Dylan Farrow is not the first woman to come forward as a sexual assault survivor. Nor, sadly, will she be the last. She is not the first woman to courageously confide in a society that ultimately turns a cold shoulder.
Innocent until proven guilty is fine, but while Woody Allen maintained his innocence, she allegedly lost hers (Allen denies the charges).
Dylan has confided in us. And it's our duty to understand the gravity of her allegations; just as it should be our duty to show compassion to all sexual assault survivors by default. Our support of sexual assault survivors and our pledge to protect them is what preserves our humanity and ultimately separates us from animals in such instances.
I once worked for a company where I came to understand the length some people will go to look the other way when a person is accused of sexual assault -- the depth of a resistance to make waves.
I loved this company. We spent our days working together and our nights socializing together. We laughed together, struggled together, grew together. We were a family.
Until one day when one of our family members accused another co-worker who had a history of being too aggressive with female staff of sexually assaulting her. There had been anecdotes shared and warnings issued among the circle of female staff regarding this co-worker's pattern of overly aggressive sexual behavior. It had been brushed off as merely a "quirky attribute" of this man.
When news broke of the alleged assault, I cannot say I was surprised to hear of the accusations. But I was dumbfounded by the response from my co-workers, from my family.
The men ignored her -- and many of the women did as well. Some deemed her a "slut" and accused her of being jealous of another friend who had been involved sexually with him earlier that summer.
Only a few, including myself, came forward to report our personal experiences with the accused -- situations we had found ourselves in that bordered on sexual harassment and assault.
He left the company, only to be re-hired the following year. I never heard from the alleged survivor again after that summer. And all I could think was what a slap in the face to the women who work at this company, a company who saw more value in keeping this male staff member than protecting its female staff -- than making waves in the workplace.
I still consider this place my family, and as family, I will never leave them behind. I cherish a sea of shared memories and I believe they are some of the best people I have met. But in this one instance, they let this woman down, they let me down, and they let themselves down.
Why couldn't more of us take a stand, or even hear a voice begging to be heard and brave enough to try and put a stop to the cycle of assault?
Do you really love a world in which our daughters hold so little value that you cannot take a stand against this type of wrongdoing for fear of change? Would that change not make your world better?
A distressed mother, already wounded by a divorce, was largely ignored by society as she struggled in vain to defend her daughter. Mia Farrow flailed like a fish in hopes of making waves -- in hopes of rallying the support to defend her daughter.
Instead of wrapping our collective support around her, many entertained the idea that the pain of her husband's departure was so emotionally devastating that it was possible she had fallen into a mental state that caused her to contrive such a ruse.
Not only did the allegation go largely unaddressed, but it has been buried beneath other Hollywood headlines. Woody Allen has just received a lifetime achievement award in the shadow of molestation accusations.
Where are the men to stand by us? We are your mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, nieces -- we are your fellow human beings. Why are we second-rate? We bore you to this Earth -- how can you not help to protect us?
We may not be able to undo all of the damage in our own lifetime, but we can hope to change the course for our children. Rape survivors may have a piece of them lost to the horror of sexual assault, but that doesn't doom their children to have to bear the same undeserved burden.
And why don't we care? I am sick of apologizing. I am sick of feeling bad for making waves.
Why is the default to believe the man rather than to protect the woman, girl, child?
One in six American women experience attempted or completed rape in their lifetimes, yet according to many experts, rape is one of the most underreported crimes in our nation. Casting aside these voices and placing doubt on the survivors is a sure path to perpetuate a future of rape culture -- a future where women are devalued.
"The standard to send someone to prison is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but shouldn't the standard to honor someone be that they are unimpeachably, well, honorable?" Nicholas Kristof wrote in a New York Times piece discussing Farrow's open letter.
It should come as no surprise that Kristof, a New York Times columnist with a history of making waves for women's rights and empowerment, would lend his platform for Farrow to plead her case.
Who will be the next to stand behind one of our most precious resources by making waves?
Let's stop buying into a culture that places more value in a Hollywood blockbuster than it does on the innocence of a young girl. Stand by her side. Have her back. Echo her voice. Make waves.