through two adoptions with “just a boyfriend”. MF’s adopted children came from trauma environments. So dire that the Soon-Yi didn’t even know her own age. Once again, WA, abused his position of power, seducing his “life-partner”‘s traumatised kid, while the kid was still living under said “life partner”‘s roof. Stockholm Syndrome is too infrequently diagnosed, but it appears this is exactly what happened. An underaged traumatised girl is seduced by and old powerful man. He waits til the waters calm, then marries his victim. Understandably, mom is a little upset.

    At this point… any sympathy anybody had for WA should have been completely evaporated…

    3) Accusations of molestation/rape were declared insufficient for trial, but sufficient for denial of visitation, largely based on absence of genital lesions. Now this concept of rape leaving lesions might have been all the rage back in the olden days… But today’s forensic specialists know that spreading a girl’s legs after a rape almost never provides any useful information regarding said rape. The reason this post-rape form of examination has a history, is that people expect an “intact hymen” on a “virgin”. So, people looked for lesions, since obviously the kid is a virgin, so their should be lesions to the hymen. But two Swedish researchers spoke a taboo 3 years ago, and said the hymen was a biblical myth… And to prove this to yourselves, go spend a few weeks in a legal library, looking over the forensics of rapes, and see if you find any “hymens”, they simply do not exist. Our vagina’s are more or less open in 98% of neonates, less than 2% of females can be said to have a “hymen” in the biblical sense. The idea of “bleeding on the wedding bed” has more to do with penetrative incompetence and circumcision than “virginity”. A finger rape even on a neonate, skill fully done, will generally leave no lesions.

    Conclusion. Rape is generally a bloodless crime. The justice system deals in evidence, not words. Therefore, as females, we must come to the awful conclusion that the justice system, unless there are lesions, can do nothing for us. Therefore here lay our options as females without rape lesions: our words and/or our physical self-defence skills… either during or after the rape.

    • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Sundazed

      Don’t know if you heard (or read) the book “Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad” ?
      Its a fictional tale that I loved every second of.
      A group of women has this knitting circle in which they meet every week to knit and discuss things. One day they find out that they all have one thing in common; They have all been victims of rape so a plan is being developed, let’s declare open season on rapists.

      Came to think of this book when I read your last piece of your entry here.

      • http://tnt666.wordpress.com tnt666

        Wow, thanks :)
        I’m adding that to my reading list !

        • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Sundazed

          You’re welcome :)

          Not to spoil the book for you but one at one place this group of women put together a communique saying “We will quit killing rapists when men quit raping” and the vast majority of men cannot figure out what the message means heh.

  • polarcontrol

    Great piece.

    As to the question of “allegedly” & “no one really knows”, read this:

    http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/zunguzungu/woody-allens-good-name/

    • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

      Great article as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Sundazed

    This makes me think of R.D Lang, a psychiatrist, that came up wit ha set of rules as criteriasof a dysfunctional family:
    Rule A is don’t.
    Rule A1 is rule A does not exist and Rule A2 is never discuss the existence or non-existence of Rules A, A1 or A2.
    So within a dysfunctional family, what this means is that you can talk about anything besides the horrors you have to pretend isn’t happening.
    And if you do speak out, most often than not its met with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victim(s).

    And I would want to go a step further to say that this is true for the dominant culture–industrial civilisation–as a whole. We live in a completely dysfunctional culture. We live in a culture that has a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. And the same patterns can be seen here using R.D Langs rules for a dysfunctional family. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed it is fully rationalized while violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur, again, it is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

    • http://www.emotionalwellness.org Joystar

      We’ll put.

  • http://www.fatherstouch.com Donald D’Haene

    If Woody Allen was a no-talent smuck, people would probably believe Dylan and Mia. It takes an incredible narcissitic id to take nude pics of, date, marry your 12-year girlfriend’s 30-years younger adopted daughter and expect the world to believe you’re not into young girls and to think we have a problem because we are suspicious. Isn’t the reason abuse was in the closet forever was because people not only didn’t believe they didn’t care what was going on behind closed doors? We should never feel sorry for questioning such matters – it might save a future victim. I can remember lining up in New York and In Toronto for comedy shows arguing with a woman at each event who hated Mia but loved Woody and guess what? They thought Woody was innocent. Although I am a male survivour, I didn’t argue that Woody was guilty – I pointed out their feelings were coloured by the personal likes or dislikes for the characters involved. There is no alleged in my case (as there are 6 known victims of the same man, my father, and a conviction) and people still thought I was an angry brat for telling my story. All Dylan had to do is read any experience, any survivour’s memoir, listen to any talk show on the subject, and she would know there is as much negative in going public as there is positive. Even thought there was only 5 years between the last sexual abuse experience I had (ending 11 years from ages 4-15) and when I came forward, I still was asked why did I wait so long? Why didn’t I say no? And on and on….There are so many issues involved in this story…I can have empathy for Dylan, believe Mia is talented actress and great humanitarian and still believe Woody Allen is the brilliant director of Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters.

