Most of us have our opinions about Woody Allen and some of us may harbor truly strong feelings about his innocence or guilt when it comes to whether he sexually molested his adoptive daughter Dylan when she was 7. None of us will ever really know what happened since it isn't likely that Woody will confess if Dylan's accusations are true. He has, in fact, repeatedly denied molestation claims.
But, as a mother, I can say that every particle of my being leans toward believing Dylan, who is now 27. Her willingness to share her horrific memories of her father is a gift to victims of child abuse and a reminder to moms -- and dads -- to stay vigilant and cognizant of anything that doesn't seem right when it comes to our children. And, I admit: I'm finding it impossible to stay fair in this battle.
The open letter Dylan wrote this past weekend has been lauded by some in the entertainment industry, including Lena Dunham. It has also caused headaches for several actors who have chosen to work with Woody -- most notably, Alec Baldwin, who defended his professional choices by tweeting, "What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family's personal struggle?"
But discussing Dylan's letter and her right to expose the memories she has of her father is different from gossiping. Child molestation isn't just a family problem because children don't have a voice and are unable to defend themselves. Dylan reveals that when she first broke her silence as a child, the validity of her statements was questioned by so many adults -- including her mom, Mia Farrow -- that it becomes immediately understandable why anyone would be frightened to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse. Assuming Dylan's case is the rule and not the exception, it seems like the victim is really put through the ringer, when what that person needs -- and this goes triple if he or she is a child -- is compassion and empathy.
Given what we now know about Mia -- she is an outspoken advocate for her children and seems like an honest-to-goodness mama bear -- it's difficult to imagine she couldn't sense something was different in her child while this abuse was reportedly taking place. As moms, we'd like to think we would just know. But, when you hear about the subtle ways Dylan says Woody molested her -- like making her get under the bed sheets while he was wearing just underwear and placing his head in her naked lap -- it becomes a little easier to understand how these actions could have taken place under Mia's nose.
It's important to remember Woody has not been proven guilty in a court of law. But, as a mother, I lost all logic when I read Dylan's letter. I wanted to reach out and give her a hug. And I support her decision to tell her story because she obviously feels she needs to free herself from her past. It may not be my place to judge Woody, but I can't help but feel intense compassion for Dylan.
As a parent, what was your reaction to learning about Dylan's allegations of sexual abuse?
Image via Raffi Asdourian/Flickr