Crimes and Misdemeanors
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 17, 2014 15:02
On February 1, 2014 Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of now divorced Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, wrote an open letter in the New York Times detailing her personal account of the abuse she dealt with in the early 1990’s from her now estranged adoptive father. This news took the media by storm as many began to question both Allen and Farrow about the resurfacing allegations. On February 7, 2014 Allen responded to Farrow’s public tell-all, once again once again denying the charges that were brought against him in 1993.
After reading both letters and thinking about the highly personal effects of such a situation, I cannot help but sympathize with both parties. I’m sure that having this all play out in the public eye only exacerbates the pain and frustration felt by all involved.
Farrow’s heart-wrenching letter stood out to me. There was a sense of emotional release in her writing. After all these years of remaining quiet, and as Allen has received much acclaim for his beloved films, one can only imagine how difficult it was to finally tell her story. It is worth noting that roughly three weeks prior to the publishing of Farrow’s letter, Allen received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 70th annual Golden Globe awards. This has been seen as a tipping point for this widespread debate as many think that Allen shouldn’t have received such an honor.
Allen’s main argument in his letter seems to be that Dylan (at seven years old) was “coached by Mia Farrow”. This makes me question Allen, as Dylan Farrow is now twenty-eight years old and perfectly capable of forming her own thoughts and opinions on what happened to her. After all, Farrow is the only person who can accurately tell her story.
It is just as vital that Allen come out with his statement. Without both letters it would be very simple to dismiss Allen as a sex offender, as many had (myself included) prior to February 7. Allen undoubtedly presents a solid argument as a panel of experts cleared him. He also passed a lie detector test that Mia Farrow refused to take in 1993. His argument that Dylan was coached could also be seen as viable, if indeed Farrow’s mind was affected by the ideas inflicted by Mia Farrow. Allen has always been a character of controversy in Hollywood as he still maintains his marriage with Soon-Yi Previn, Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter who was just 19 years old when their relationship began in 1991 (Allen was 56).
I cannot overemphasize how important it is that sexual assault victims come forth with their stories. Perhaps the most important thing to come out of this is the open dialogue about the issue of sexual abuse it has generated. It is safe to say that Farrow’s bravery could set an example for many victims struggling with whether or not to come forward.
As many have already said, the sad truth about this scandal is that in all likelihood, no one will ever know what truly happened. There has been nothing presented that clearly proves either Allen’s guilt or his innocence. As is the case with most sex crimes, as time has passed it has grown more and more unlikely that any such proof will ever surface. Overall I am saddened by this situation and hope that at some point, there will be a resolution for Farrow and Allen.
I’d like to leave with one final note: According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, in 2009 only 2-8% of sexual assault reports ended up being false.