    • http://www.coalharbourdowntownpsychologist.com Sara david

      Thanks for sharing your story. You have courage. However it is disheartening that even you refer to this creep as “brilliant”. No he is “dark”.

  • BlindJustice?!

    Just a thought. How do you feel about “Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law”? Is that gender based hierarchal structures at work or democracy? Nice article but remember that until ANYONE regardless of gender they are just that “innocent until proven guilty” beyond reasonable doubt. Hindsight bias and “signs” do not constitute actual evidence and do little to prove anything.

    • http://tnt666.wordpress.com tnt666

      That is irrelevant to any female who desires to retain her bodily integrity. Since the justice system has nearly no power to protect females from rape… We must use our ability to assess context, and keep any creeps as far away from our life as possible. As females, we should use what we know as facts… his history, to never put ourselves in the path of such males. The justice system won’t do it, so we must ourselves.

    • TheLilithian

      Good thing this is public opinion and not a court of law, then. Stop derailing this conversation with non-applicable nonsense.

      • BlindJustice?!

        This may be a public forum but you are discussing a legal matter, ergo the process of that legal system is entirely relevant. You can choose to ignore the necessity for BOTH parties to be treated as innocent until proven guilty and be entitled to your opinion based on whatever you want. That is your prerogative. I was just pointing out that adopting a position that is just the polar opposite is equally as biased.

    • Missfit

      I’m going to provide the link that polarcontrol submitted earlier because you should seriously read it:

      http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/zunguzungu/woody-allens-good-name/

      Why don’t you extend the presumption of innocence to Dylan and presume that she is innocent of the crime of lying? WA is currently not on trial before a court of law and we don’t have to react to Dylan’s confessions as if we were a jury in such a trial. The malestream is always prompt to go to the defense of such man and plead caution with assumptions of lying women wanting to ruin a respectable man’s reputation instead of admitting that a victim’s story could be true and considering the implications. Here is you gender bias.

      We know that most rapes go unreported (for understandable reasons). We know that statistically, there are more rapes than false accusations being done. We know that the ‘it’s a he said/she said story so there is no truth’ mentality favors the abusers. We know victims are often penalized/ostracized for coming forward and abusers benefit from silence and denials. And we know we live in a rape culture but that it shouldn’t be said.

      • BlindJustice?!

        I think that extending the presumption of innocence to both parties is actually what I was saying we should be doing. She is absolutely innocent of perjury until there is any kind of reason to suggest otherwise. Reporting a crime is in no way grounds for even suspecting this. It is the balance of providing the premise of innocence to both parties that allows for a fair trial. To proceed in any other fashion derails the rights of both parties. Granted, in US pop-culture deference usually goes to the male and thus the debate of gender bias within the judicial system. However this is not necessarily the case all of the time. Dealing absolutes can place one on a slippery slope and provides many avenues for someone to undermine one’s position. I would pose this question: Does the presence of a female judge, or prosecuting attorney change or mitigate gender bias in rape cases?

        • Laur

          “Granted, in US pop-culture deference usually goes to the male and thus the debate of gender bias within the judicial system.”

          In pop-culture? No, rather in reality.

          “Does the presence of a female judge, or prosecuting attorney change or mitigate gender bias in rape cases? ”

          Female jurors are more likely to acquit accused rapists than men. Men know what men do and are capable of doing. Women who say they have experienced rape can be taken as biased, and thus not placed on a jury. Presumably, the defense would try to rule out any woman with a history of feminist activism.

          I cannot imagine what it must be like to see your abuser admired wherever you go–there’s no escape from how celebrated he is.

          Most women do not take their abuser to court because they KNOW they will not be believed–as displayed by many comments and articles throughout the Internet. They also do not want to have to say what they went through in front of strangers, knowing the defense will try to tear them down.

          There are other ways of getting justice besides/in addition to using the legal system. The fact that a woman has not taken her abuser to court does not mean anything, except she has good reason to believe she won’t be taken seriously. Telling the public what she endured and who Allen really is (to her), is one way Dylan is asserting her own trust in herself and respect for what she’s been through.

  • sporenda

    “Understood, but what exactly do we as feminists like to see happen to Allen? Prison without another trial? Does this solve the underlying issues? It would give Farrow some peace of mind, I do not doubt that. I also support that but it does not put the many other issues to rest.”

