Why Bill and not Woody?
Did you hear the big crash landing in Hollywood this month? It was Bill Cosby’s career tragically ending. After being accused by more than a dozen women of drugging and rape, America’s Dad has fallen off of his patriarchal throne, while the line of accusers grows. To witness the unfolding of what appears to be a hidden lifestyle of crimes against women is sad-making, to say the least , both for Cosby and for the women.
Did you hear the other big crash landing in 2014? No? That’s because there wasn’t one after we were reminded of the allegation that iconic film director Woody Allen molested his seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. Recall in the Open Letter on February 1, 2014, Mia Farrow’s daughter, Dylan, went public for the first time that her adopted father, Woody Allen, molested her 20 years ago. Back then, the lawsuit against Allen was dropped to prevent forcing Dylan to testify in open court, which may have caused further injury. Allen has always denied the allegations. Dylan kept her silence for so long, convincing herself that her voice would not be heard. Well, she was right. Few, outside of her family, believed her, and Allen went on to receive the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award just two weeks before Dylan’s public disclosure. Allen incidentally married his other adopted daughter, Soon-Yi, and is still among Hollywood’s elite.
The list of alleged Hollywood sexual deviants goes on and on, but somehow Bill Cosby is the one to pay the career-ending price. His syndicated shows were pulled across the country; he resigned from prestigious board seats and affiliations; he has refunded tickets to shows and will likely never be seen again. If he only abused one woman out of the dozen accusers, he deserves the consequence. There is no excuse, but the disparate treatment between Cosby and Allen does pose the question: shouldn’t both men be treated equally? Of course, the answer is yes, but only one star falls.
What is lost in the national discourse of watching Cosby’s falling star is the pain and suffering women endure in relationships with some men. A woman doesn’t have to be the minor daughter of a famous director or an aspiring actress to be abused. Little girls are molested by the average Joe Blow more often than we care to discuss. As an attorney in the Los Angeles Dependency Court, I litigated these issues of child abuse regularly, and not-so-young women are drugged and raped by men as a matter of course.
We have a problem. We have predators among us. These predators often hate women (misogynists) or have an unnatural proclivity for minors. It may have something to do with past history or an addiction that requires treatment, but there is no excuse. Whatever the root cause, when men use their power and authority to take from girls/women what they want, they leave behind broken souls that injure all of us. (I in no way ignore the abuse of minor boys; however, that is not my subject today.)
While Cosby and Allen may or may not pay for their sins fully, we must look beyond their celebrity and see the women they (allegedly) have broken. Let’s have compassion for them. Let the voices of these women be heard and validated (and if they are determined to be false accusers, then they will likewise pay for their deceit). And to those women who have been victimized, don’t wait 30 years to seek healing from your injury and brokenness. You have a voice. The Statute of Limitations typically expires one year after the injury occurs. If you wait, he wins. Go to the local police department right away and, most importantly, seek professional healing for your soul.
Photo credits: “Woody Allen (2006)” by Colin Swan – http://www.flickr.com/photos/cswan/87743769/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons and “Bill Cosby (2010)” by cropped by JGHowes from File:Lee Archer memorial service (2010).jpg – Defense Imagery (original U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Brandt Smith). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.