Why Dylan Farrow’s Open Letter About Woody Allen Is So Important

by Emma Pacchiana

Young Dylan with her mother Mia Farrow

In the wake of the publication of Dylan Farrow’s open letter this Saturday, which included a full explanation of the years-old accusations of molestation by her adoptive father Woody Allen, a statement from Allen’s publicist has been the second highest-profile rebuttal of her accusation of abuse by the famous director. The first, a Daily Beast article published even before the letter came out, which opened up a heated discussion about Allen’s culpability, and Hollywood’s treatment of the men who do these horrible things.

The Daily Beast article, written by a man who essentially owes his career to Woody Allen, has rightfully come under fire since Farrow’s letter was published. Members of her family, notably her brother Ronan Farrow, have spoken out previously against Allen, and his relationship with Mia’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn has been controversial since their marriage in 1997. After the unsurprising opinion of Allen’s spokesperson, that her allegations are “untrue and disgraceful,” it’s clear that Farrow’s letter will be subject to the harsh scrutiny and suspicion that almost without fail accompanies accusations of sexual abuse. Even the opening to the letter finds New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof stating that since Allen was never tried in a courtroom, he “deserves the presumption of innocence.” No such “presumption” is afforded to Farrow’s words.

The well-circulated most recent photo of Dylan 

It’s worth considering Farrow’s position in a world that attempts to silence her. She now lives under a different name with her family, with no reason to want publicity or exposure for herself; she had nothing to gain from writing this letter, except personal release and support for other sexual assault and abuse survivors. In an awards season that’s so far celebrated not only Allen but other accused abusers David O. Russell and Michael Fassbender, it’s crucial to examine how often the women in these stories are ignored, criticized, or dismissed when they go public with their stories. Dylan Farrow’s letter is not just important evidence of how unjust our culture can be to victims of abuse, but an inspiring example for any woman who has ever been told she shouldn’t speak out, or was attacked when she did. We owe her our support, and we as a society owe a debt to her and all the women who have ever been in her position.

Please share your thoughts on the matter below in the comment section. We gladly welcome your comments and opinions.

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