What Would Make You Believe a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse?

See all our responses to Dylan Farrow’s open letter here.

I don’t know if you know an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I don’t know if you know what an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse looks, sounds, or acts like. So let me tell you who I am, and let me tell you what I am like.

I am a 30-year-old white woman who lives in Austin, Texas. I have bleached blonde hair with a coral-toned streak in the front—it’s short, but I’m trying to grow it out (god, I wish it would grow faster). I work from home, but unofficially I office out of the back patio of a craft beer bar. I have a graduate degree in cultural anthropology. I am heterosexual and I am married, and together with my husband I own an old-ass house with a recent raccoon infestation. I have three cats who are named after boozy drinks.

I am an only child and I have awesome, twangy Texas-raised parents who Texas-raised me. My best friends are brilliant academics who sort of hate academia. I am overly friendly in awkward situations. I am funny and I love Star Trek. I throw big parties. I do yoga at home so I can skip savasana. I talk too much.

And when I was a kid, a relative sexually abused me. I don’t know how long it went on. It started before I entered kindergarten but stopped sometime in elementary school. I remember feelings—dread, shame, embarrassment, panic, guilt—better than I remember incidents, but I remember some incidents too.

If you had asked me three or four years ago: Andrea, have you ever been sexually abused? I would have said absolutely not. Because it took me more than 20 years to admit to myself that what happened to me as a child was real, that it was abuse, and that it was not my fault.

Why 20 years? Why so long?

My abuser made me afraid of my own capacity to experience memories. My abuser made me afraid of what the inside of my own mind looked like. I built—like, really, purposefully built—delicate, intricate, elaborate mind-paths, each of which navigated away from and around one thing: my abuse. I did it consciously at first, and then as I became older, my brain seemed to do it for me, automatically.

Whenever anything would trigger an abuse memory, or memory-feeling, I would start down a pathway to, well, wherever: a song, a poem, a saying, a dance routine, lines from a play. Anything that was not the memory, or memory-feeling. Eventually those pathways filled up, and stacked these little piles of songs-poems-sayings-whatever between my present and that thing I never wanted to think about.

Maybe I could have lived my whole life like that. Maybe I would have, if I hadn’t discovered feminism, if I hadn’t discovered anonymous message boards, if I hadn’t married someone I trust with my whole heart. But feminism, and the Internet, and being in an incredible relationship conspired together in this wonderful way and empowered me to say a combination of words I never thought I could say: I was abused as a child, and it was real, and it was not my fault.

Those are the hardest things to say, because I am saying them to the most scared, most ashamed, most terrified little 5-year-old version of myself, and she is so scared and ashamed that she can’t hear it, refuses to hear it, because hearing it means it is real. My 5-year-old self is going to live 20 years before she lets herself back into her mind and her memories. Now, all I can do is tell her, over and over again: Yes, he hurt you. It was real. It wasn’t your fault. It is a strange cycle; it is all over, and yet it is ongoing.

Despite what was done to me—I don’t say “what happened” to me, because my abuse didn’t “happen,” it was done to me by another human being—I always get the impression that people are a little surprised when they hear about it, as if I am not the adult survivor of child abuse they were expecting. Should I be wafting around like some kind of hollow-eyed ghoul? Should I be especially brave, especially vocal, stumping about my abuse at every opportunity? Should I be significantly fucked up in some easily recognizable way? Would that make it easier for people to believe that I was abused, that abuse exists, that adult survivors walk among us, live among us, drink craft beer among us?

Because what I am seeing, with Dylan Farrow’s recent open letter concerning the abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her father, deified American film director Woody Allen, is that a lot of people do not believe that we adult survivors live among them. That there is something adult survivors can do that will make us believable, but that one of those things is not, it seems, recounting our own stories and speaking out against our abusers. Especially if our stories contain, I suppose, “palpable bitchery” and not the correct, carefully measured amount of humility appropriate to a child who has had her entire life torn apart by the very people tasked with protecting her from harm.

Strange, how credible evidence against an abuser rarely seems to include the testimony of survivors, but frequently does include the “expert” opinion of people who were wholly absent from the situation, or of abusers who have a vested interest in, say, not being imprisoned. No, if we survivors remember too much, we are clearly sticking too close to an easily fabricated story, but if we remember too little, we are suspiciously devoid of all those details people say they hate to hear, but which people really, secretly like to hear.

I hear people say that Dylan Farrow must be lying—after all, it took her 21 years to write an open letter in the New York Times! Well, it took me about that long to write an open letter to my own soul. I hear people say that Dylan Farrow must be lying—after all there is a video of her as a child, unable to recount her abuse in vivid detail, from start to finish, in one defiant take!

Oh, I cannot hear that one. I cannot hear it. There are no lengths to which 5-year-old Andrea would not have gone to prevent the details of her abuse from becoming known to others. In fact, every time I had a clear opportunity to out my abuser, and to detail my trauma? I denied it even more, created elaborate excuses, let details slip but then refused to cooperate. I lived in abject fear of being punished for what another human being had done to me.

I believe 7-year-old Dylan just as I believe 5-year-old Andrea, not because our stories seem to have a couple of parallels, but because I listen to survivors, and because of that, I believe survivors. I don’t think, in the wake of Allen’s recent Golden Globes accolade, that Farrow is being opportunistic. There is no such thing as an opportune time to have been sexually abused by your father, one of the most famous film directors in the world. There is no opportune time to have had notable public figures debating the possibility of your sexual abuse in glossy, thinky magazines, really trying to get to the crux of the question: Are you, or are you not, the calculating, lying daughter of a vengeful, spiteful actress?

Perhaps I am harming Woody Allen, and all his friends, by believing his daughter. Well, that’s fine. If my belief in Dylan Farrow’s story of abuse takes a little bit away from Woody Allen’s lifetime of lifetime achievement awards and fawning hordes of celebrity fans, I think that is something Allen can spare. And if I’m wrong, and Allen is falsely accused? I ask you: If this is what Woody Allen’s career looks like, having been damaged so egregiously by spurious accusations that he is a child abuser, what precisely do you imagine an untainted Woody Allen career would look like? Dude gets his face on an officially minted piece of U.S. currency? We rename the moon “Woody”?

Some research seems to suggest that rates of child sexual abuse are declining; while that is heartening, the truth is that however the numbers play out, child sexual abuse is shockingly common and grossly underreported. I believe Dylan Farrow not only because I find her testimony to be credible on its face, but because chances are, Dylan Farrow isn’t lying.