    It would send a clear warning to the guys who abuse kids sexually and think they can get away with it because they are rich and famous:, you will not escape trial and prison in the future.

    Can you name just one rich and famous rapist or pedophile who has done time in jail lately?

    Not one. Only poor disenfranchised men go to jail for these crimes–sometimes.

    And these abuses will go on as long as people say that sending criminals to prison doesn’t solve the underlying issues.
    The underlying issues are: rape culture, the fact that rape and pedophilia are widely tolerated, not taken seriously at all in our society, and very seldom punished.

    The first thing to correct this situation is to listen to the victims and make sure that the criminals pay dearly for their behavior.

    Rape and pedophilia are crimes without punishment: can you imagine the rate of murders we would have if this crime was punished as unfrequently as rape?

  • lizor

    Such a great post with some really excellent comments.

    I have little to add besides empathizing with Dylan’s description of her feelings seeing his image and work everywhere. My rapist is an artist too, so I am forced to confront his “expressions” from time to time. It never stops hurting.

    One thing that always caught me in watching WA films (I stopped watching eventually): the dialogue between two characters after they have sex – it is always, for the WA character, at least, as if they’d each gone off to separate buildings and did something far away from one another. “How was it for you?”??? How the fuck do you think it was Woody, you were there! It just seems like this is a man whose sexuality is entirely solipsistic – he has no sense whatsoever of the human being he is using. Those lines, even when I was a teenager, always struck me as really creepy and that WA as he wrote himself as a sexual person was pretty revolting.

  • Pingback: If you think Dylan Farrow is a delusional liar and that the real victim is Woody Allen, there is a 1000% chance that I hate you. | Dissent of a Woman()

  • Charlie

    Unfortunately her word can’t stand up in a court, it’s her word against his and that can’t convict anyone of anything
    She won’t get anywhere because there is presumably no evidence of any abuse apart from her word which again means very little in a court

    I do think it’s wrong to discredit either Allen or Farrow, but then again what would you expect? Farrow’s word needs to be discredited (from the eyes of Allen’s allies) and Allen needs to be discredited (from the eyes of Farrow’s allies) The whole thing is a sad mess and I don’t see it going anywhere

    Allen needs to be defended however, as does Farrow, as all there is against him is Farrow’s word, and there is presumably no evidence to support her claim so shunning Allen is as bad as shunning Farrow.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Except that shunning Allen doesn’t equate to sexually abusing him…

      • Charlie

        No one is shunning Farrow by sexually abusing her, and at this moment there is no evidence that Allen did rape Farrow, if there was he would be in the Slammer, case currently closed.

        Also the assumption that Allen must be a pedophile because he was in films where he had a young love interest is a bit far fetched isn’t it? Does that make all people who have young partners potential pedophiles?

        As to ‘Why Defend Woody Allen?’ one can reply with ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and at this very time there is nothing to prove that he raped Farrow. If there was the authorities would throw him into the Slammer and he would rightfully rot but that’s ‘if’ and so far there’s nada.

        You can imply as much as you like that he raped Farrow but to convict someone of a crime that heinous you need solid incontrovertible evidence

        • Meghan Murphy

          My point was that the damage sexual abuse does to a person far outweighs and ‘damage’ that would be done to Allen by shunning him.

          • Charlie

            What’s that got to do with the legitimacy of either’s word in Court?

          • Meghan Murphy

            What is your point? This isn’t court. No one’s going to court. Allen isn’t going to be charged with anything. So what are you talking about?

          • Charlie

            You can’t answer my question with another question. If Farrow truely cares then she will go to court and bring Allen to justice, if she doesn’t then what’s the whole point of the debate, why should you ask if why we should defend Allen if Allen isn’t going to face another trial, it all seems hopelessly pointless

          • Meghan Murphy

            I can answer your questions however I like, Charlie. You are arguing a non-point. Say something relevant please.

            It may seem ‘pointless’ to you, but maybe that’s because you aren’t the one who was sexually abused. You are in absolutely NO position to decide how Farrow should ‘care.’ What you aren’t getting is that THIS ISN’T A DEBATE. This is not simply an intellectual puzzle for you sort out (oh molestation! How INTERESTING). This is about women’s lives and the way in which men feel free to destroy them simply because they have the urge and the power to.

          • Charlie

            where’s the evidence she was raped again?

            If you do have evidence, please do something with it

          • Meghan Murphy

            I can’t tell you how difficult it is not to call you a sociopath and tell you to fuck off, Charlie,

    • Lauren

      With your logic, I should shun Julian Assange as well because shunning him doesn’t equate to sexually abusing him. This is vendetta.

