I heard that joke as a kid when Roman Polanski raped Samantha Geimer. I didn’t get it then, but we’ve made a joke about child rape for a long time. When it’s a boy and a female teacher, we say he’s lucky. Lucky to be fucked up for life? We waver between the idiocy of making an 18 year old boy with a 17 year old girlfriend a sex offender, and the vile complicity of judges who say “it takes two to tango” when a pedophile rapes a young girl. Probably because as a society that was born of Puritans, we are both ashamed of and obsessed with sex.
I recently watched the terribly slanted “Wanted and Desired” documentary on Polanski that puts him on a pedestal and paints him as the victim. It was revealing, but I didn’t agree with its conclusion. Polanski is no Leo Frank. He was not lynched. He pleaded guilty, hoping to walk. When he realized that public sentiment was against him, and the judge could give him 50 years- he ran. The prosecutor who boasted that the judge was going to throw the book now admits he lied. Polanski also hasn’t paid damages to the girl.
Only in America would we demonize a young girl and her mother when she was violated by a rich and powerful celebrity. Polanski knew what he did was wrong. He himself said in an interview, “everyone wants to f*** young girls!” I admit that America has a Puritan view of sex, but I don’t think sex with a 13 year old, after plying her with pills and champagne, is something an adult can justify, no matter what stage of grief he may be in.
The tabloids and nutsos surely made his life hell after the Manson killings; I’ve read quotes that blamed him for his horror films, suggested he was involved, and so on. But that does not make him innocent in this case. He survived much tragedy, and sadly chose to victimize someone weaker than he, rather than empathize with her. He has only acted like a guilty man with power, using it to evade justice. I am disgusted by Hollywood’s outpouring of support for him. No pinnacle of artistic genius, no litany of prior sufferings, allows you to victimize another. Not even forgiveness 30 years later absolves you. I’m sure Samantha wants it all to finally be over, and doesn’t want to be dragged into court to be raped in the court of public opinion again.
We don’t ask murder victims what they were wearing. It’s another bit of Calvinist rhetoric- you deserve what happens to you. What did you do to deserve it? Admittedly, Samantha’s mother may have been pushy and starstruck, but as the judges say, it takes two to tango. Samantha couldn’t rape herself. Roman should have known better. And I hope he serves his sentence. 50 years? A bit much. But you can write a great script in a few years, in a prison cell I imagine. You have a lot to think about in there.
I like what Andrew Vachss, lawyer and child advocate, has to say about it.
Oh, the sunglasses aren’t an affectation. He was hit in the eye with a chain when he was young. I’d also like to thank Caitlyn of 1416 and Counting for getting my Irish up about this with her own post.