Maybe some folks think it’s a fun intellectual exercise to pick apart some kind of “he said, she said” brain teaser about the sexual abuse of children. How satisfying it must be for those folks to feel really confident in settling in for a gander every time Midnight in Paris comes on TNT. What a reward for running a 7-year-old girl through the ringer; how lucky we all are to have solved the mystery of Did Woody Allen Or Didn’t He? Oh well, Annie Hall is on!

Here is what I know: I spent the last few days trying desperately to distract myself from just about everything besides my closest friends and most beloved books and activities, because I could not bear to watch my friends and family members tear Dylan Farrow apart on Facebook or Twitter, call her a liar, call her a fool, call her an opportunist. I am still fragile when I think of my own abuse, and I do not know who in my life I might lose to an errant rape joke or a speciously timed Woody Allen oeuvre fest. I hate that this is a fear I must live with and mitigate, daily. But this is the reality of rape culture.

I know there are lots of those people—people who would give the benefit of the doubt to literally anyone besides a scared, confused child or an adult survivor just coming to terms with their past. I wonder why there are so many of those kinds of people who seem unable to, simply, listen to survivors without transporting themselves into some crudely imagined, hyperbolic Law & Order: SVU episode full of idealized victims and nefarious abusers.

I wonder how we can change that, and I believe part of the solution is to help people who aren’t survivors learn to hear stories of survival in productive, non-victim-blaming ways. We need to change the paradigm of reception, to empower people to hear the words “I was raped” or “I was abused,” so that they can hold them and experience them without defensiveness, panic, or pity. If we do this—give listeners a cultural script for hearing these stories—I think we will go a long way toward empowering survivors to tell these stories.

As an adult, after I had privately come to terms with myself about my abuse, I still feared—deeply, viscerally—talking about that abuse to someone else. I still have trouble disentangling it from victim-blaming language; in this very essay, I had to stop myself from “admitting” my own abuse, as if it is for me to seek absolution for a crime someone else committed against me. I dreaded the withering experience of managing other people’s pity, other people’s scorn, other people’s discomfort.

I very rarely talk about my own abuse, but whenever I do, I talk about it with a mind toward making other people comfortable with my story. I wish I didn’t have to, but I’m doing it for myself as much as I’m doing it for them. If we are going to do right by survivors, then we need to empower those who can support them. And to do that, we need to give our friends, family, and loved ones the tools they need to hear our stories.

The more stories survivors tell, the less aberrant we will be—though I contend this is an imagined aberrance. If we can tell our stories, and if those stories can be heard, we may someday stop this relentless “he said, she said” tug-of-war where no victim is ever perfect enough, no accused ever quite guilty enough. But I could not tell my story until I believed that there were people in my life who could hear it without putting me away in some cramped card catalog drawer, something marked under “T” for “tragic.”

This is a gift I wish I could give all survivors: a place for their stories to live that isn’t in their head or on a police report or court petition. A place where their stories can be spread among other people, diffused, made real through their voluntary, consensual telling, to be heard by people who will not immediately file them under “L” for “liar,” or “O” for opportunist, or “B” for “bitch.”

This is the enduring story of rape culture, the eternal lie: Give us the perfect victim, and we will believe you! That’s all they’re asking for—just one perfect victim, and then we can talk about all of this rationally! Send us someone we don’t have so many concerns about! This is a great deceit, and it is borne out of a cultural narrative that has no place for listening, only a place for victim-blaming, only a place for reinforcing stories that do not too terribly upset our Friday night movie binges.

I’m not asking you to decide, today, whether Woody Allen is a child abuser, or to preach fire and brimstone the next time someone picks up a copy of Manhattan. I am asking you to do something more powerful, more long-lasting, more revolutionary: Listen to survivors. Understand that our stories are not sad addenda, but part of our whole being, part of the people you love or hate or see in the elevator sometimes at lunch. See us not as victims, or characters, or some unidentifiable, sad and tragic “other,” but as the whole people we are, moving in and out of your lives.

Listen to us, so that we can listen to ourselves.

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Follow Andrea Grimes on twitter: @andreagrimes

  • JulesAboutTown

    Thank you Andrea. You are amazing.

  • Amazing Sandwich

    This is so good. Thank you for writing it.

  • http://zuungols.myminicity.com/ Bichon Bisou

    Dylan Farrow isn’t being opportunistic, but Mia Farrow totally is.

    • Sally

      Yes, I guess she is taking the opportunity to strike out once again at the man who raped and scarred her little girl. And I say, “Go to it, Mia. Rip him a new one.”

  • kindstars

    This needs to be said. Again and again and again.

  • radicalhw

    I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for writing this. I’ll be sharing it….

  • naomi dagen bloom

    Many thanks to Andrea for the courage to speak out. In the 1980s, there was much discussion about child abuse by family members. Also considerable pushback from uncomfortable male adults with powerful legal posts. As a feminist therapist, it was important to take a position to support women who struggled with what it had taken them many years to accept. Why did the energy–plus advocacy–go since then?

  • Sally

    Oh my God, so brilliant. Thank you.

  • Tamara W. Van Horn

    Yes. This was my yesterday, and triggered the triggers. So thank you for doing this so thoughtfully.

    • organic_mama

      Yes, me too. Triggered the triggers…

  • kchapmangibbons

    *crying* Thank you for this. Truly sums up a lot of my own feelings.

  • Beth Trader

    I do not disbelieve Dylan because of the passage of time. I actually, technically, do not disbelieve her. What I really believe is that her mother has a big part in her memory. There has always seemed to be a bit off about her. I also think she was so angry at Woody Allen that it contributed to the whole event. My memory is that there were no authorities called in until after his relationship with Soon Yi was discovered. While I might not be overly supportive of THAT relationship, it does not mean that Dylan was a victim. One is pedophilia, the other is not. Both could be seen as bad taste….at the least.

    • Golden Carter

      Could it be that Mia found her husband having sex with her teenage daughter and suspected he may have also had sex with her other under age daughter? If my grown ass man of a spouse was having sex with my teen daughter, you bet I’d call into question his relationship with other children in the house.

      • Beth Trader

        Again, it has to do with the age and development of the child. Is his relationship with the teen-age daughter ‘age appropriate?’ No. But there is a BIG difference of a man that engages sexually with a late teen (ie sexually developed) and a young child. Most creeps prefer one or the other but not both.

        • maryinbama

          We don’t know when he actually began his relationship with Soon Yi. They became open about it when she was a late teen, but she may have been groomed for many years before it went public. Any man who is 37 years older than a teen and marries her is just down right creepy.

