There was a lot of debate earlier this month after Woody Allen was given a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes.
While many applauded the honor, some – including his ex, Mia Farrow, and their son, Ronan Farrow – were outraged, claiming it was inappropriate to laud a man who’d been accused of child molestation years ago.
Now the person who was at the center of those allegations – Allen and Farrow’s adopted daughter, Dylan – is speaking out in an open letter published in part in the New York Times.
The charges arose in 1992, when the director was accused of touching the then-7-year-old inappropriately. He claimed that Farrow had come up with the allegations out of anger over his affair with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Farrow Previn (who later became his wife). The claims were investigated, but a Connecticut prosecutor decided not to pursue charges because Dylan was too “fragile” to withstand a trial.
After a fierce custody battle, in 1993 a judge awarded Farrow custody of the children and denied Allen visitation with Dylan.
But Dylan – who previously spoke about the allegations in a Vanity Fair interview in October – claims in her letter (which can be read in full here) that the assault happened and it was far worse than people know.
“That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up,” she says. “I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.”
“That torment was made worse by Hollywood,” she continues. “All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye 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.”
Now 28, happily married and living in Florida under a different name, Dylan says she’s speaking out because she wants to set the record straight. “I was thinking, if I don’t speak out, I’ll regret it on my death bed,” she says.
“This time, I refuse to fall apart,” she adds. “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 assault who have reached out to me have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.”