Wendy Murphy is a professor of sexual violence law at New England Law, Boston, and a former sex crimes prosecutor, but I have a problem with her letter to Woody Allen, published at: Womensnews, and at http://wendymurphylaw.com/
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
By Wendy Murphy
If you weren’t the umpteenth famous or wealthy guy accused of sexually abusing a child I’d write that I’m outraged and I’d condemn you for being a monster.
But you’re not unusual, sadly. And after decades in this business, I’m tired of being outraged.
Which is why I’m writing a different kind of letter to you, Woody. Most men accused of child sex abuse do exactly what you did. They deny the allegations and accuse the child of lying out of spite, or being mentally ill, or they say the child is an innocent victim of a vindictive mother who made the child lie.
In one of the statements from your representative, it’s said that the allegations of your adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, published again recently in an open letter, are false because a 7-year-old child cannot be trusted to distinguish between fantasy and reality. This claim makes you look particularly guilty, Woody. See, little girls fantasize about becoming princesses and doctors. They don’t “fantasize” about being told to lie face down and watch a toy train go by while being sexually abused from behind. They have no context to conjure up such a fantasy.
Claims that children fantasize about sexual abuse are usually the projected fantasies of guilty perpetrators. Truly innocent guys don’t come up with the fantasies excuse because it never crosses their minds to consider the possibility of any child fantasizing about sexual abuse.
The fantasy defense can be effective because it resonates with the public. Most people who never molest children have imagined themselves engaged in some kind of unusual sexual fantasy. They’re open to the possibility that an allegation of odd sexual behavior is a fantasy because it makes them feel “normal” about their own weird urges.
By accusing Dylan of fantasizing, Woody, you might succeed in persuading a few people that you did nothing wrong, but most will see such a defense as an admission of guilt. More importantly, you’ll never overcome your self-loathing and feelings about your own “weird” urges until you accept responsibility for your actions.
I know this is a long shot, but I’m hoping you might have the guts to stand out from the crowd and not only condemn the fantasy defense but also use your platform to help others. Think about it. You’ve made a huge mark as a filmmaker. Now’s your chance to really make history.
You don’t have to explain why you did what you did, and you don’t have to offer up any details. It’s enough to acknowledge the pain of one little girl.
I’m sure you once loved Dylan, Woody, and I know you understand love because so many of your films deal with its power.
In “Midnight in Paris,” you wrote dialogue for Ernest Hemingway that no doubt reveals something inside of you:
“All cowardice comes from loving, or not loving well, which is the same thing.”
Don’t be a coward, Woody. You’ve written extraordinary dialogue for some of film’s most interesting characters. Be brave enough now to write the most profound words of your storied career:
Dear Ms. Murphy,
Why on earth did you address him as “dear Woody?” This displays an affection for the man, or a personal connection to him in some way. Would you have written to Ariel Castro, “dear Ariel?” or to Jerry Sandusky, “dear Jerry?”
Maybe you don’t see it in yourself, but your letter is indicative of your being exactly like many people in the film and entertainment industry, and just like Woody Allen fans –people who place this man in a different category merely because of his so-called talent as a writer, actor, and director.
You mention”Midnight in Paris,” and you say Mr. Allen has written “extraordinary dialogue for some of film’s most interesting characters.”
If this were your Average Joe child molester off the street, would you have as much public or private admiration for that guy’s talent as an artist?
Ms. Murphy, in spite of your work against child abuse, you have fallen into the category of star-struck people who admire and talk about the good deeds and creative abilities of the sexual perpetrator –as if their “good” side somehow balances out their acts of child molestation, or somehow puts them into a ‘different kind of category from other molesters.’
Ms. Murphy, you must have worked with sexual abuse victims, and survivors, long enough to know that we have all heard this line of garbage from the apologists for our abusers who told us, “but he was a good provider.” “But she cleaned the church every Sunday.” “But he was a good priest.” “He was a great singer, loved animals, and gave to children’s charities.” “He was a great football coach.”
Ms. Murphy, the victims don’t care.
Once an adult sexually violates a child, ipso-facto (Latin for “by the fact itself; by the very nature of the deed”)… his or her “talents” and “good works” fly out the window.
You write that Woody Allen once loved Dylan, and that he “understands love” because you say “so many of his films deal with its power.”
Just because someone writes scripts or a play, or directs a film about adult relationships, it does not mean that person has one ounce of understanding about what LOVE is.
LOVE does not sexually molest a child and tell her to keep quiet about it, and bribe the child with promises of being in a film.
You are correct about one thing Ms. Murphy, like Woody Allen, most men accused of child sexual abuse do indeed deny the allegations and accuse the child of lying and fantasizing.
LOVE does not do this to a child.
Woody Allen is no better, and no worse, than any other child sexual abuser. He is nothing special Ms. Murphy, and I would be shocked if he made history and apologized. Like most child sexual abusers, he will deny it to his grave, or blame Dylan, or blame Mia Farrow.
“I’m sorry” is rarely in the vocabulary of those who sexually molest and rape children.
The vast majority of child sexual abusers do not think they did anything wrong, or they believe the child wanted it.
Child sexual abuses are often sociopaths.
Any sociopath can write a screenplay, and any child sexual abuser can fantasize about adult relationships and turn it into a film.
Do NOT idolize this man publicly. You do a gross injustice to victims of child sexual abuse.