        • Nopity Nope McNope

          Most, but not all. I was abused from age 2 to 13, and the perpetrator also had sex with adult women.

    • Kelly S

      Bad taste? Wow. That’s telling. I hope you don’t have kids. It’s still statutory rape with a teenager. Maybe she had a concept of consent at that age. Maybe. Not an adult one, for sure. But with a 7-year-old? That’s rape. Not bad taste. It’s scary that you don’t seem to understand this.

      • Beth Trader

        I know someone that was ruined by the planting of memory. The professional even admitted it. The court sided with the accused. But that was never enough to restore this person’s reputation.

        Most of us have been sexually molested. That does not make this tale true or untrue.

      • Smarmadon

        It’s not statutory rape at 19 or 21, which Soon-Yi was at the time they began a relationship. Creepy, yes, but not illegal and definitely not pedophilia.

    • Beth Trader

      And now Moses has come out and said that he does not believe his sister was molested by Woody Allen.

  • pjwhite

    Thank You. So much.

  • di is in los angeles

    Thank you

  • Lindsay

    Thank you for sharing this….

  • organic_mama

    Fantastic. Thank you.

  • whatareuthinking

    This was an outstanding article. Thank you. Our world is one in which females are, even in America, less valuable than men. I have myself witnessed a young girl speaking out about recent sexual abuse, only to have the state close the case because it was “unsubstantiated”…meaning the man denied the accusation, end of story. Does this happen because society honestly believes children are liars? Or is it too taboo to bring it to light?

  • L-dan

    I’ve really been impressed with your writing here, and this piece is no different, both strong and clear. Thank you.

    I’ve never been abused, but I remember being the one person a friend confided in back in college. At that time at least, I was the only person she’d told about abuse by a family member in any way…even rather vaguely. Afterward, she told me (paraphrased…it was a long while ago) that she’d told me because I was the person she knew best who wouldn’t think of her differently or treat her differently because of the knowledge.

    I haven’t been in that position often in my life, but I hope I’m able to continue giving off whatever vibes made her sure that I wouldn’t put her in the ‘T’ for tragic box when/if someone needs or wants to talk to me. I’m really glad you found people and a place to provide that.

  • Stacy Lawson

    Bold and well stated. When I was in my early 20’s I learned that a friend of mine had been abused for years by her father. Just two weeks ago, I learned that another friend had been raped. How easy would it be to come out publicly with Dylan’s report? Her father is Woody Allen, famous, beloved, and idolized director/actor/writer. And, while we are at it, why not remember that this is the man who blurred the lines enough to marry his adopted daughter… Shit… the dilemma of loving his work and yet feeling that there’s more wrong than we know.

    • http://healthyabundance.wordpress.com/ BldrJanet

      Yes! I keep thinking, “am I the only one who remembers that he married his adopted daughter who was so much younger than he was?!?!?!?” Ewww. While maybe it was legal (not sure about that), it did not pass the gross-out test. Extremely creepy. So, when Dylan’s letter was published, to me, it fit right into what I already knew of him.

      • Horation_Tobias_HumpleDinK

        Again that is your opinion of him, that you have constructed. Opinion does not mean guilty. It must be proven. If he and his adopted daughter where consensual in the relationship. Then it is not fair to assume he is perverted. Age gaps dont mean entirely that you must be a pervert.

        • cjvg

          Someone who adopts a small child , raises this child as their daughter (and yes “normal” adoptive parents do feel this child is their child, and no different then a biological child) is in fact the father of that child!
          If that father then feels perfectly justified to desire their young daughter sexually and in fact start a sexual relationship with them, this individual unequivocally can only be described as a pervert!
          The FACT that this father had no hesitation in having sex with his (adopted) daughter does say volumes about his lack of normal human boundaries were young girls are concerned!
          Why should we believe that he would hesitate in starting a sexual relationship with a young girl that is not even as closely related as his (adopted) daughter was?!

          • L-dan

            While I find the relationship he developed with the daughter of his girlfriend and sister to his adopted children repugnant, I don’t believe he ever adopted Soon-Yi.

          • Jennifer Starr

            I think she was actually the adopted daughter of Andre Previn, but I agree–it’s still repugnant.

          • Ray

            He didn’t. Soon-Yi was the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn.

          • disqus_ok9xndxFPu

            He did not. However, he did raise her from age 8. He de facto adopted her, just not de jure.

          • David Sorcher

            I do not pretend as so many do to know the facts about the accusations of Dylan Farrow against Woody. I DO know these facts however which you might want to consider since it seems to be fueling your own opinion on this case. Woody was NOT the adoptive father of Soon Yi. That would be Andre Previn. Woody NEVER lived in the Farrow household with Soon Yi. He did NOT “raise” her. Their relationship began when Soon Yi was an adult. Woody in FACT had very little to do with Soon Yi when she was a child, nor any of the Previn children. I do not state these facts to justify anything that may or may not have happened, but you seem confused and seem to be using false information to base you opinions of guilt or innocence on this man.

          • maryinbama

            Mia and Previn adopted Soon Yi in 1978 when she was 6. Woody Allen and Mia started dating in 1980 when Soon Yi was 8. They dated for 12 years. Are you really going to state that in 12 years he had no relationship with Mia’s children??? He is 37 years older than Soon Yi. They also adopted Dylan together and had a biological child together. That implies more than a casual relationship with the children. In a 1990s article on their life together, Woody stated she brought the kids to his house on the weekends. They may not have lived together, but they did spend a lot of time together and I don’t care how you put it, marrying the daughter of a woman you had a child with; a daughter you had known since she was 8 years old is very creepy.

        • L-dan

          To send him to jail, sure, we’ll need to lay out the evidence and what have you. The investigation at the time found enough cause to keep him from seeing Dylan. And frankly it’s enough for me to go ‘welp, I don’t really need to support his work.’

          My patronage or lack thereof isn’t going to do anything to him. He’s going to remain wealthy and successful, with plenty of friends who don’t want to think he could do something so horrible. I don’t see him suffering much from people supporting his daughter here. In fact, if he is wrongly accused, and suspects his daughter has been brainwashed by her mother, the best thing he can do for her well being is to stay out of it and tell his friends to quit adding to her pain by writing articles that are basically accusing her of lying.

          I’m really unclear on what you’re hoping to accomplish by coming here to basically finger wave at a bunch of people talking about solidarity with victims of abuse.

