Dylan Farrow has thrust her family once more into the spotlight, thanks to the recent letter she penned to The New York Times. The fact of the matter is, the Woody Allen and Mia Farrow scandal is truly no one’s business but theirs, and unfortunately, wounds that are decades old are being torn open yet again.
When the initial sexual assault allegations hit Allen in 1992, Dylan Farrow was 7 years old, and it had been fairly recently discovered that Allen and his adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, had been carrying on an affair for some time. As can be expected, Mia Farrow was devastated and, quite likely, furious. Any mother would be. At the time, Soon-Yi Previn would have been 19, and Allen around 56, but the fact of the matter is, Mia Farrow would have been very much a woman scorned. Whether she coached her then 7-year-old daughter through a harrowing sexual assault allegation or not is, quite frankly, irrelevant at this point. The doctor was the one who brought the allegation forward, not Mia Farrow.
Mia Farrow, for her part, has also contributed to the family’s colorful history. She admitted fairly recently that it was possible Ronan, now 26, is Frank Sinatra’s son, as she says she and Sinatra had never really split up. Certainly, it’s safe now to make such admissions, as Sinatra has been dead for 16 years and can’t admit to anything. However, there’s very little to gain at this point in making such an admission, as Ronan Farrow is an adult and has begun to carve out a career in his own right. The problem is, more people are entering into the Woody Allen/Mia Farrow scandal, and it’s no one else’s business but theirs.
The Allen-Farrow family is definitely a firestorm, and there is no love lost at this point on either side. It’s easy to understand Dylan Farrow’s bitterness about the accolades and the admiration her father has garnered; if he is guilty of her accusations, it’s certain that she feels an undeniable need to point her finger and remind those who idolize her father of what he allegedly did when she was a child.
It’s also easy to understand why Mia Farrow might feel the need to carry on the fight, particularly in light of her daughter’s recent disclosure in The New York Times. Any mother would feel much the same way, and Dylan Farrow, as the apparent victim, can’t choose the time or place when she’s ready to disclose or discuss any past sexual assault that occurred.
Unfortunately, Moses Farrow, Mia Farrow’s adopted son and now a family therapist, has now been dragged into the fray; in a recent interview with People, he admitted that his adopted mother was not terribly kind to him or the rest of the children under the Allen-Farrow roof. He’s also acknowledged having cut ties with his mother, Ronan and Dylan, in addition to being grateful for the relationship he has with his father and his family.
Sexual assault is a painful thing to go through when it first happens; there is a tendency to relive the moment or moments the assault initially occurred. There is heightened anxiety, fear, and stress; all of these Dylan Farrow admitted to feeling in her open letter to The New York Times. However, by having Dylan Farrow continue to relive these moments, and her estranged and volatile parents continue to explode at each other, it only continues to be shown that this is a deeply troubled family. What’s worse is that everyone continues to feed off it, when the truth is, the Woody Allen/Mia Farrow scandal is no one’s business but theirs.
By Christina St-Jean
Australian Institute of Family Studies