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Woody Allen sexually assaulted me when I was 7, Dylan Farrow writes open letter

Woody Allen sexually assaulted me when I was 7, Dylan Farrow writes open letter

Dylan Farrow writes, "So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen."

New Delhi: Hollywood director Woody Allen has been accused by Dylan Farrow of sexual assault during her childhood. Dylan has written an open letter in The New York Times.

Mia Farrow, the longtime girlfriend of Allen, and the 'Annie Hall' filmmaker split in 1992 amid revelations that Allen had an affair with Mia Farrow's then 22-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi.

At the time of their break up, Mia Farrow accused Allen of abusing Dylan, who had been adopted by Allen.

Allen was never arrested or prosecuted in the decades-old case, after an investigation by state police in Connecticut, where Mia Farrow and her children lived.

This is the first time when Dylan has written about it. The letter is the first person account with an editor's note.

Nicholas Kristof, the editor of the column 'On The Ground' writes in her note: In 1993, accusations that Woody Allen had abused his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, filled the headlines, part of a sensational story about the celebrity split between Allen and his girlfriend, Mia Farrow. This is a case that has been written about endlessly, but this is the first time that Dylan Farrow herself has written about it in public. It's important to note that Woody Allen was never prosecuted in this case and has consistently denied wrongdoing; he deserves the presumption of innocence. So why publish an account of an old case on my blog? Partly because the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award to Allen ignited a debate about the propriety of the award. Partly because the root issue here isn't celebrity but sex abuse. And partly because countless people on all sides have written passionately about these events, but we haven't fully heard from the young woman who was at the heart of them. I've written a column about this, but it's time for the world to hear Dylan's story in her own words.

Dylan Farrow's introductory lines in the letter are, "What's your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we'd go to Paris and I'd be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains."

She further writes, "For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn't like. I didn't like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn't like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn't like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn't like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn't keep the secret anymore."

Farrow goes on to explain the trauma she suffered due to the abuse. The most attention fetching lines in the letter are, "What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?"

Woody Allen has been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award at Oscars 2014, and that has given Dylan the reason to speak out. She closes the letter with these lines, "So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter. Are you imagining that? Now, what's your favorite Woody Allen movie?" (With inputs from Reuters)
first published:February 02, 2014, 11:43 IST