        • Terri

          Do you see that it’s not the age gap that is the icky factor? It’s the fact that these two lived together as father and daughter. She may not have been his blood daughter, but they had the roles of father and daughter in relationship to each other. I hope you can understand why turning that into a marriage is a gross thing.

          • David Sorcher

            This is patently FALSE Terri. Woody and Soon Yi NEVER lived together as father and daughter. Woody was NOT her father figure, that would be her actual adoptive father Andre Previn. Woody had very little to do with the Previn children and never lived in the Farrow household. Sorry if these facts get in the way of your hate fest.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rebekah-Becky-Majors-Manley/100000808133635 Rebekah Becky Majors-Manley

            Woody was Mia’s boyfriend for 12 yrs and most women’s boyfriends d.o not have sex with their daughters like he did With Soon Yi! He could be on Jerry Springer though since he is both the legal father and brother in-law both now of Ronann Farrow his other child. I stand in solidarity with Dylan

      • Ray

        Woody did not marry his adopted daughter. He married the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn. She was 18 or 19 when they married.

    • Horation_Tobias_HumpleDinK

      Evidence must be found, we can not have a court that merely follows what is people’s opinions.

      • Stacy Lawson

        Agreed. Evidence must be found, but I think we also need to remember that power often bears the added privilege of being immune from suspicion and from the law…

        • Terri

          Again, someone can molest a child and there can be no evidence *right after it happens.* Really, what evidence are people looking for 20 years later? I would love to see an investigation into this, but people who are looking for concrete evidence of an act that may not leave any concrete evidence are simply never going to fully believe any victims. The kind of evidence people are looking for is very likely to not exist–often not at the time the abuse happens, and certainly not 20 years later.

          • Stacy Lawson

            I hear you. I want a thoughtful response to this that opens the discussion. It’s a real problem when beloved celebrities are accused of crimes. I didn’t know about Bill Crosby allegations… There’s so much power in stardom. And, I’m also concerned with the here-and-now… how do we make it safe for anyone who is abused to come forward and not be hurt more.

      • http://jupitaur.wordpress.com/ jupitaur

        No one seems interested in taking him to court. Does that mean we’re all supposed to stop talking about this?

      • dmnr

        Yes that what the rapists say! I am so tired of survivors of sexual assault having to prove their innocence while people rally behind rapists! Disgusting!

  • http://saldydog.com/ SaldyDog

    Thank you, thank you, Andrea. It took me 35 years to come forward. And I’m not the only one in the family who was abused by the same people. Took her just as long to come forward, as well. We were both terrified, even when we were confronted by a parent and asked if something was happening: I didn’t tell enough of the truth, she lied. Because that terrified child lives inside of us and still shakes at the thought of mentioning it.

    And yet. And yet. And yet.

    I’ve never understood why people aren’t able to look past the middle-aged me and see the terrified 5-year-old. Dylan Farrow’s piece was gut wrenching. As another commenter said, “It triggered the triggers.” But even worse are the apologists telling us all to keep quiet.

    Again, thanks, and thanks for your bravery!

  • Natalie

    Thank you so much. Dylan’s writing triggered all of my feelings and the authenticity rang out loud and clear. The highly successful white man, at the top of society, often feels that he can act with impunity and too often justifies his behaviour to himself. #ibelieveher,#ibelieveyou, #ibelieve me

  • Horation_Tobias_HumpleDinK

    Great piece, I do think an investigation needs to be done. But we cant judge people solely from words, we must produce evidence. Also I do find it odd that Mia Farrow has not mentioned that her Brother is currently in jail for sexual molestation and child abuse.
    I do not ‘distrust’ her daughter. I want evidence to be produced and if Woody Allen is guilty. For him to be found as such. Investigation did happen in the past, but I think it is crucial for it to happen again.

    • Terri

      What evidence? People can molest a child and there is no evidence *right after the fact.* How on earth would you find evidence a couple of decades later? This is part of the challenge of coping adequately with child sexual abuse, and as a society, we haven’t found a way to deal adequately with it. Not at all.

  • Lee J Rickard

    File under ‘B’, for brave. And ‘S’ for share with others. And ‘T’ for thank you for this.

  • Sarah Morison

    My best friend is from Austin, and she, too, took many years to remember that her father sexually abused her. My problem in trying to judge the Woody Allen situation from afar is that I do think children can be brainwashed. That said, there are also plenty of adults who don’t want to see what is staring them in the face. However, it is troubling that there is quite a bit of evidence from the time this allegedly occurred that contradicts Dylan. Mr. Allen has never been accused of molesting any other child, which you might expect of someone who is a pedophile. There is certainly motivation — understandably so — on the part of Mia Farrow to malign Mr. Allen. I would absolutely detest a partner who left me for my daughter, and that by itself is something I find repugnant about Mr. Allen. I have no problem believing that Dylan truly sees herself as a victim. My problem is wondering whether her mother had a major part in shaping that belief.

    • L’Anne

      She IS a victim. If the molestation did not occur, and the event was a concoction by a bitter, vengeful woman (Hello, female stereotype!) against a man she wanted to hurt, she used her daughter to try to get that revenge.

      I don’t know what happened, and I am in no position to judge any of the players in this horrible situation. Regardless, it hurts to be abused by someone you love and trust and it hurts to be used as a pawn by someone you love and trust. I wouldn’t wish either on anyone.

    • Sappho Girl

      Um, not everyone who molests children are pedophiles. Most aren’t. Pedophiles are an extremely small part of the population, and, as you imply, they are virtually unable to stop molesting children.

      Most men (or women) who molest children are not pedophiles and thus are capable of not molesting children.

    • carolineredbrook

      The information out there strongly implicates Mr. Allen and corroborates Dylan’s story. You need to do your research.

      • Sarah Morison

        I’ve read all the information — you need to realize that “doing research” does not lead all people to the same conclusion. There are plenty of people who find this situation troubling but do not necessarily side with either Allen or Dylan.

  • Natalierose

    So much of this resonates… all I can say is thank you.

  • whatever

    Science tells us:

    Children are not reliable observers and are not reliable reporters.
    False Memory Syndrome is real.
    False Allegations are at their highest in highly contested custody cases.

    A true Reality Check article would acknowledge this.

    Thus, I can easily believe Dylan Farrow believes what she is saying is true, even as I do not consider her to be accurately describing the actual events of those days.

    A true Reality Check article would acknowledge this too.

    Dylan is a victim. as are my children, who were brainwashed by my ex into saying some vicious lies about me.

