Can I just say I’m tired? I don’t just mean physically, although I’m totally that too because I’m a college student taking 20 credits and doing just way too many things. But no, I’m talking about a different thing. This week I read Dylan Farrow’s heart-breakingly honest and brave open letter about what happened to her, what Woody Allen did to her as a child. And then I started seeing the very, very predictable response. People who knew her, people who didn’t. Suddenly people were coming forward, claiming she just wanted attention, attacking her mother, attacking her. It was blood in the water and the sharks descended.
And I’m just… guys, I’m just tired. See, I have to admit that there is some part of me that just cannot fully understand, cannot wrap my mind around why we can’t just agree to agree on this one thing. I understand there are so few things we can agree on. Politics and religion and so many things get in our way but surely it is not such a stretch as a society to come together and say, “You know what? This is it. We are going to come together and say that rape and sexual assault is where we are going to draw a line in the sand. We will agree on this thing.” Especially when it involves children. Because surely there can’t be anything that controversial about saying hey, you should not have sex with children. Ever. You should not force children to have sexual acts with you. Ever. And if you do that, there is no excuse or justification. It doesn’t matter if you are a great artist. It doesn’t matter if you make really wonderful movies. There is not something, there is not anything you can do in the rest of your life that will balance out your sexual assault of children, no matter how masterful at it you may be. This seems like one of the most common sense things I can imagine, and yet it isn’t. I know that it isn’t because I keep reading things telling me that this is not the common sense. I’m not seeking them out, because I’m not that masochistic yet, but I keep running across them and I see the same things. It is apparently easier for our society at large to blame this very strong girl than it is for us to accept that a cultural icon may have raped her. And as long as we are willing to do that, it’s never going to stop.
I am so tired, you guys. I’m tired and confused. I really, truly believe this is not the world we have to live in. I really think it’s possible that there’s a reality we can live in where, when we find out that coaches have been covering up the rape of children for 10+ years like at Penn State, if there’s a riot on campus it’s not because the coach has been fired. I really believe it’s possible to live in a world where child rapists don’t win Oscars, where they don’t get Lifetime Achievement Awards and where the survivors are not passed off as deluded or attention whores. Woody Allen is throwing a fit about how she is trying to ruin his career, his life but we all know it won’t. It didn’t when she was 7 and it’s not going to now. If there was any justice, it would. But at the end of the day, people are going to care more about staying on the good side of Woody Allen than what happened to Dylan Farrow. People will keep watching his movies. If he survives another ten years, people will have forgotten this even happened. Our attention spans are not so good.
I truly believe in a better world. I believe we’ve made progress. I believe we’ll make more. I believe that someday, when an intelligent, brave young woman like Dylan Farrow steps forward and says “This is what happened to me,” we will believe her and there will be genuine consequences to pay. But we’re not there yet and it hurts me for her and for every other survivor I know who wasn’t believed. Abusers will happily keep exploiting this system we have created, where powerful men are given immunity because they are powerful men. Dylan Farrow is a rich, white, intelligent, well-educated woman. But it’s not enough. What about for those who have none of her advantages? We have so far to go, guys. I just wish we were moving faster.