      • http://tnt666.wordpress.com tnt666

        JA’s present sexual allegation is of a nature that would not go to court in any other G20 country. He also does not have a entire life biography and career founded on misogyny… Not a valid comparison. But I challenge you to find one, analogies can sometimes be useful… if the context is sufficiently equal.

  • https://plus.google.com/103607089880422611951 ramada luvsick

    Im very happy to say I have always HATED every movie allen has made, there was always a creepy feel about them, the last of his movies I saw was on that featured Scarlett Johansson, as a fan of HER i watched it and found it completely MISOGYnistic, so I refuse to watch movies that go against my gender and i have being like that since i was a Baby, so mostly i dont watch tv or movies and today I feel HAPPY that at least I didnt contribute to make that LOSER PERVERT PEDOPHILE powerful, I think we need to find a way to take over media, blogs like this are absolutely superb but there needs to be more ffeminist movies, shows and songs, and By feminist I mean a comedy or a show where the woman does NOT let a man guilt trip her or gaslight her or judge her, for example I saw the last chapter of “Girls” which I thought could be a feminist series, but then it wasnt, basically the editor of the main character dies and she doesnt really care, which is normal, why should she? but then her ASS “boyfriend” gets angry at her “because she is bad, she doesnt care about the dead man”, and judge her, criticize her, guilt her, he treats her really bad and she PUTS UP WITH IT and start apologizing for how she feels, come on!! thats the most patriarchal thing u can do, to apologize for ur feelings, instead she could have said something like, ” Listen “honey” I feel what I feel and U HAVE NO RIGHT TO JUDGE ME or PUT ME DOWN FOR IT, everytime u start guilting me, criticising me or being angry at my for my feelings, I will just LEAVE this room, or this apartment, or eventually YOU. but NO instead she apologizes for the whole show, really? gee…12 yrs old use this shows as rolemodels, plis plis….really girlfriends get ur asses to work if u want to take the throne of those pedobears, and dont waste ur time in men, men only use women to succeed and make them sink in the process.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Not to completely derail this convo into one about Girls (which I, admittedly, love) — re: the episode/plot line you mention — the flip side of your critique is that when I watched, I totally related to Hannah in that scenario, not Adam, and I bet a lot of other women did too… I don’t know that it made her seem evil, perhaps a little self-absorbed (but hey, the book is her life’s work!), but Hannah’s character is very self-absorbed, so makes sense!

    • amongster

      just a note: the movie “her” was not made by allen but spike jonze (was actually looking forward to it. it sounded interesting, but then i also read that it was very problematic… too bad).

  • pisaquari

    Public Service Announcement about Art:

    Humans have been walking this Earth for – roughly/arguably – 200,000 years. And since that time we have been creating art/objectifying our expression through writing, pictures, movement, recorded media, live performance, etc.—there is a lot of non-rapist art out there! THERE IS NO REASON YOUR LIFE CANNOT GO ON /WILL BE COMPROMISED BC YOU CANNOT CONSUME OR CELEBRATE THE WORK OF RAPISTS.

    So go ahead and remove R. Kelly from your Ipod, Polanski from your dvd collection, your Annie Hall movie poster from your wall. I promise, they can be replaced (not a full-fledged endorsement, but some starting places):

    http://www.newpages.com/
    http://www.wmm.com/
    http://artfem.tv/
    http://www.bloodblistersisters.com/
    http://www.pacificaradioarchives.org/
    http://nyangoma.wordpress.com/
    http://bcrw.barnard.edu/podcasts/
    http://radfem.org/dworkin/
    http://ssfeministart.omeka.net/

    • sporenda

      “She won’t get anywhere because there is presumably no evidence of any abuse apart from her word which again means very little in a court”.

      If the courts see it this way–that the words of a victim can never be believed, there is no way pedophiles can ever be punished: a 7 year old kid is in no position to go to the police, file a complaint and request a medical exam.
      She can’t even put the word rape on what was done to her, doesn’t even know what rape is. And the agressor tells her it’s normal, it’s what fathers or stepfathers do to their daughters to show they love them.
      So she wont talk about the rape to anybody, and it’s only years later that she understands that it was not normal and speaks to her mother or a friend.
      But then she is told it’s too late, and why didn’t she speak earlier?

      The problem with the treatment of rape in court, is that there are so many absurd prerequisites for the rape to be considered “real rape” that most rapes don’t qualify.

      The system is carefully designed so that rape trials are such an obstacle course for victims that rapists almost always go scot free.

