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Dylan Farrow: a story without a statute of limitation

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Here we go again... Can anyone guess how this is going to play out? Instead of a ten year-old boy being anally raped in a locker room by a celebrated football coach, it was a seven year-old girl being raped by her famous step-father. Let's see:

Allegations of abuse, check: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2013/10/mia-farrow-children-family-scandal

Direct disclosure by the victim-survivor, check: http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/01/an-open-letter-from-dylan-farrow/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2&

Denial by the alleged abuser, check: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/01/showbiz/dylan-farrow-open-letter/index.html

Legal response, check: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/03/showbiz/woody-allen-dylan-farrow-letter/index.html

Outrage by those who “know him best”, check: http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=850608

Thanks to the Statute of Limitations that protects molesters and abusers in cases such as this, however, the only trial that’ll occur in this case will be in the court of public opinion.

As usual, who the abuser is will be pitched against the character of the victim-survivor which will set the stage for debates about false allegations and false memories – a side show to divert attention away from the truth and the real issue: the ugly crime of child sexual abuse.

(Oh look what just popped up!: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/woody-allen-lawyer-dylan-farrow-molestation-memories-implanted-article-1.1601651)

Inasmuch as I hated doing this (because I really don’t like giving abusers any air time or publicity) there was no way to edit out the alleged molester’s name from the attached You Tube video that is crucial for you to see for the following reasons:

  • It was filmed in 1999 with flashes to a prior interview in 1992.
  • In the 1999 interview the alleged molester explains his behavioral cough as a mechanism that allows him to “stall and think”.
  • In response to the interviewer’s direct question about the allegations where a simple “yes or no” answer would suffice, the alleged molester instead appeals to “logic” and paints an elaborate picture.

An extended version of the 1992 interview can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mqyS36-n7U and is simply rife with all the typical excuses, explanations and rationalizations –

  • His ex-wife, Mia, had crazy and irrational behavior (in response to finding nude pictures of her adopted daughter Soon Yi)
  • Mia had gotten all the kids to be angry at him (not that they heard about what he did and not that they could have their own feelings about it)
  • he’s the real victim here,
  • Dylan’s accusations are a result of methodical coaching,
  • the ensuing investigation was “a gigantic industry built on a total non-event”,
  • he self-identifies as a devoted father (not that the kids identified him as such)
  • and let’s not forget that Mia wrote a glowing letter about what a great guy he was (written a month before she discovered the nude pictures of Soon Yi).

Although the alleged molester’s affair with his step-daughter (now wife) was discovered in 1992 when she was 21 years-old, there appears to be no public information about how old she was when the affair started – it’s just asserted repetitively that she was an adult. Ok.

What’s incredible about the 1992 interview is that the alleged molester seems completely blind to the fact that there might be something wrong about getting sexually involved with someone whose technically your step-daughter and he appears oblivious to the impact their affair would have on the family (yet he wonders why he’s treated like “an enemy”). But enough about the alleged molester…

The time, process and courage it takes for a sexual abuse survivor to publicly come forward is perfectly illustrated in Dylan Farrow’s case and is an example of why Statute of Limitation laws need to be tossed out. Can you imagine a childhood rearranged and turned on its head because of sexual abuse, the years in silent suffering and shame, the long process towards healing and health only to be told, “Sorry, you missed the deadline” when you’re finally ready to take the next step and seek justice? Unfortunately, that’s the reality in way too many child sexual abuse cases.

Crimes are crimes - the passage of time is irrelevant once they've been committed. There is no Statute of Limitations for war criminals – they haven’t been excused because what they did occurred in Nazi Germany in a different era – and murderers aren’t given a pass once they’re discovered either so why is there a difference when it comes to child predators?

Sexual abuse is no less of a crime then murder is - it's a physically-based crime that ends up killing the spirit of an innocent victim - but perhaps it's even worse: at least in death the victim rests in peace, but for those who survive sexual abuse the suffering, anguish and torment can go on for years without end. Applying a Statute of Limitations does NOT make the problem go away - it only protects the perpetrators' crimes and ends a survivor’s quest for justice before it’s even had a chance to start.

Thankfully, there’s a bill before the Hawaii State Legislature designed to correct that error: SB 2687 http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/SB2687_.htm that will be heard before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee this Friday, February 7th at 10:00am in State Capitol Room 016. If you’re interested in submitting testimony in support of this proposal, please do so at the legislature’s website here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ It’s as easy as logging on and clicking your mouse a few times.

For incest and child sex abuse survivors who find their voice and have Dylan’s courage to step forward, access to justice should be on the victim-survivor's timetable NOT on the perpetrator's clock.

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