Lessons Learned from Abused Children: Dylan Farrow’s Letter

Child abuse and sexual molestation are extremely tough and often polarizing issues.  But these are real crimes that we can’t ignore.

If you take the time to understand the difference between real victims and those making allegations that don’t hold up, you will want to help do something about the prevalence of child sexual abuse.  Frankly, that realization makes many hold back from learning.  Once you know, it’s hard to ignore and walk away from.

My Advocate Center was researching bizarre trends in how family court matters were being handled in Georgia, and could not avoid the fact that many of the worst cases – the ones most often manipulated and exploited for profit – are those involving real child abuse and child molestation.  

Real offenders behave a specific way, hire certain lawyers and custody experts and will pay significant amounts to avoid prosecution while maintaining access to their victims.  Those with money to spend and social capital to leverage have an easier time.  Certain attorneys, custody experts and judges are indifferent to the damages caused by ignoring evidence.  The child is viewed as a “throwaway” and a means to a healthy bank account or increased property holdings.  

It is not difficult for these offenders to use the Family Court process & certain professionals to also punish, restrain & destabilize the protective parent.  Protective parents are making loud outcries around our country, and especially here in Georgia, asking for our help.  We need press, law enforcement, and legislative intervention.  

In other sections on our website and blog we are addressing in more detail the issues of false allegations and how false allegations are used to alienate children from good parents.  That is also a subject that relates to professionals and judicial misconduct.  This page is dedicated to how real abuse is not addressed because too often evidence is ignored or blocked.

Our team did not seek out these cases, and has separated out the cases involving false allegations, showing the damages caused by those as well.  Both fathers and mothers are being falsely accused, and certain court professionals are making plenty of money by running with false allegations.  It doesn’t seem to matter to a number of attorneys and other court professionals whether the claims are real or false; they will profit either way.  Again, the profits increase as they suppress evidence and testimony that would properly deal with allegations, and the same thing goes for ignoring evidence that could exonerate an innocent party, or support a party needing protection.

This page is dedicated to a young woman who is speaking out, so we ask that you allow the sincerity and authenticity of her letter to open your mind to what can be done to help the children in the cases we have before us here.  

Please continue reading below, hear from Dylan first, and then read this article from Vanity Fair that corrects some of the misinformation shared in other articles.  It is worth reading, and then learning how these points shed light on cases we are reporting on.

In the news right now is the letter from Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen’s step-daughter.  This is an excerpt of her letter that is published on the link included here about this story:

Dylan writes:

That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.

That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face — on a poster, on a T-shirt, on television — I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

A firestorm erupted in 1992 over allegations described as “inappropriate touching” — in fact, what Dylan recounts is far worse, a sexual assault. She was 7 years old.

There were charges and countercharges. A panel of psychiatrists sided with Allen, a judge more with Dylan and her motherA Connecticut prosecutor said that there was enough evidence for a criminal case against Allen but that he was dropping criminal proceedings to spare Dylan.

Look, none of us can be certain what happened. The standard to send someone to prison is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but shouldn’t the standard to honor someone be that they are unimpeachably, well, honorable?

Yet the Golden Globes sided with Allen, in effect accusing Dylan either of lying or of not mattering. That’s the message that celebrities in film, music and sports too often send to abuse victims.

“I know it’s ‘he said, she said,’ ” Dylan told me. “But, to me, it’s black and white, because I was there.”

I asked her why she’s speaking out now. She said she wants to set the record straight and give courage to victims: “I was thinking, if I don’t speak out, I’ll regret it on my death bed.”

These are extremely tough issues, and certainty isn’t available. But hundreds of thousands of boys and girls are abused each year, and they deserve support and sensitivity. When evidence is ambiguous, do we really need to leap to our feet and lionize an alleged molester?

But I want to leave you with a sense of Dylan’s resolve. She declares:

“This time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me — to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories — have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.

But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.”

That’s something for all of us, even those who aren’t stars, to reflect on.

My Advocate Center is working across counties, with parents, professionals, civic groups, law enforcement and others to improve how both real abuse and false allegations are dealt with.

These two videos below are shown on other pages of our website, but to make it easy, please watch these in this order.  This Fulton County case involves substantiated claims of molestation that has occurred over a period of time.  Police and forensic expert testimony were blocked by the Court from making it onto the record.  The father’s attorney used his connection and influence over custody experts to ignore the abuse as well as the hard drive that contains real child porn.  The GAL who billed about $160,000.00 in his role of covering up the abuse & punishing the mother admitted on the stand that he didn’t consider the evidence of abuse “because that is contrary to what others wanted me to do.”  There is no gray area on this case.  It is now on appeal in GA.