As a general rule, the lives of celebrities do not interest me in the slightest. The current and very public controversy surrounding Woody Allen, however, strikes a little close to home for me to ignore. My thoughts on this are with reference to the excellent article in today’s National Post by Jonathan Kay.
Allen’s 28 year old daughter Dylan Farrow has publicly accused Allen of sexually abusing her as a child. A heinous act for certain, if true. But as Mr. Kay astutely implies, it almost certainly isn’t. Dylan’s older brother Moses is the key to seeing through the smoke screen here.
As Moses relates, it was his mother Mia who drummed into him and sister Dylan to hate their father for tearing the family apart and for sexually molesting his sister. It was Mia who created the atmosphere of fear and hatred towards their father.
While Kay doesn’t use this term specifically, what he is describing is the ruthless and brutal emotional form of child abuse known as parental alienation. I’ve lived through it.
The clinical expert in my case who conducted a neutral, court-appointed parenting capacity assessment was Toronto’s Dr. Sol Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein had four decades of experience in this field at the time. He was a child psychiatrist, and adult psychiatrist, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and a psychoanalyst. He studied psychoanalysis under no less an authority than Dr. Otto Kernberg, a giant in the field of narcissism theory. Dr. Goldstein had stopped counting his high conflict divorce cases after he got to 500, well before he saw my family.
At a later stage in my case, Dr. Goldstein warned me of the possibility that the parental alienation could expand to include false allegations of sexual abuse of my severely alienated daughter. Apparently it’s par for the course in severe enough cases. Thankfully, this did not come to pass. My life was hellish enough at the time without such false accusations.
As Jonathan Kay points out, the high-minded presumption of innocence can go out the window in cases of alleged pedophilia. While we need to protect our children, doing so at the expense of justice opens the door to a narcissistic and vindictive ex to brainwash the kids into thinking one has committed heinous acts.
There but for the grace of God go I. And I, like Mr. Kay, believe I know what the truth of the matter is when it comes to the allegation made against Mr. Allen.