      • Charlie

        In most recent rape cases there’s likely to be a lot of evidence (semen samples, tissue damaging ect) which the Police can use to help convict rapists

        Farrow is in a tough situation in that the supposed rape must have been decades ago, any evidence is either gone or perished. Sadly for her all she has is her word

        I do think that the Court System will always struggle with dealing with sexual assault cases due to the sheer complexity of them, but I don’t think that the entire court system is engineered to save rapists, otherwise they’d simply make rape legal, surely?

        • lizor

          “I do think that the Court System will always struggle with dealing with sexual assault cases due to the sheer complexity of them”

          “Sheer complexity” is a copout. Many crimes are complex – and the damage done to the victim in relation to the benefit to the criminal is rarely, if ever, as out of whack as sex crimes, especially those perpetrated on children. A person’s life is destroyed in service to someone’s orgasm.

          A life is destroyed so a dude can come.

          “Complexity”???

          How about the fact that women have been legally characterized as non-persons, and as the domestic, sexual and reproductive property of men until less than a century ago? How about the ubiquitous fetishizing of young “innocent” female bodies and the fact that a victim knows that when the details of their ordeal is being relived and repeated in public that many people will be aroused by the accounts (thanks “Barely Legal” porn!).

          Characterizing a “justice” system that is deeply embedded in this cultural history and the public mindset that is promoted within such a lived history as “complex” does not begin to cover the intertwined prejudices that make it so difficult for people like Dylan Farrow and other victims to even hope for justice.

          • Me

            “Complexity” is just a way of saying look, if we took justice for women and girls seriously, can you imagine all that would cause us?

            Who’s us? They want us to identify and align our concept of justice with the interests of the perpetrators.

          • lizor

            Well said, Me.

            I just saw this statement by Glenn Greenwald in response to a question about his past participation in a profitable pornography enterprise: “My personal life … is complex”

            Yes, the notion that that machinations that enable men to access exactly the stimulus they choose in order to have an orgasm is too “complex” to delve into seems to be a bit of a mantra. I actually think the motives to such actions are very simple.

            It’s the defence of a culture that reproduces the idea that males have a right to use others to get off that’s complex (or, more accurately, doggedly irrational) – not unlike trying to confront an addict about his destructive behaviour.

          • Me

            My hat’s off to Farrow for getting clear enough to be able to say “this is how it was.” That they don’t want to be held accountable and responsible is very simple.

    • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

      I think Feminist Current actually posted about this in an article titled “What are our responsibilities in navigating rape culture? On R. Kelly and separating art from life” by Jennifer Kim. It’s on the front page. Maybe I should post this there but since we’re on the topic..

      I am against this idea, and agree with Paula below. There are art classes in prison systems, should we take that away from the creators or destroy their work? Does reading Mein Kampf mean you’re supporting the Nazi regime? Charles Manson biographies must mean the authors are promoting his beliefs? You may as well be for book burning, or movie burning or music burning.

      On top of that, it’s a tad hypocritical because that would this very article is doing the same thing because it notes Woody Allen by name. Just like noting R.Kelly by name in the article noted above. You would think that by bringing up the individual it resonates and spreads. We’re not omitting his voice and he is not known as “he who must not be named”.

      It omits the voices of many, including those wrongly accused in the judicial system. Silently protesting by not watching, viewing, or reading something about an individual is like ignoring their very existence and you stay uninformed.

      Say you don’t know J.D Salinger had liasons with young women and it is handed to you in high school. To me it is up to the teacher to bring it up if they are aware of it to their classmates, instead of disregarding the credability of the work itself and omitting it from their education.

      I don’t believe anything should be silenced or put to rest in hopes it benefits the person who was marginalized.How else would we know that Woody Allen is a creep because of Manhattan?

      I have never seen R.Kelly’s Trapped In A Closet. I have never listened to his music but I know who he is and what he’s done. Do I run out to see his stuff? No, because it doesn’t interest me anyway from a personal stand point. Will I never see it as a form of silent protest? I can’t say that I won’t or that I may or may not be exposed to it over time. Should I say to my friend who likes it “Hey, this guy is a non-convicted pedophile and maybe we should discuss his work in relation to that or perhaps we should protest this in a physical way?” Yes, absolutely.

  • Paula

    I have to confess: I’m confused reading the direction of the comments here. While I certainly think Allen is probably guilty of Farrow’s charges, it just doesn’t stop me from loving his films. I know some people here have commented on disliking his films, finding them misogynistic and creepy and whatnot. I guess in those cases, you never really cared for his work anyway so throwing his work to the wayside is no big deal to you. But I honest-to-goodness love his films and find a lot of merit in them and I wonder why his being a horrible person should have any impact on whether or not I adore and watch his films. I’m not saying that my loving his films means I defend his actions or don’t think he should be punished. Like I said, I’m sure he’s guilty and he should pay the price for what he’s done to his daughter. But I fail to see why this entails my boycotting his works or ripping down my “Interiors” poster from my wall!

