There is no wrong decision
February 2, 2014 by Thomas Wictor
A fellow defrauded author contacted me about his experiences with Mike Albee and Lura Dold of Sandpiper Publicity, who scammed me of $40,000 by exploiting the suicides of my parents in 2013. I just sent off two e-mails to what I’m sure will be interested parties.
Another person pointed out that Shannon Bromham—who loved me all to pieces for my humor and bravery—has no presence on the Internet. He thinks she doesn’t actually exist, and that everything is just Mike and Lura. Who knows? That would explain the myriad mistakes Mike made.
Maybe that’s why he doesn’t brush his teeth.
He just doesn’t have time! That reminds me of the lesson “Being Single, Middle Aged, and Housebound is More Hygienic,” on page 275 of Ghosts and Ballyhoo. I wonder what else Mike doesn’t have time to do? Eeeeew!
On to much more serious stuff.
There is no wrong decision
Yesterday New York Times reporter and op-ed writer Nicholas Kristof published an open letter by Woody Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. The letter can be read here.
There’s absolutely no point in taking sides here because there’s no way to know the truth. Allen was never prosecuted. Connecticut State Attorney for Litchfield County Frank S. Maco said that there was probable cause to criminally indict Allen, but he declined in order to spare Dylan. The New York Department of Social Services, on the other hand, dropped its investigation due to lack of evidence.
Nevertheless, people are lining up and shouting that Allen is innocent, Allen is guilty, Farrow is telling the truth, and Farrow is lying. Only two people know the real story. Maybe three, if you include Mia Farrow.
Rather than get into whether or not Dylan Farrow is telling the truth, I want to write about going public with a history of being sexually molested.
My own opinion is that Kristof was irresponsible in publishing Farrow’s letter. He says this.
Dylan, Allen’s adopted daughter who is now married and living in Florida under a different name, tells me that she has been traumatized for more than two decades by what took place; last year, she was belatedly diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She says that when she heard of the Golden Globe award being given to Allen she curled up in a ball on her bed, crying hysterically.
As a fellow sufferer of PTSD, I can say that this is a serious mental illness. If Dylan Farrow is curling into the fetal position and crying hysterically at hearing something, she’s in very serious trouble. She says that she cut herself, suffered from eating disorders, and couldn’t bear for men to touch her. Yet at the end of the article, Kristof quotes Farrow’s resolve.
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.
For her to go public is a gigantic leap fraught with terrible danger. Only a few weeks ago, she was curled into the fetal position, crying hysterically. What changed? How does she suddenly have the strength to do this? The stresses she’ll now face will be infinitely worse than before. Stress exacerbates her illness, which was diagnosed only last year. She’s at the very beginning of managing her PTSD.
In her letter Dylan Farrow makes the following statement.
Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
Yes, but this is hardwired into us as human beings. Society rejects the damaged. I’m not excusing or defending it. I speak as a man of fifty-one, who discovered (sadly) that this is simply a natural law. We’re already seeing the dynamic applied to Dylan Farrow. The comments on Nicholas Kristof’s Facebook page are typical. Many describe Farrow as a vicious, crazy liar. This knee-jerk reaction is based on nothing but the caveman’s urge to flee the sick.
Filmmaker Robert B. Weide has written one of those I-don’t-mean-any-disrespect-but pieces about Dylan’s accusations. It isn’t very impressive, being far too jolly and smirky for the subject at hand. In my mind, one sentence he uses negates everything he says.
I’m merely floating scenarios to consider, and you can think what you will.
“Just askin’ questions, that’s all.” It’s the dodge that everybody uses to pretend that they’re objective. He also knows nothing about pedophiles.
But if Mia’s account is true, it means that in the middle of custody and support negotiations, during which Woody needed to be on his best behavior, in a house belonging to his furious ex-girlfriend, and filled with people seething mad at him, Woody, who is a well-known claustrophobic, decided this would be the ideal time and place to take his daughter into an attic and molest her, quickly, before a house full of children and nannies noticed they were both missing.
Molesters were almost always molested themselves. They enter fugue states when they commit their crimes, and they’re compulsive. Look at the number of men caught in online sting operations, arranging to meet what they think are ten-year-old girls. One such predator was a United Nations weapons inspector who had everything to lose, yet he wouldn’t stop himself.
As for Dylan Farrow, her supporters say she speaks for all victims of sexual abuse, and that going public is the only way child sexual abuse will end. Both assertions are false.
The sexual abuse of children is already illegal. Victims going public does nothing to stop it. Those who prey on children can’t be shamed into stopping, because that’s their orientation. The Golden Globes and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have ignored Farrow’s accusations against Woody Allen. All the actors she mentions in her letter have ignored her.
When a person goes public, he or she is immediately put into a category: Whether it’s liar, hero, or victim, what it comes down to is damaged goods. “Society” can’t do anything for the victims of child sexual abuse because society can’t deal with the entire concept.
A few rare individuals can. Most, however, are simply at a loss. Why shouldn’t they be? It’s one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed. Alice Miller called it “soul murder.” I think that’s the most apt description.
Dylan Farrow is an adult free to make whatever decision she wants. My point is that there is no wrong decision. The decision to not go public is just as legitimate as the decision to speak out. Popular culture would have you believe that speaking out will instantly relieve you of a vast burden, and you’ll live happily ever after.
The most egregious example of this is the film The Prince of Tides, in which Nick Nolte finally tells his secret, weeps, and then is cured. Real life doesn’t work that way. Besides, the Barbra Streisand character of Susan Lowenstein broke every ethical and moral boundary by having sex with what was for all intents and purposes a patient.
What I would say to anyone who was abused is that you need to do what’s right for you. Dylan Farrow explains why she went public.
I was thinking, if I don’t speak out, I’ll regret it on my death bed.
That’s her motivation, but it may not be valid for you. It wouldn’t be valid for me, because I can’t see the benefit. And I would be completely at peace with my decision to not speak out. No amount of pressure from any group would sway me. Those who were abused are not a “community,” and no one person speaks for all.
Dylan Farrow believes that speaking out is what’s right for her. But you should never let another person’s circumstances, temperament, and thought processes influence your own. There are nearly inconceivable downsides to speaking out. I can promise you that you won’t anticipate most of them. If you feel that you are up to the challenges, then God bless you.
If you don’t want to face those pressures, then God bless you. Whatever decision you make is absolutely right.
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