    • Chaosfeminist

      and yet…I was a victim of the “recovered memory” bullshit. my father’s girlfriend’s shrink convinced me I had dissaccociative identity disorder. it was all crap. at sixteen I was telling him what he wanted to hear. you know how I know it didn’t happen to me? it happened to my brother. I am nowhere near the broken mess he is. I have seen what this does to people and it is real.

      • HeilMary1

        When my abusive sister was in first grade, she falsely accused a slightly older female neighbor of molesting her, then retracted her claims. However, we both remembered a male babysitter/friend of our parents probably molesting her. Since our mom loved the married middle-aged babysitter, but hated our neighbors, the hated preteen daughter became a convenient scapegoat.

    • lasbotellas

      I was a victim of the belief that since I finally told my mother about the abuse (I remember that well; I hit the dashboard because she slammed on the brakes so hard when I said it) just before she found out about my dad cheating on her, she must have made it up and fed it to me. I testified, but the man was acquitted and moved away to happily continue abusing my half siblings and nieces.

    • HeilMary1

      False Memory Syndrome was invented by irate pedophiles to avoid prosecution.

    • jan

      Thank you for making this point. Innocent people can have their lives ruined by false allegations, which are found frequently in contentious custody cases. But the fact that I have doubts about a single celebrity case doesn’t mean I disbelieve other accounts of abuse. As a teacher I’ve seen the evidence, talked to victims, and reported instances of abuse. I also know that children can be manipulated by a vengeful parent, inept investigators, and clumsy psychologists.

    • carolineredbrook

      I have known two cases of false accusations. That does not change the fact that the vast number of accusations are real. In the Woody Allen case, however, the information does strongly point to guilt.

  • carolineredbrook

    Crimes against children are so heinous that alleged pedophiles like Woody Allen, Sylvain Kustyan, Jerry Sandusky, etc. must be apprehended before they have years to continue to destroy young lives. Sandusky is now safely behind bars. But unfortunately, Kustyan, who has been formally charged with two counts each of 1st Degree Sodomy and Sexual Abuse of a ten-year-old little boy, fled to avoid imminent arrest. Kustyan, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Hermin/ Mazingarbe, France, as an English teacher, has led numerous groups of schoolchildren on trips to the US, the UK and Ireland.. Pedophiles condemn their victims to a lifetime of emotional and psychological trauma and often permanent physical ailments as well. Since the average pedophile has 300 different victims in their lifetime and since the recidivism rate among pedophiles is virtually 100% and since there is no effective treatment and no known cure they must be stopped ASAP!

    • CJ99

      What gets me about Woody Allen is the evidence against him has been out there for decades, not just involving Dylan either. but because he’s famous he gets a free pass. GRRRR

  • Kendall Steffen

    We should be friends.

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    This is a brilliant article, Andrea. Thank you.

  • Nancy

    I just turned 60. This is what I learned when talking about “it”. Either people do not want to hear the ugly stuff or they will deny that it could have ever happened to me. I have done the work. Integrated it. Accepted it. But that little 9 year old abused girl is still alive. She became a master at denial and self deception. When I was 50 I cried because I had no children of my own. I then had a sudden flash back. I thought I never wanted kids but suddenly remembered a doctor telling me at 26 years old that my Fallopian tubes were blocked from scar tissue and I could not get pregnant. My brain tucked that away just as it had my father’s molestation. When I had a positive blood test for Lyme disease in 2012 I had no memory of a tick bite. A week later I suddenly remembered removing a tick (yuck!) and getting a bull’s eye rash in 1992. I never had any medical treatment. I have to watch out for that hurt, shameful, abused little girl. Even today she still tries to protect me and we all know that sexual abuse continues to hurt.

  • Dani Jimenez

    Thank you for writing this. :)

  • why_mee

    Most people don’t realize, and I’m assuming some adult survivors don’t realize either, that the three forms of abuse are suffered by sexual abuse survivors. Invading one’s personal space is one thing, invading one’s private space is another, and on top of that, the abusers are also invading our minds. Even though the abuse stops, mentally it never goes away.

  • Susan Idlet

    Wonderful piece, Andrea! YES – it’s time for survivors to tell their stories OUT LOUD, without apology, or guilt, or shame. I was finally able to confront my father/abuser at age 45. Better yet, I was able to press charges against him and received the healing justice of his conviction and prison sentence. I was able to tell my truth to a judge while my father listened. More healing when my family gathered to celebrate the fully exposed truth, and my young son, niece and nephew learned that they come from sturdy stock; that they should NEVER suffer as I did, that they have the power to protect themselves. Abusers count on our silence. Well, fuck that shit. Let’s issue scarlet letter t-shirts made especially for abusers – big ‘ol red “A” on their chests. (okay – so getting a little carried away here!) Thanks for posting such a powerful letter!
    Signed, your sister in recovery from abuse.

  • Slutberry

    Yes. YES.

    No one wants to associate with the victim; we want to align ourselves with power. But if we all align ourselves with the victim, the victim gains the power.

    • CJ99

      thats a big part of the problem, ego & power (being 2/3rds of what I call the unholy trinity), too many want to be among the “winners” regardless of the consequences. Too often apathy is also a huge factor: “wasn’t my kids so who cares!” is still too common.

  • Patricia Anne Brush

    When I was 11, I was abused by a school janitor. He gave me money to pay for my “services” making it definitely “my fault”. When I told my mother several years later, she couldn’t hear it, she couldn’t deal with the knowledge. That taught me not to tell anyone else and so I covered it up within my memory from whence it erupted full force when a boyfriend insisted that I touch him where I didn’t want to touch, grabbed my hand, and placed it you-know-where. He was very apologetic when I completely lost it and was able to say what the problem was. In a strange way, his action worked out for good, although clearly I am not recommending it, because it unlocked that knowledge far earlier and I was able to start dealing with it. I was still royally messed up for years and did all my healing without assistance because the unlocking didn’t seem to apply to telling someone who might have been able to help me.

    When I have talked with friends about my experience, I hear a lot of echoes. I am almost to the place where I don’t believe it when someone tells me that they were never abused.

  • sinfiniti

    you are SO damn brave!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!! God bless you!

  • Jennifer Jonsson

    I was sexually abused by a pediatrician from the time I was about five until I started to develop at nine or ten. I didn’t tell my parents until I was in my LATE THIRTIES and I’m not sure they believed me.

  • jess

    Yes. Just yes. You vocalised so many things I can’t find the words for. Brilliant piece.