    • Meghan Murphy

      I don’t think you need to necessarily boycott his work in order to believe he is an abuser, to support Dylan, and to NOT support Allen. I found this post useful, re: what you’re getting at here: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/when-an-artist-you-admire-is-an-accused-predator

      • Margaret McCarroll

        “Their pain trumps anything in that moment” – Tanya Steele , February 3, 2014

    • http://tnt666.wordpress.com tnt666

      In following to Meghan’s response to your comment…
      “[…] why his being a horrible person should have any impact on whether or not I adore and watch his films” […]
      It’s not. But you adoring his films, as a female I presume by your name, does say something about your ability to pick-up on misogyny in every day pop culture. But you’re not unique in this, and it’s not your fault. We live in a society who’s very foundations are misogynistic, and most people spend entire lifetimes not ‘ever’ noticing misogyny. To your credit, at least you pick up some of it.
      I truly think that if you sit yourself down and binge on his films for a couple of weeks online… and put on your feminist or your “equalist” hat, you will see the absolute misogyny that permeates through his entire cinematic career.

      On a similar note, someone mentioned his new blond muse… I won’t speak her name because in my cinephile opinion, it does not matter that she can remember lines, and pout ever so “prettily”,… she is a walking, talking, sexist stereotype, working in the company of misogynistic creepy old men.

      In order to intellectually honest with ourselves, I think it’s important that the personifications I like in film are in-line with the performances put on by our real life fella citizens.

      • Paula

        tnt666: Well, you certainly jumped to some conclusions there. I DO watch his films while wearing my feminist hat. I AM able to pick up on misogyny in every day pop culture. I would argue that some of my favorite Allen films showcase interesting, complex female characters. I prefer these characters over the tired old “strong woman” trope I see in trying-to-be-feminist movies and television shows. But, let’s say for the sake of argument that I did find some of his work misogynistic. I would probably still think they were great films with unfortunate hints of misogyny in the same way that I think ‘Seinfeld’ is one of the greatest comedy shows ever with unfortunate hints of racism and misogyny and in the same way that I think some of Aristotle’s works are the greatest in philosophy despite the very explicit racism and sexism. I can enjoy and even adore works while simultaneously critiquing them.

        Meghan: Regarding the article you linked. . . According to this argument, I would be left with not much to read, watch, look at or listen to because a lot of great artists, writers, musicians and philosophers were really f*cked up people with respect to their personal lives. And how far does my protest extend? Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre abused their position of power to have sex with their students (and literally f*cked up the lives of some of them. . and then they went on to adopt their lovers *as their children* so that their lovers would have legal rights over their work). If I boycott de Beauvoir’s work, should I boycott those heavily influenced by her (such as Betty Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique”) or those whose works gives a nod to de Beauvoir? Maybe it’s not much a deal now because she’s dead, but what if she were alive? Or someone like Gertrude Stein who partied with Nazi soldiers (thus securing her safety while in France during the war) and had the most horrifically misogynistic reasons for living a lesbian life and had horrifically racist views? Something just doesn’t make sense about importing those personal details into reasons why I should or should not care deeply (and continue to care deeply) for their works.

        • https://www.facebook.com/evabowering Eva Bowering

          Much more well put then my own comment. Thank you. :)

        • http://tnt666.wordpress.com tnt666

          I did not assume anything… you confirmed it again, you see nothing misogynistic in his work.
          IMHO, as long as we choose to compartmentalise people in discrete categories, misogyny will never end. His real life and his actions are a continuum. I don’t find your comparison of ALL teachers w ALL students valid… though SOME situations are clearly worse than others. The term “student” spans all age groups and levels. So to just throw that out there to invalidate my point is useless. WA is a particular example of consistency… not perfect consistency… but overall. So yes, of his multiple films, there are 1-2 I didn’t entirely dislike, but none I loved. I find him to be an inacceptable human being, and I would never choose to be in his entourage.

