Dylan Farrow has shared her very personal account of being sexually assaulted by Woody Allen, her adopted father, in the New York Times. Most commenters around the web are rushing to defend Allen, claiming he was “exonerated” back in 1993 when it was first reported. Claiming that the fact that Mia and Dylan didn’t take it all the way to criminal court means it was a lie. Claiming Mia is the guilty one, because coaching her child to tell a story she was too young to even understand is the sort of thing she’d do.
Her story is credible. She describes a grooming process that is the sort of detail liars don’t think to include because it doesn’t sound that bad. She talks about asking her mom if that’s simply something dads do to daughters because, for all she knew at that young age, it was. Her story is completely credible. If this isn’t the true story of what Allen did to her, it is the true story of what someone’s sexually abusive father did to his daughter. As an adult, maybe she could make this stuff up or seek out a victim to help her write it. As a child… no.
That said, it’s not really important that we all choose sides here and argue. What is important is that people open their minds to the absolutely real possibility that this happened. That Jerry Sandusky did what he was found guilty of doing. That Roman Polanski did what he’s never really denied he did. Having social standing and being a predator are not mutually exclusive. The sky will not fall if we all acknowledge this reality. If there’s any chance of the sky falling at all, it’s much more likely to happen because so many of us insist on interacting with personal mythologies instead of reality.