  • Easton

    This may be the single best conveyed collection of thoughts and truths on this subject I have ever read. I once heard a quote on tv in which one character, trying to convince another to put something ugly behind her, says “This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.” I can’t help but think about that in this context because I know all too well how relentlessly the mind champions denial. It is astounding the degree and ease to which reality can be pushed down and away in an effort to protect but when it surfaces, sometimes decades later, it is simultaneously devastating and liberating. It reaches into our very foundations. Survivors have enough to battle internally without having to battle those who should function as their support network. The only way to banish darkness is to shine a light directly into it. That is what you have done Andrea so thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rebekah-Becky-Majors-Manley/100000808133635 Rebekah Becky Majors-Manley

    Rape culture exists. I was so hurt when Stephen King had to contribute negatively and perpetuate rape culture when he responded to Dylan’s open letter. I stand in solidarity with Dylan in my “bitchery” kind of way!

  • Shawn Marie Paul

    Eloquently stated and I stand side by side with my healing sisters–those of us who are at a point to speak openly as Dylan and Andrea have and those still internalizing the shame, pain, and guilt–knowing that our words are truthful and our experiences matter to us if to no one else. The strength it takes to keep the secret is the same strength that can set us free. Every experience leaves a mark. Stand proud, for the scars we carry represent a battle won.

  • Paolo Stefano Fratianni

    I truly empathize with any abuse you may have experienced as a child. Dylan Farrow may indeed have been abused to. But what this subject really begs the question of is how should one perceive such claims.

    Yes, the majority of claims may indeed prove to be true. However not all claims are true for varying reasons. It is a shame too for because of this on a legal level there needs to be proof beyond the claim itself. This could be physical evidience and or others who corroborate the story.

    But on a personal level how should one handle the claim? Should they take sides empathizing with the victim or conversely side with the accused and feel for his name being slandered or worse possible injustly imprisoned?

    The truth of the matter is we are not God. We don’t know all the answers. And sometimes it’s a relief to admit that to ourselves and others.

    So I ask again what should one do when allegations of such type arise as they will surely continue to do. Maybe have compassion in general that so many people in this world are suffering. Maybe this can be done by quietly listening and maybe responding by saying, I feel your suffering and sincerely wish that these burdens will one day feel lifted.

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      You believe the child. Always.
      My parents were child molesters who cooperated with each other. I still do not believe myself entirely. Not my Mom and Dad.
      I finally believed it when I saw my Father starting to “play” with my daughter.
      My family does not believe me and I have been ostracized.

      • Paolo Stefano Fratianni

        Coming from the perspective of having experienced child abuse would certainly make your point of view quiet understandable.

        My comments however in part were how does an outsider view allegations of child abuse? Such allegations are serious and should properly be investigated. If sufficient information can be obtained to warrant prosecution then by all means the offender should be prosecuted and the victim allowed a measure of justice.

        As for how to act without knowing all the facts my answer is still the same of having mindful compassion. Each person should be listened to with full attention and empathy given for their suffering. No matter whether it is the abuser or the abused we are all suffering and deserve compassion.

        But to fall into opinions of for or against before completely understanding the situation is to lose objectivity and hence the power to truly help people at their level of need.

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          You believe the child. Always.

        • nettwench14

          If there is not enough evidence to legally convict the perpetrator, then victims speak out because they want to give other parents a heads-up about who is not trustworthy, who is questionable. We don’t need a court of law to weigh in before we have information to protect our children, we have word-of-mouth evidence. Are you going to bet your child’s life on the fact that someone is considered innocent until proven guilty? With so many molesters out there, and so many in denial or covering for them, would you want to take that chance?

          • Paolo Stefano Fratianni

            For sure if an accusation is made it is wise to keep an extra eye open concerning ones own children. However like most things in life it is contextual to the situation. If a claim is made about a particular individual and or situation I personally know about I can more easily make an assessment as to the truthfulness of the claim and or how to handle the situation.

            The truth is until we know we really don’t know. One should be presumed innocent until proven guilty when it comes to the law.

            Outside of this in a social context nothing can be said as an absolute exept one should trust ones intuition given all the variables and act accordingly.

            In short we may not know for sure about we may strongly suspect something is amiss.

            This however cannot be based on solely an accusations. Others factors must first be assessed before coming up with an educated opinion on the matter.

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          You believe the child always.

      • TLRS

        Protecting your daughter from what you know in your heart you endured, is commendable and is worth being ostracized for. They aren’t worth it. The cost is too high.

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          Thank you for your support. Truly appreciated.

  • mhub

    Thank you for sharing that – it’s amazing that you’ve been able to come this far in just 20 years! I hope you continue to heal.

    While we’re talking about victims who are hardly believed and things that should be discussed more, I would like to introduce the somewhat ironic back-side of rape culture: women do rape boys, and it isn’t the ‘gift’ that rape culture would like us to think it is. Try to get people to believe that! Those who read this and care to try to understand should explore their reaction to that idea. Why does society think that the penis is the only instrument of harm?

  • JHM

    I thank you and ultimately my daughters will thank you. They were both targeted by a pedophile who was my father-in-law. Thankfully due to our youngest child’s bravery and our refusal to ignore the abuse, he is in prison now.

  • Janet Reynolds

    The realization of my own early life abuse at the hands of my father didn’t come to the forefront until my late 50’s. Beyond the actions he took were the actions of my mother who isolated and blamied me, creating a culture of hatred and ostracization within my family.
    These dynamics continue to this day.
    I do not have two heads or gaping wounds.
    I lead a whole & incredibly rich life.
    I have not found an unjudged place for my story,
    which speaks to our culture’s unwillingness to own this uncomfortable reality.
    I am here.
    I am whole.
    I am a beautiful being.
    I can help.

    Thank you for your story.
    I understand.

  • kèjè

    More than 4 decades later, I’m still deemed a liar. Not once, since I was 8 years old, and told my mother, has one detail changed. Not once.

    • nettwench14

      I believe you. 1 out of every 3 to 4 children, we better start believing because the perps are all around us, while we deny they exist, and tell victims they can’t know what they are talking about.

