I’ve never seen a Woody Allen movie.
For a long time, that was a scar on my knowledge of pop culture. It never bothered me (everything I saw of his schtick made me like it less and less), but I still felt that I should probably see something of his.
You know…Annie Hall. Or Manhattan. One of the classics. Just to get a feel of what I have been missing.
Not any more. Not now.
There is no way I could see one of his films with a clear conscience after reading the incredibly courageous Open Letter From Dylan Farrow. That would be impossible, because I would be thinking of this the whole time;
What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies.
This is the point where, in many articles about this particular case, the author is careful to indicate that Woody Allen was never actually prosecuted and maintains his innocence to this day.
I don’t really care to do that. Woody Allen has had 20 years of freedom, accolades, and a press and public willing to look the other way. He doesn’t need me to do the same.
Instead, I would like to simply thank Dylan Farrow for her honesty and her courage. Even today, survivors of sexual abuse are told to be quiet, to stop making waves, blamed for breaking up their families.
Told their memories are false. That their trauma is insignificant.
That they should grow up. Man up. Quit being a bitch. Home-wrecker. Pussy. Crybaby.
Get over it.
Maybe it is because I have two daughters, six and seven years of age.
Maybe it’s because I work with the victims of sexual abuse every day.
Maybe it is because there is a sexual assault every two minutes in the US.
Maybe it is because 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys is sexually assaulted before the age of 18 in the US.
Maybe it is because 70% of all rapes in America go unreported.
There will always be Woody Allen’s in the world.
Monsters with the voices of angels. Demons in the skin of men. Predators hiding behind success, or wealth, or respectability, or a uniform, or a robe.
But no matter the reason, it is incredibly important that we find, in the face of unutterable pain and trauma, the strength to speak up for those who have no voice. If we don’t advocate for them, who will?
I will never see a Woody Allen movie. It might not make a difference in the end.
But it’s a start.