So much has been written about the Roman Polanski saga of late. The lingering questions of why after 30 years did the prosecutors decide now was the time to arrest him. The fact that the victim wants to move on. The amount of resources being spent on a way old case when more pressing things are clearly on the agenda of the broke state of California and so on. But when I saw Debra Winger get up in front of a microphone and defend him on top of the petition that artists and actors have signed calling for his release I got pissed.
It made me pissed for victims who have never gotten their day in court and for victims who have to fight the system to be heard and believed. The thing that people who are standing up for him don’t want to remember IS THAT HE IS A RAPIST. It’s not even a story of miscommunication or a he said/she said date rape (not that those aren’t rape either). It was the statutory rape of a 13-year-old.
The last time this story became a big deal was in 2003 when his film The Pianist (a great movie) was nominated and won several Oscars, including an Oscar for Polanski for best director. Of course, he couldn’t attend the ceremony because he would have been jailed for the rape. Here’s what his victim (her name is Samantha Geimer) said at that time to ABC:
“I would love to see him resolve it,” Geimer said. “And I think we’ve always had the position of, you know, the sooner the better. For the whole last 20 years, if we could just put this to rest that would be great.”
“We did photos with me drinking champagne,” Geimer said. “He was friendly and then right toward the end it got a little scary, and I realized, you know, he had some other intentions and then I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn’t quite know how to get myself out of there.”
And whether or not it was consensual:
“Just by saying no, you know, several times, and then I just kind of gave up on that,” Geimer said.
Why does Roman Polanski get a different set of rules? He is a convicted rapist who lured his victim a 13-year old girl (now in her 40s with three children) under the guise of taking pictures to help her career and then gave her champagne and quaaludes before raping her. He also denied the rape at first by saying it was consensual and then he dismissed it by saying it just happened. Geimer and her mother were also called liars by the media believing that she was going after Polanski to further her career.
I’m not doubting his talents as a director. He could have put this thing behind him decades ago. His lack of understanding and caring about how his actions effect his victim is so self-centered. The thing about this story is that while the perpetrator is a world renowned director the crime is sadly familiar and common.
Polanski Child Sex Victim Speaks Out (ABC News)