It’s never easy to come forward and seek help, and many times the victim is accused of lying, and many times the victim is yelled at for making the accusation. I know this from experience. It’s important to KEEP telling people UNTIL you find the one(s) who WILL listen and help. The mistake I made was keeping the secret after my step-mother screamed at me and called me a liar when I told her I was being abused. I was 9-years old. I should have told my Dad, he would have helped me.
Dylan Farrow’s open letter responding to her adoptive father Woody Allen’s lifetime-achievement Golden Globe award reignited the child-abuse questions that captivated the media in 1993, when Farrow’s mother Mia, then Allen’s girlfriend, split from the director. Then 7-year-old Farrow’s claims that Allen had raped her became the linchpin of a bitter custody battle; Allen continues to deny the claims and was never prosecuted.
Farrow’s letter provides an opportunity to understand what psychologists have learned about when it’s too early to address child abuse with victims (making it too traumatizing) and when it can do harm (if children are forced to relive the experience without proper support). In the years since, some experts say, they have come to a slightly better, although still emerging sense of how reliable childhood memories and recollections are, and the lasting impact of abuse on survivors.
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