    • TLRS

      I believe you. Unfortunately, pedophiles are often grooming the whole family; setting the stage for their victim to be discredited. I am in no way using this as an excuse for a parent to side with the predator, as often families choose to protect themselves and their own interests over protecting their children. I saw signs that our daughter was being groomed by a sexual predator aka “family friend”, who was married with 2 kids. There were red flags everywhere. Ultimately, we were able to protect her, but it meant I had to quit my job and spend years untangling the emotional damage he had done. Because he hadn’t physically touched her, she believed I had taken a wonderful friendship with this person and his extended family and made it look suspicious and dirty. Sadly, within a year he had sexually abused another child, who also had a “wonderful friendship” with this man and his extended family. Her parents had missed the signs, but predators start weaving their webs of deceit long before the physical abuse begins. However, the difference is this family chose to believe their daughter and prosecute. Eventually, the pedophile admitted that he had “systematically” been setting her up. It still makes me sick to see close friends of mine who know the story, yet continue to socialize with this family and believe the family excuse that “he used poor judgment”. Discrediting their victims is what pedophiles do best. I’m sorry your mother doesn’t believe you, but there are places and forums who will validate your experience and support and encourage you on your healing journey.

  • David Taylor

    ONLY White countries + millions of non-Whites + forced assimilation = White genocide.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

  • Heather T

    Andrea, I posted a link to this on the recently-created Facebook page, “I Believe Dylan Farrow”.

  • deb r

    No compassionate person would ever judge you–you were a child and not able to control what happened to you!

  • deb r

    Many of those who do not believe victims of sexual abuse demand “evidence” even though as others have said here –there is often no “evidence” even right after it happened. And look at what happened with Sandusky–a guy walked in on him raping a child in the showers and many more people came forward and still there were people who refused to believe their idol would do something so heinous. It does not seem that Dylan wants to have Allen prosecuted–if that were the case then the detractors would be correct –that there is not enough evidence to put him behind bars. and it does not seem she is trying to get money out of him–another reason that molesters/rapists try to say victims are lying. She just wants the truth to be out–why in the hell would anyone falsely claim to be a victim of sexual abuse or rape knowing that they are likely to be accused of lying and vilified? It reminds me of the right wingers who say that people choose to be gay–why would anyone choose something that will cause them so much trouble! I also do not think her mother innocent, but not because she “implanted” memories into her daughter but because after reading about all the highly inappropriate things Allen did to Dylan that it would be hard to not see what was going on –a mother should be protecting her children and she definitely did not while it was going on! IT seems she waited to believe her daughter until the divorce. I applaud the author of this amazing article for her bravery and well thought out article!

  • Ginger Fires

    There’s a lot of crazy mean people out there…but doesn’t anyone find this odd? I’m going to refer to the Custody Battle transcripts:

    1990 – Mia accuses Allen of sexual intent towards Dylan
    1991 – She continues adoptions with Allen acknowledging “no sleep overs”
    1991 – Allen begins relationship with Soon Yi Pevan
    1992 – Mia discovers Polaroids of naked Prevan in Allen’s home, on his fireplace mantle
    Later in 1992 – Dylan is alleged to have been molested by Allen at family gathering

    A lot of negativity has been flung at Allen – and rightfully so – whether he molested or didn’t molest Dylan, there was some sense of a family dynamic that was disrupted by his relations with Soon Yi Prevan – who, as a reminder, was the adopted child of Farrow and Prevan, not Allen.

    But Farrow, if HER timeline is true – why did she ALLOW a child molester around her children?

    Farrow received child support for Ronan from Allen, when Frank Sinatra is clearly Ronan’s father. Farrow, who the judge described as a “devote” mother had various sitters and handlers. Why did she allow a child molester to be father or like a father or an adult figure to her children?

    I am not “Team Allen” by any means.

    I just do not understand this family dynamic and why Farrow is not called to task as her role of allowing this exposure to her children.

    She called Allen a molester, according to the 33 pages custody battle, for sleeping with Soon Yi when she was 19.

    Mia Farrow’s first marriage was when she was 19. Farrow dated and married men 40 plus years older than herself.

    None of this is designed to dispel Dylan’s claim…

    But it is perversely odd that all of Farrow’s children, but Moses and Soon Yi, stand behind Allen being the creep when Farrow bears an ENORMOUS responsibility here!

    This is where the skeptics come in. This is when the conspiracies come in. Why support a mother who, well, if she felt it was happening LET IT????

    There is something very, very wrong with that family dynamic.

    I would like to think that most victims of sexual abuse look at all the circumstances that allowed them to be victimized and hold all the parties accountable.

    I was a Michael Jackson fan… I believe he was indecent to children.
    I am not a Woody Allen fan… But I find the circumstances surrounding his and Farrow’s relationship and all things derived from it, suspect.

    It’s frustrating.

    I realize the worst part about molestation is there often isn’t physical evidence or proof because of nature of taking advantage of the young and often times family members.

    But if other victims can’t see how confusing these details look, then I don’t think they are giving all parties the same scrutiny.

    There is more to this entire story but none of us may never know the truth.

    I think what would be a better survivor, is when and if you can get all the facts – hold all parties responsible.

    • nettwench14

      What I can tell you, is that a manipulator and abuser can have a powerful effect on their partner as well as the whole family. The whole reason a woman like Mia is attracted to and has a relationship with a man like Allen paints her as a person influenced by her own dysfunctional and/or traumatic experiences. I know this, because my mother also married a man who sexually abused my younger sibling. It was not revealed until his affair with another woman led to him leaving the home. The power that he had over my mother, a power that led to poor decisions, and a chaotic household, is something I recognize. My mother did not knowingly let this happen, but at the same time our household was deeply dysfunctional, like Mia’s and Allen’s. His preferences, his strange lifestyle, his idiosyncrasies ran that household, and were unquestioned until they went too far, like Woody starting a sexual relationship with one of his partner’s children, while still in a relationship with Mia. When it was in front of her face, in Polaroids, the dysfunction can no longer be denied. Mia is a lot like my mother, who was unconventional and bohemian, and went along with a household that catered to this man. The atmosphere looks completely dysfunctional in HINDSIGHT, but I am pretty convinced that my mother was not aware of sexual abuse going on, though subconsciously she may have been in denial just in general of how one of her children could be neglected, or how her relationship with my stepfather became more important than the welfare of her children. Mia was unaware of the abuse of Dylan, before the episode with Soon-Yi. In hindsight, if she had been more attentive, perhaps this would not have happened, but at the same time, we underestimate Allen’s power as a manipulator, and his charismatic and financial hold on a mother and her family. How could she not have known? People always ask that question. I think my sibling still asks this question. Partly because, no one would expect behavior like that to occur in the first place, if you have no reason to mistrust your partner. And partly because manipulators make sure their strange or odd behavior is never questioned, by grooming not only their victim but their partner as well, to not inquire too deeply or ask questions about what it is the dominant person wants.