          • Paula

            You’re arguing for something that I’m not arguing. I’m not arguing about whether or not Woody Allen has misogynistic films. I’m arguing about whether or not we have an obligation to avoid consuming what we take to be great art upon finding out some horrific truth about the artist behind the work. If you don’t take Allen’s works to be great art, fine. .. pick someone else. That’s why I bring up someone like de Beauvoir. . if she were alive today and I were a big fan of hers and I learn that she is basically the equivalent of Hugo Schwyzer when it comes to inappropriate use of power to gain sexual favors from her students (which she and Sartre did over and over again), am I obligated to remove ‘the second sex’ and all her novels from my bookshelf, or not teach her philosophy to my students, and never buy anything of hers again. In my earlier comment, I’m taking the position that one should consume critically. . . I would continue reading her works and teaching them to my students but in the beginning of the course mention her major fail and ask students to look out for instances in her works in which her major fail may have had some impact on her view. Or, take someone that everyone pretty much loves like Alfred Hitchcock who was reportedly AWFUL to his lead actresses. I’m not trying to rank pedophilia, sleeping with students, being abusive to lead actresses, racism, etc. .. I’m just saying all of these things are horrific and should be punished but I’m not sure they invalidate the quality of great work if the artist commits or has committed one of them.

          • lizor

            Actually, you did state that you watch films with your “feminist hat”* on and that you love his films and his female characters.

            So it does seem that you are arguing about misogyny in WA films.

            *frankly, mine is my mind and brain – something I can never successfully take off, even if I want to.

  • A.N.

    Thanks for this article. What I personally can’t get over as I follow this ordeal is that it’s all just horrifyingly…. well, the only for it is typical.. I don’t say that dismissively — quite the opposite. This, right here, is the true face of this crime. This is the norm. And I’m so tired of people continuing to act baffled by the idea that a pedophile could be a smart, charismatic, well-liked pillar of the community who struck everyone he ever met as all-around great guy. OF COURSE THEY ARE! That’s what they do! That’s how they operate! I have no trouble believing these allegations about a man who is funny, engaging, and beloved by millions, who established a brand — an entire subgenre of cinema, even — around his own carefully cultivated public image of eccentric charm, and an oeuvre of work that frames destructive, mentally ill male characters as cute, harmless, and sympathetic.

    Why does our society cling to the cartoonish notion that pedophiles are all lecherous drifters in dirty trenchcoats and white vans? Far, far more of them look, speak, and act exactly like Woody Allen. They’re smart, and they’re savvy, and they don’t just groom and seduce children — they groom and seduce every single person around them, knowing that those people will form a human shield if they’re ever held accountable for their crimes. My own father was a social worker. He was a white collar, white knight of the community, removing children from unsafe homes and making sure abusive, dangerous parents were held accountable for their actions. After I disclosed what he was doing to me, his coworkers at Children’s Protective Services all came to the trial and sat on his side of the courtroom, crying and holding hands and supporting him. They were government employees who had been trained to know better, to BE better, and they actually dared to chastise my mother for letting me ruin a great man’s career. They were willing to put their own jobs in jeopardy for the same reasons celebrities are defending Woody — a magnetic personality and good sense of humor are, amazingly, all a white man in the United States needs to be considered above reproach.

    I was luckier than Dylan Farrow; there was evidence, and my abuser was sent to prison. When he died there six years later, the circumstances required that I interact with some of those same people he’d worked with — former family friends who’d listened to a twelve year old’s graphic testimony and prayed for a not-guilty verdict. I thought maybe after all that time I’d be able to engage with that situation and retain some dignity, but since I was eighteen by then, it was legal for them to smugly inform me that they’d been taking turns visiting him every month since his incarceration, and he’d forgiven me and hoped I’d get help. Even when you “win” and get “justice” as a sexual abuse victim, there’s no sense of victory involved; it just makes you more of a target for the condescension and speculation, And the people who lob that at you actually believe they’re in the right — that’s how impossible it is for them to accept that they’ve been tricked, and someone that evil was in their midst while they had no idea.

    It’s disgusting and sad and demoralizing, but I’m eternally grateful to Ms. Farrow for being outspoken about what she’s survived. Bravery like that is the only thing that will change this status quo. People need to be aware of predators like Woody Allen, and they need to keep being made aware — and keep seeing and hearing and watching discussions about this, until it stops sounding preposterous and stops seeming excusable.

  • Laura

    Love this article!!! Couldn’t agree more :)

    • sporenda

      “due to the sheer complexity of them, but I don’t think that the entire court system is engineered to save rapists, otherwise they’d simply make rape legal, surely?”

      Not exactly, read the different histories of rape that have been written by historians, you will see that there was always some sort of theoretical reprobation and punishment for rape, in Western societies, because it’s impossible to condone rape explicitly in societies based on “Christian values” and also on the preservation of rights of property of men over women.

      However, since there was never any intent to punish rape per se, drastic conditions were set so that very few rapes would be considered as such.
      In essence , the only rapes that were punished were the rape of the daughter/wife of a rich and powerful man by a poor man: the rapist “stole” and dammaged the property of the rich father/husband, the purity of the bloodline could be compromised, or the mariageability of the daughter was compromised.

