After this weekend’s New York Times published Dylan Farrow’s affecting open letter detailing the abuse she suffered as a child, there have been non-stop media responses and public discussion over what has essentially become a private matter. There are very few people, by virtue of first hand knowledge, qualified to speak on behalf of either the victim or the accused. And yet somehow, after reading news reports and articles, or accounts by people who know Woody Allen or Mia Farrow, most of us think we’ve properly assessed the situation and made our feelings known via social media or live discussion. But you know what? This isn’t a trial. It isn’t our thing. Dylan Farrow is finally having her say in public, and she deserves to do that. When she was seven years old someone else was making choices and talking on her behalf; as a young woman, she wants to speak for herself about something that happened to her. We champion her, regardless of our factual knowledge, as we should. Any victim of abuse or rape should and must be heard, believed and supported. It is important to Dylan Farrow that we hear her anguish and know the pain she has suffered.
Allen has and will apparently continue to deny the allegations against him; because of the statute of limitations, it is extremely unlikely a case could be brought against him. Whatever your personal feelings about the man, as the accused, he still has the right to speak his defense.
But, demanding that other people come to the same conclusions we do, or insisting others shun and/or disrespect either of the involved parties isn’t really the way to go either. None of us has personal knowledge of the facts. None of us can tell someone else connected to Allen or Farrow how to conduct himself in personal or professional relationships; neither would we want to be directed ourselves. Because of the prosecutor’s decision not to bring criminal charges against Allen, the case is seemingly left to be “tried” in the court of public opinion—but does that mean we get to administer the punishment to Allen and all his known associates? Is it not for Cate Blanchett to decide whether and how she’ll respond to Dylan’s letter?
“It’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some sort of resolution and peace.”
And when people went after Alec Baldwin (who co-starred with Blanchett in Blue Jasmine)—generally known for throwing out an angry tweet and immediately deleting—he did indeed tweet an angry response and delete it, but what he said made sense. In response to a Twitter user’s query, “@ABFalecbaldwin don’t you think maybe you owe #DylanFarrow an apology?” Baldwin replied:
“What the [email protected]% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family’s personal struggle?”
Responding to another Tweet:
“You are mistaken if you think there is a place for me, or any outsider, in this family’s issue.”
You know what, he’s right. We have no place trying to force our way into this situation. We have no right to tell Blanchett, Baldwin or anyone else how to interpret what happened. Regardless of Allen, what we can and should do is give that young lady—Dylan Farrow—all the love and support and kind words we are able. If we really want to affect the outcome of this tragedy in a positive or meaningful way, and to show other victims of abuse or rape that we care, we’re here for them and we believe them, is to give all our support to her. No one can fix or affect what has already happened, but we can surround Ms. Farrow with warmth, and the knowledge that she is being heard and believed.