Two weeks after my ex raped me, Dylan Farrow published an open letter in the NYT about being molested as a child by Woody Allen. Suddenly, the internet (long my safe haven from crappy real-lifeness) no longer felt like a safe space. My newsfeed was filled with catchy one-liners from high school acquaintances and distanced relatives opining positions on the case. Tumblr re-blogged Dylan quotes, and then Woody quotes, and then Lena Dunham quotes. (I feel like I probably re-blogged a Dunham tweet that week myself). Thought Catalog and Buzzfeed and Jezebel rehashed the same shit everyone else was spewing the weeks following Dylan’s open letter and (later) Woody’s response. My friends sat around dinner tables and classroom tables talking about everything we read and heard and watched about it. Coming out about a rape during a national molestation scandal wasn’t easy, and I found myself trapped in Perez Hilton headlines, internalising all of the shame and general funk that I had for years, through therapy and feminist practices, slowly shed. And now, four months later, I still feel strange calling it rape and I still feel like the relationship in early February between my private experience and the public narrative about the Dylan-Woody case that I could not escape has forever moulded the way I think about it all. Which is why I’m writing about it now, at 6:30am on a Sunday morning.
I like to believe it was “more complicated” because it was my partner, who I shared a significant part of my life with and who I went through chemo with and summer trips to Long Island beaches and Coney Island. But if I separate myself from it, the picture becomes simpler: he was drunk, and I said no and stop, and he didn’t. He also didn’t remember the next morning. There were bruises, which I took pictures of because physical evidence became linked in my mind with the Truth, with What Really Happened. I came out to close friends and the questions I received seemed eerily similar to the ones I was reading in the comments sections of think pieces on the Dylan-Woody case. And then I stopped talking or thinking about it. It became something that happened in January. I learned sometime later that my ex was transitioning (FTM) and this triggered another wave of panic and neurosis about my relationship to men in my life. My friends didn’t ask about what happened anymore, and slowly I saw them liking my ex’s instagram posts again and commenting on his facebook statuses. This doesn’t bother me. But it reminded me about what happened in the wake of Dylan’s letter. People stopped writing about Dylan’s piece and started writing about Woody’s latest film and the Oscar buzz surrounding Blue Jasmine. Cate Blanchett thanked him in her Oscar speech and people applauded.
I’m not sure how to end this other than to say I am still struggling with this. The proximity between Dylan and I seems smaller everyday.