Woody Allen’s Son Speaks Out for Sister, Other Sexual Abuse Victims

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Woody Allen’s daughter, Dylan Farrow, has accused the famous director and actor of sexually abusing her as a child.  Despite these damning allegations, Allen’s new movie, Cafe Society, opened at the Cannes Film Festival, and the star remains hugely popular.

Ronan Farrow, the brother of Dylan and son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, has now gone public with his thoughts on this very public family scandal in a story in The Hollywood Reporter.

Ronan understands the reluctance to accuse his famous father of abusing a child, recognizing the enormous backlash any accusations would trigger. When his sister first tried to go public, the media killed the story outright. Finally, in 2014, the story got some minor coverage. At that time, although Ronan was by then a reporter and a lawyer, he distanced himself:

Initially, I begged my sister not to go public again and to avoid speaking to reporters about it. I’m ashamed of that, too. With sexual assault, anything’s easier than facing it in full, saying all of it, facing all of the consequences. Even now, I hesitated before agreeing to The Hollywood Reporter‘s invitation to write this piece, knowing it could trigger another round of character assassination against my sister, my mother or me.

Ronan re-examined his position and decided he had to stand with his sister. As he explains:

But when Dylan explained her agony in the wake of powerful voices sweeping aside her allegations, the press often willing to be taken along for the ride, and the fears she held for young girls potentially being exposed to a predator — I ultimately knew she was right. I began to speak about her more openly, particularly on social media. And I began to look carefully at my own decisions in covering sexual assault stories.

I believe my sister.

Those last words are so powerful. They are a good reminder of what every victim of child sexual abuse needs to hear from their loved ones and their supporters: “I believe you and it wasn’t your fault.”

Now, Ronan is glad he made the decision to stand with his sister and support her as she tells her story. He realizes that facing up to powerful men who abuse children – whether they are world famous or only powerful in their own schools, churches, or homes – sends a message to other abuse victims that they can come forward too.

As Ronan says:

[S]ilence isn’t just wrong. It’s dangerous. It sends a message to victims that it’s not worth the anguish of coming forward. It sends a message about who we are as a society, what we’ll overlook, who we’ll ignore, who matters and who doesn’t.

We are witnessing a sea change in how we talk about sexual assault and abuse. But there is more work to do to build a culture where women like my sister are no longer treated as if they are invisible. It’s time to ask some hard questions.

 

 

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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