After decades of accusations and denials from either side of the scandal, the young woman who was said to be sexually assaulted by her adopted father, Hollywood great Woody Allen, has spoken up about the harrowing incident she suffered when she was just seven years old.
Dylan, Woody and her then girlfriend Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, has opened up about the alleged abuse in a 2013 Vanity Fair magazine article. It was an interview with the whole Farrow family, though, and did not focus on the incident.
Mia and her son Ronan Farrow, whose biological father is known to be Allen, though it’s been disputed, made noise on Twitter during the Golden Globe Awards earlier in January. Allen was honoured with a Cecil B. DeMille Award, and both Mia and Ronan quickly turned to Twitter to tell remind people that the respected filmmaker abused Dylan
The sex abuse charges against Allen were inconclusive, and were therefore never proven. Allen himself vehemently denied the allegations, claiming Mia planted the abuse in their daughter’s head.
On Saturday, Dylan broke her silence and penned an open letter on the New York Times, detailing what apparently happened on that fateful day in 1992.
“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 mum, 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 skilfully 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.”
Dylan, who has assumed a different name since, recalled what happened in the attic of their house when she was just seven, saying that the incident had scarred her.
“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 travelled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.”
She also claimed that Allen used his sexual relationship with her sister, Soon-Yi, to cover up the abuse he inflicted on her. Soon-Yi, Mia’s adopted daughter with ex-husband Andre Previn, is now Allen’s wife.
Dylan continued, “Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls.”
A “precious few,” whom she called her heroes, chose to believe her. She said that most people turned a blind eye, with others finding it safe to say that no one really knew what happened. She suffered every time she saw Allen being celebrated by the Hollywood.
Near the end of her letter, Dylan called out to the stars who have worked with Woody.
“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?”
She added, “Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse. 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.”
Read the entire letter here.