Today I learned that Amazon Studios has signed child predator Woody Allen to create a new TV show. That’s all I wanted to know about that, so I don’t have any other details. I’ve been tweeting in protest today on the hashtag #StopWoody along with other survivors and allies, and have also worked up a petition at Change.org. The text is below.
Please, if you can, stand with me as I fight for the kids who can’t fight for themselves. For the kid I was.
We, the undersigned, are survivors of childhood sexual abuse and people who love and support survivors. We stand together against Amazon Studio’s decision to contract with Woody Allen, accused of sexually abusing Dylan Farrow, to create a television show.
While Woody Allen has not been convicted of a crime, the judge in Allen’s custody suit expressed deep concerns about Allen’s behavior toward Dylan:
In his 33-page decision, Judge Wilk found that Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was “grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.” The judge also recounts Farrow’s misgivings regarding Allen’s behavior toward Dylan from the time she was between two and three years old. According to the judge’s decision, Farrow told Allen, “You look at her [Dylan] in a sexual way. You fondled her . . . You don’t give her any breathing room. You look at her when she’s naked.” (Vanity Fair)
After the judge denied Allen visitation rights, the state attorney decided to drop the case in order to spare Dylan from further trauma:
The state attorney, Maco, said publicly he did have probable cause to press charges against Allen but declined, due to the fragility of the “child victim.” Maco told me that he refused to put Dylan through an exhausting trial, and without her on the stand, he could not prosecute Allen. (Vanity Fair)
What is clear from the facts is that we have every reason to believe Dylan and none to stand with and protect her abuser. By partnering with Allen, Amazon and Amazon Studios sends the message to survivors that you don’t believe Dylan Farrow’s account of her abuse at his hands. This is a tragically common reaction to children and adults reporting sexual abuse. We often contend with disbelief from the moment we ask for help, a fact that is not lost on victims currently weighing whether to report their abuse—nor is it lost on predators rationalizing their own behavior. When Amazon sends the message that you don’t believe Dylan, you tell us that you don’t believe us, either. You contribute to a culture that protects and supports and validates predators while treating victims like liars and criminals.
You make it harder for victims to report their abuse.
We must make it clear to Allen and other predators that what they do is in no way acceptable. And to do that, we must deny Woody Allen access to a platform. We must deny him and his actions our approval as a society or we are complicit in those actions and in the harm they do. To continue to reward people like Allen, Cosby, and Polanski is to betray every child who has ever been a victim of sexual abuse.
Childhood sexual abuse destroys lives.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, over 62,000 children were sexually abused in the US in 2012. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) revealed in 2010 that 42% of female rape
victims were raped before they turned 18 and 28% of male victims were first raped before age ten. The impact on victims ranges from short-term anxiety to long-term depression to adulthood sexual dysfunction to suicide, and there are millions of us living in the United States.
We deserve better.
Dylan deserves better than to see her abuser rewarded yet again. All survivors of childhood sexual abuse deserve better than this continued culture of acceptance for predators and dismissal of victims.
As survivors of childhood sexual abuse and people who love them, we the undersigned are asking Amazon and Amazon Studios to stand with survivors and take a stand against childhood sexual abuse. Because make no mistake—if you move forward with this partnership, the statement you make will be “We support child predators—not CSA survivors.”
PSA: Abusive commenters will be deleted and banned, so kindly piss off in advance. (Comment Policy)
- Why #StopWoody Is Important to Me (makemeasammich.org)
- #IStandWithDylan – My Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse (makemeasammich.org)
- 10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation (Vanity Fair)
- Here’s The 1993 Woody Allen Custody Ruling In Its Damning, Detailed Entirety (HuffPo)
- Woody Allen Is Producing a New TV Show — And It Should Never See the Light of Day (Mic.com)
As we’re all probably aware by now, the Internet is a jungle of rape culture, blatant misogyny, and the insidious messages of patriarchy. What’s a Feminist Killjoy to do?
Make tools to fight the BS. And use them.
I give you the Make Me a Sammich Feminist Killjoy Toolbox: a living collection of tools created to turn the Internet into a safer, more hospitable, or just more interesting and enlightening environment for Feminist Killjoys everywhere. I’ll start with a few I’ve learned about recently and add to the list as more become available (or I become aware of them). Know of a tool I should list here? Let me know in the comments section.
The Block Bot
The Block Bot is a Twitter-specific tool that auto-blocks people who engage in anti-feminist trolling behavior. It’s customizable, using “nastiness levels” to let you choose how aggressively you want it to protect you from potential trolls.
From the website:
Twitter is polluted by a number of anti-feminist obsessives, who viciously harass those who don’t support their warped views. The Block Bot is a Twitter application to automatically block the nastiest of these people. Once installed, it works in the background, fetching the names of those to be blocked from a central server, and discreetly blocking them.
I dunno about you, but this sounds like a little slice of heaven to me. (A bigger slice would be to also block racist trolls.)
Jailbreak the Patriarchy
Danielle Sucher just released a Chrome extension that genderswaps the web when you view it through the Chrome browser. It excludes Gmail, and you can toggle it off at will. I tried it on this page and here’s what happened:
Hilarious, right? Of course, on most web pages the changes will be slightly subtler. Here’s an example from Jane Austen’s Persuasion: From Danielle Sucher:
This makes reading stuff on the internet a pretty fascinating and eye-opening experience, I must say. What would the world be like if we reversed the way we speak about women and men? Well, now you can find out!
Note: While testing JtP, I learned that it works in WordPress (and other, I assume) editing windows. I narrowly avoided publishing the Masculist Killjoy Toolbox! I’ve alerted Danielle and I’ll let you know if there’s an update.
Hacktivist maymay wants social networking spaces to be free of sexual violence and safer for those who frequent them. To that end, they and their cohorts are creating Predator Alert Tools for a growing number of websites including OKCupid, Facebook, Lulu, and more.
What would happen if the world’s major Internet companies like Facebook and Google actually took sexual assault and rape seriously? As ever more human interaction changes to be mediated with the Internet, social networking companies have an increasing responsibility to shape their products, and the Internet-connected populace’s “virtual town squares,” in ways that empower us to build the future society we want, such as one free of sexual violence.
The Predator Alert Tool tells you when someone’s behavior sends up a red flag:
In addition to alerting you to potential predators on dating sites, the Predator Alert Tool helps to create awareness and stimulate discussion among friends whose friends might be part of the problem:
The “Information linked to your Facebook friends” list displays any statements you can see linked to anyone on your Facebook friend list. If you share some information and link it to one of your own Facebook friends, it will show up here. The list shows the current profile picture of the person to whom the statement was linked, the statement’s short description, and the date the statement was shared with PAT-Facebook. By occasionally logging in to PAT-Facebook to look at this list, read any new statements that appear, and encouraging your friends to talk with you about sexual violence, you can help prevent sexual abuse within your social network.
The PAT User Manual contains lots more info about how this tool works. Check it out.
Armed with these tools, you can customize the Internet in ways that are only now becoming possible and potentially protect yourself from trolls and predators like never before. How do you want to view the Internet today? You’ve got more choices than ever.
What tools are you creating/using to make your Internet a better place? Feminist Killjoys, sound off!