Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Michael Wolff Must Apologise

Yesterday, we read an excellent article by Rebecca Hains explaining why The Daily Beast's coverage of open letter by Dylan Farrow to Woody Allen's fans were dangerous and irresponsible. Not ten minutes after reading Hains' article, we came across a similarly offensive and dangerous piece on Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen: this time by Michael Wolff in the Guardian.

It is hard to know where to start with Woolf's article considering it is effectively one gigantic rant claiming that the allegations of child abuse are simply a way of demonising Allen by his mentallly ill ex-partner Mia Farrow. And, Wolff is very clearly painting Farrow as media-hungry, unstable woman who lies because she was mad about Allen being more famous than her. Wolff then suggests that the allegations have only "resurfaced", as if we had all forgotten them, because Farrow was jealous that Woolf was being given an award. Because child abuse is so infrequent that Farrow must be lying.

What is most egregious in Wolff's article is the following statements:

It is a story of interlocking media deals and cultivated media cronies. Everybody is at work here. Everybody is someone else's instrument. Everybody is promoting something. Two decades have passed but the Allen-Farrow betrayal, break-up, and molestation charges are somehow, all of a sudden, as vivid as yesterday.

Here's a certainty: When you play out your personal dramas, hurt and self-interest in the media, it's a confection. You say what you have to say in the way you have to say it to give it media currency – and that's always far from the truth. Often, in fact, someone else says it for you. It's all planned. It's all rehearsed. This is craft. This is strategy. This is manipulation. This is spin.

It is absolutely reprehensible to reduce a woman's description of her experience of child sexual abuse to "spin"; to suggest that the only reason for allegations against a famous man is because of jealousy. The Guardian should issue a full apology to Dylan Farrow for this disgraceful piece of 'journalism'.

This is precisely the language that silences victims. When the media publishes these types of articles they are actively perpetuating a rape culture which results in less than 6% of rapists being convicted. These types of articles tell rapists it's okay to rape women and children because no one will believe their victims; that the media will call the victims liars and manipulators. These articles are why the police fail to investigate rape allegations properly, why defence attorneys are allowed to use clearly fallacious statements in court, why judges think 6 months is an appropriate sentence for rape, and why women refuse to report.

These types of articles are precisely why we started this campaign: victim blaming in the media must not be tolerated.

This article "Woody Allen's Good Name" is an excellent rebuttal to Wolff's victim blaming.

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