Ann Friedman, writing for nymag.com, has joined the list of those who believe Dylan Farrow’s claim she was molested by her adoptive father Woody Allen when she was 7 years old.
Friedman notes that Farrow’s estranged brother Moses characterizes her claim as a lie, but Friedman points out that in her own anecdotal experience, she has never known a woman who lied about being sexually abused in order to gain something. She adds that she doesn’t know any men who have been accused of sexual violence who were innocent.
Friedman quotes Aaron Bady from the New Inquiry writing, “If you are saying things like ‘We can’t really know what happened’ and extra-specially pleading on behalf of the extra-special Woody Allen, then you are saying that his innocence is more presumptive than hers.” She continues by noting Gawker’s accusation that journalist Arikia Millikan’s essay in which she described a youthful experience she had with an anonymous seasoned male reporter was “making shit up.” Friedman uses these instances to affirm that women don’t rush to the media with reports of sexual abuse because, as she asserts, “We’ve all watched the Internet shame machine go to work on Dylan Farrow.” Friedman writes, “There are many women like us working in media, but we’re outnumbered — or definitely outranked–by men who are inclined to relate to the experience of being accused … It’s no coincidence that many of the loudest voices questioning women’s motives in coming forward belong to male journalists.”
Friedman reveals that a cadre of women journalists fantasized about an island where the editors they knew to be sexual harassers or professional bullies were stranded, leaving behind a “creative, forward-thinking, gender-equitable paradise.”
Friedman notes the staggering number of artists who have been sexual predators. (This is nymag.com, after all, so she sticks to artists. There is no way she would mention the prince of sexual predators, President Bill Clinton, in this context.) But after acknowledging, “If I gave up on every artist who’s committed or advocated acts of violence against women, I’d have to move to a cave.”
Friedman sees a brighter future, writing that the power of the Internet is helping to enable women to warn each other anonymously about abusers and condemn those who enable abusers. She concludes:
And maybe, as more and more women speak up (even if they keep parts of their story anonymous), journalists and the rest of us will learn to identify more with them than with the powerful men who hurt them. And maybe, just maybe, the men whose names pop up again and again in our private conversations will make headlines for their bad behavior, and they’ll finally pay a price for it.