Why I’m Taking Dylan Farrow’s Sexual Abuse Allegations Seriously

Never mind that it's Woody Allen—to kids who've been through this, the story's all too familiar.

By Joel Hoffmann
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Feb. 10, 2014

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What makes sexual abuse so devastating is the shame—the sickness that sits in your gut and never really goes away. At times, it’s paralyzing, debilitating. That’s what Dylan Farrow is talking about when she says she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

One of the most effective ways to treat PTSD is to immerse yourself in the awful memories so you can accept them as a proportionate part of your life. Once the trauma is out in the open, it’s impossible to hide from it. It becomes less threatening, more manageable.

The fact that Dylan Farrow has called Allen out so publicly while battling PTSD is more persuasive, not less. But you don’t have to be a survivor to understand what that means.

Think of the thing that most terrifies you in the world—the thing that makes your your heart race, your palms sweat—and imagine yourself staring it dead in the eye and saying you’re not scared anymore.

That’s exactly what Dylan Farrow just did, and that’s why we should listen.

Joel Hoffmann is the coeditor of The Survivors Project: Telling the Truth About Life After Sexual Abuse, which collects more than 50 first-person stories by a wide range of sexual abuse survivors from across the United States. He is a two-time recipient of the Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association's Distinguished Writing Award




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Comments 1 - 3 of 3
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1. Anonymous said... on Feb 10, 2014 at 11:28PM

“There are certain aspects of Mia Farrow's version of events that don't make sense to me. 1. She has said that Woody Allen was in therapy to address his inappropriate behavior with the girl, and the babysitters had been told that he was never to be left alone with her. Yet on the day in question he was allegedly left alone with her. 2.) On that same day at least one of several adults (the babysitter's babysitter) present in the house claims to witness seeing Woody Allen's head in the little girl's lap in a most inappropriate way -- but this adult just walked away. Really?
So you've got a guy who is so inappropriate with this child that he is never to be left alone with her, but is in fact allegedly left alone with her.
Next there's the whole Soon Yi thing. Yeah, a 19 year old with a 56 year old seems creepy to me but she's not nineteen any more. They've been married for 16 years, and she is now 40.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Feb 11, 2014 at 12:23PM

“Read the Dylan case's conclusions. And um, with all due respect, friend, if you think Woody Allen started messing with Soon Yi when she was 19, I've got a lovely bridge to sell you, and it's painted with moondust and gold flecks! Add to that: they now have two adopted daughters he's probably abusing. Guess we'll know soon enough ...”

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3. Anonymous said... on Feb 13, 2014 at 07:29AM

“Hey. Read up on the case bfore commenting. Allen was in therapy to work with his obsessive behaviour towards dylan (FACT). Mia wanted him to improve. He was not left alone with dylan that day while mia went shopping. 4 people were in the house and they were told not to let allen be alone with dylan. They failed in that (FACT). The babysitter did'nt walk away. She iediately told her employer what she had seen which led mia to take dylan to the local pediatrician. The pediatrician then in turn alerted the police. (FACT)”


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