      • Ginger Fires

        Your first point: “The whole reason a woman like Mia is attracted to and has a relationship with a man like Allen paints her as a person influenced by her own dysfunctional and/or traumatic experiences.”

        You suggest you know what kind of men Mia is attracted to.

        Do we really know?

        You know this why? A man had a powerful influence over your mother… I’m sorry that this occurred in your family – very much so, but if you look a little more into Mia’s life can you 100% stand behind the fact that your mother’s choices mirror that of Mia’s?

        Mia and Woody didn’t even live together at this point. I would suggest their family dynamic is not a common one.

        Unfortunately, with sensitive subjects like these there’s a lot of projecting. When people hear about molestation it can bring up issues of their own.

        I too have met women who have suffered from abuse. I’ve seen women then date men who were just like their previous abusers. I’ve known women who married men convicted of sexual crimes against children and knew it! But they don’t want to believe it or some other sick excuse.

        I’ve know women who have blamed people for abuse and knew they lied. Whether they wanted leverage in a custody battle or because all the issues of their abuse started happening when their daughters turned the age of when they were abused.

        I’ve seen families lie and brainwash their kids. Friend of mine was thought for decades his sister was truly his sister only to find out years later it was his aunt!

        Tawana Brawley, claimed 6 police officers of the NYPD gang raped her… Then all the supportive evidence proved the story was concocted.

        I don’t buy a lot of what Allen says or Farrow. I find it all to be a massive mess that I think the truth is far more bizarre than what’s presented to us.

        And for Farrow to bring all this up, and not her daughter, the actual recipient of the accused child molestation (of course she spoke out later after Mia and Ronan did and only after Allen’s response)… I find that Mia would grant the Golden Globes permission to highlight her performances in a Woody Allen retrospective but then bring up all this old family controversy very

  • Heather

    Thank you. I have never heard it put into such clear language. Thank you for helping me to understand some things about myself …

  • angelina me

    I was an adoptee and my adoptive father molested me and no I didn’t want it, I looked at him as a father figure, not a boy friend or sexuall partner , hell I was only 10 when it started so any person that adopts a child, shouldn’t be having sex with them, it’s just as a biological child …. The court sees it that way,
    He is a royal pervert, a lier, a pathetic excuse of a human, and needs to be put away, he is in his 80’s now and still lying about everything he did to me, so called “family” doesn’t believe me ….. Calls me crazy. I have issues because of his impulses he had and couldn’t control, he is a sick minded excuse for a man and I hope he gets what he deserves.

  • schnitzelbank

    Brilliant writing by Andrea Grimes. She fails to mention, however, the other component in this: families often reject the victim, when the assault takes place within the family system. I think their denial stems from the same phenomenon of brainwashing that Andrea experienced, along with a deep guilt that they “didn’t know.” As a result, they shun the victim and traumatize us more.
    In the end, it’s easier for the apologists to keep watching Annie Hall, and eating Thanksgiving turkey with my abuser.

  • Kristine Elisabeth

    Andrea, I am part of a group of survivors of either rape or childhood sexual abuse and several of us read and enjoyed your article. We all know the pain that only a survivor can understand and have had the experiences of family and friends that either didn’t believe us, or didn’t want to hear about it. Thank you for being a voice for those who many times can’t speak for ourselves.

  • Tracy Sides

    I, too, tiptoe around telling people because it makes them uncomfortable. I have dealtwith and done the work to become a successful adult. It’s very hard for someone that hasn’t been through it to hear that their friend was hurt in such a way. But the good ones stick around and listen. They may not know what to say, but they stay and listen. For those people, I am thankful.

  • Spinmamma

    This is beautifully and poignantly written. All people who deal with victims of molest need to have it at their fingertips and read it before interviewing a victim and give copies of it to their victims. Bless you for taking the time to write this so well.

  • Teri O’Brien

    Thank you for having the words to say what I can not.

  • CJ99

    Another writer known for hate filled tirades against LGBT is the authour of “Enders game”, sorry forgot his name atm but he once called for the violent overthrow of the government if same sex marraige laws ever became common.

    • Jennifer Starr

      Orson Scott Card.

      • CJ99

        Yeah that’s the one. A vile bigot who hides behind fame, money, & power.

  • http://healingjourney.yolasite.com/index/welcome-to-the-healing-journey- angel

    As a survivor of 17 years of child sexual abuse, rape, sodomy…thank you. i told three people….no one believed me, not until about 15 years ago when I told just one more person. She believed me.

  • Indira Chakravorty

    those of us who read ‘mia’s story’ in vanity fair are aware of the ambience of the whole household, woody’s hold on it, his preference-laden behavior with dylan [a tactic very often used by child sexual abuser for multiple reasons – one of which is to acclimatize the child with the behavior so s/he starts thinking whatever dad is doing is normal behavior], everybody being afraid of him, all the children seeing him as a father figure irrespective of who adopted who – and many other things – these are all indications of CSA being present in the home and point to the abuser. the affair with soon-yi even though she was legally of age [still was nothing but a youngster] strongly indicate dylan was/is telling the truth. mia’s behavior at the time was also very attuned to what, a mother who is under the spell of a powerful and crafty abuser, usually does – not of a vindictive and vengeful ‘witch.’ the fact that she was painted as such and dylan’s account was dismissed as non-conclusive is also very typical of what happens when the abuser is powerful, rich and with a lot of following from powerful and rich people…let alone a world-renowned ‘intellectual’ movie maker. as i know the telltale signs of CSA i have no other option but believe dylan – not just because my heart goes to her.

  • http://myfathersprostitute.blogspot.com/ Steven Whitacre

    Great post! The truth is, we are out there. I recently released my book My Father’s Prostitute: Story of a Stolen Childhood, and have been receiving email after email from people that being with “I’ve never told anybody but….” … it’s so sad how prevalent this is and the lifelong scars it leaves.

  • nettwench14

    It is the nature of memories of trauma to seem warped and distorted compared to normal memories, so when I see people disbelieving a child like Dylan, because their memories are not perfect and in order, recited in an exact way every time they are questioned, I just want to tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  • http://www.friv2friv3friv4.com/ friv 2 friv 3 friv 4

    Yes! I keep thinking, “am I the only one who remembers that he married
    his adopted daughter who was so much younger than he was?!?!?!?” Ewww.
    While maybe it was legal (not sure about that), it did not pass the
    gross-out test. Extremely creepy.

  • Wendy Dutton

    As a survivor , and a professional who works with survivors, you touched my heart and soul and encouges me to tell my story. Thank- you

  • Anna

    Thank you, Andrea.