      But the rape of a poor girl by a rich and powerful man was never punished, there is not one single example in history of a man punished for that.

      If a woman was seen as a slut, a prostitute, an outcast, of she had no male to protect her, she could be raped at will.
      And of course, a man could not rape his wife even he had sex with her against her will because he was just exercising his property right as a husband.
      So the idea was that some (very few) rapes were a no-no, but most were ok, or even protected under the law.

      Essentially, the system was designed to recognize rape only when the woman was “respectable”: married (and faithfull) or a virgin, and a member of the upper classes.
      Outside this category, it was open season.

      There are still leftovers of this system embedded in the modern treatment of rape in court. There are still absurd prerequisites that raped women have to meet to be taken seriously.

      Example: I am now interviewing a woman who has been raped by her rich and famous boss. She sued him, her case was dismissed. The reasons given by the shrinks who provided a psychological expertise of this woman for the court were:
      – she did not resign from her job after she was raped (like being raped is not enough, she’d have to be unemployed and starving too)
      – she returned to the place (hotel/restaurant) where the rape took place (like if you have been raped at your place, you’d have to move out immediately )
      – she continued to have sex with her husband (according to the experts, she should have refused to have sex with him after the rape).

      This is so incredibly absurd, it’s again men pretending to define what women are supposed to feel and do after they are raped.

  • Margaret McCarroll

    I’m forever in the Farrow camp and have been since 1992. The cruelty and selfishness of woody allen in seducing his partner’s daughter is beyond imagining. Let us first consider the man who could do such a thing. Allen wants us to believe that Soon-Yi is the love of his life and we are to bow before such a monumental romance and forgive this monstrous transgression in the name of love. Give me a break, I
    don’t believe it.

    And he spins it another way: that his ‘relationship with Farrow, which had been painted storybook colors by the press, was not actually all that strong.’ (Chelsea J. Carter and Ralph Ellis, CNN, Feb. 2, 2014). Mia was in 13 Allen films, adopted two children with him, and had his child. They were a couple for 12 years. His claim that the relationship was not that strong is not believable and exceedingly callous

    In the custody hearing, Judge Wilk called Allen a”self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive” father. (Peter Marks, NY Times, June 8, 1993). Was the custody case not just a smokescreen by Allen’s spin team obscuring Allen’s actions and character. ‘Justice Wilk portrayed Allen as devious, hurtful and unreliable.’ (Ibid.). Allen is a storyteller and he thinks he can craft a story that will convince us.

    But there are just too many inconsistencies. In Dylan Farrow’s open letter, there are just too many creepy details: his thumb in her mouth, in bed with her in his underwear, his head in her naked lap,,, Any parents out there think that is healthy and normal? Not this parent. Any parents out there think this sounds made up? Not this parent.

    The spin team will not attack Dylan Farrow. That would ignite a firestorm of support for her. They will pound away at Mia and do their best to destroy her. Don’t buy their spin. It’s just their only tactic to deflect the light from shining on Allen.

    P.S. for all those extolling the virtues of Allen’s ‘art’ – buying a ticket to his movies supports him financially. Don’t give him the money to make more ‘art’. If he’s such a great artist he won’t need the multimillion dollars and I’m sure his sycophantic actor friends will work for free just for the joy of working with such an ‘artist’.

    Brilliant article Meghan Murphy. Thank you so much.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Blaming mothers is always a popular pass time in a patriarchy, isn’t it?

    • lizor

      Well said. I agree with everything you’ve written Margaret.

  • sporenda

    Good article on The Atlantic that explains why men who rape children cannot be brought to justice: And the rapists know that.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/02/why-young-sexual-assault-victims-tell-incoherent-stories/283613/

  • sporenda

    “Meghan: Regarding the article you linked. . . According to this argument, I would be left with not much to read, watch, look at or listen to because a lot of great artists, writers, musicians and philosophers were really f*cked up people with respect to their personal lives.”

    I think you are confusing two different situations here.
    Reading the books of a pro-nazi, racist or misogynistic DEAD writer does not amount to giving him your money: he is dead, the copyright is expired, you are just paying the publisher when you buy the book.

    Allen is alive, and when you buy a ticket for one of his movies, you are litterally giving your money to the guy.
    With the money he makes from his films, he pays among other things …top lawyers to protect him against the accusations of child abuse.

    I liked some of his movies, although I found the misogynistic overtones annoying. But plausible accusations of child abuse, this is very serious, and I am not to pay any of my good feminist money to watch any of his futures movies.
    They are no longer very good anyway, he is a spent force, it’s not going to be a big loss.

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