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Take your fucking petition and shove it.

In the unlikely event that anyone who reads my journal thinks that Roman Polanski has "suffered enough" or is being "persecuted for political reasons" (I think I have a better class of readers than that, TYVM), go read this. It's an article in the LA times, containing excerpts of the Grand Jury testimony of the 13-year-old girl Polanski raped.

The girl says Polanski, who was in his 40s at the time, opened a bottle of champagne and shared it with her and with an adult woman who later left for work. That's when Polanski allegedly began taking pictures of the 13-year-old and suggested that she remove her blouse.

Quoting again from the grand jury transcript, with the girl being questioned by a prosecutor:

Q: Did you take your shirt off or did Mr. Polanski?
A: No, I did.

Q: Was that at his request or did you volunteer to do that?
A: That was at his request.

She said Polanski later went into the bathroom and took part of a Quaalude pill and offered her some, as well, and she accepted.

Q: Why did you take it?
A: I don't know. I think I must have been pretty drunk or else I wouldn't have.

So here she is, at 13, washing down a Quaalude with champagne, and then Polanski suggested they move out to the Jacuzzi.

Q: When you got in the Jacuzzi, what were you wearing?
A: I was going to wear my underwear, but he said for me to take them off.

She says Polanski went back in the house and returned in the nude and got into the Jacuzzi with her. When he told her to move closer to him, she resisted, saying, "No. No, I got to get out."

He insisted, she testified, and so she moved closer and he put his hands around her waist. She told him she had asthma and wanted to get out, and she did. She said he followed her into the bathroom, where she told him, "I have to go home now."

Q: What did Mr. Polanski say?
A: He told me to go in the other room and lie down.

She testified that she was afraid and sat on the couch in the bedroom.

Q: What were you afraid of?
A: Him.

She testified that Polanski sat down next to her and said she'd feel better. She repeated that she had to go home.

Q: What happened then?
A: He reached over and he kissed me. And I was telling him, "No," you know, "Keep away." But I was kind of afraid of him because there was no one else there.

She testified that he put his mouth on her vagina.

"I was ready to cry," she said. "I was kind of -- I was going, 'No. Come on. Stop it.' But I was afraid."

She said he then pulled off her panties.

Q: What happened after that?
A: He started to have intercourse with me.

At this point, she testified, Polanski became concerned about the consequences and asked if she was on the pill.

No, she told him.

Polanski had a solution, according to her.

"He goes, 'Would you want me to go in through your back?' And I went, 'No.' "

According to her, that didn't stop Polanski, who began having anal sex with her.

This was when the victim was asked by the prosecutor if she resisted and she said, "Not really," because "I was afraid of him." She testified that when the ordeal had ended, Polanski told her, "Oh, don't tell your mother about this."

He added: "This is our secret."

So, let's recap:

He gave her champagne -- enough that she considers her judgment to have been impaired.
He told her to take her shirt off. She said no. He insisted.
He gave her drugs -- a CNS depressant which should not be taken in combination with alcohol.
He told her to take her panties off. She said no. He insisted.
She asked him, repeatedly, to take her home. He refused.
He initiated cunnilingus, and then sexual intercourse, and then anal intercourse. Each time, she said no. He didn't stop.
He tried to convince her not to tell anyone what he'd done to her.
He was in his 40s. She was 13 years old.

What Roman Polanski did to that 13-year-old girl happens hundreds of times a day to other girls all over America. Many of them have no one to advocate for them. You probably know at least one woman to whom it happened when she was that age, or younger. I can think of at least 20, out of my immediate circle of friends, without having to pause.

Someone who says that Polanski has "suffered enough" is saying that it's perfectly okay for a 40-year-old man to rape a 13-year-old girl, over her repeated protests. Or maybe that it's only okay if he's rich enough, but that's not significantly better. They are saying that 13-year-old girls are LEGITIMATE PREY for middle-aged men.

I don't care how long ago it happened. He did it, he admitted it, and he has never paid a lick of atonement for it. That changes now.

This entry was originally posted at I prefer that you comment here if you read it here.



( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
The reason I'm not lining up to knot the rope here is the reason it's a bit more controversial than you think: The victim forgives him and doesn't want him prosecuted. Seems to me the victim ought to have more of a say in what happens than a million lawyers, hollywood bigwigs and media loudmouths, and I give a lot of weight to her preference.

Also, the more time goes by between the time of the offense and punishment, the more uncomfortable it makes me. It seems too much like inspector Javert. Nobody is the same person they were 30 years ago, and it's hard for me to justify the need to teach him a lesson NOW. If, 30 years from now, they tried to arrest Dick Cheney, long into his dotage, and hold him accountable for having shot an old man in the face, or even for lies about the Iraq war, I expect I'd say the same thing.

Maybe if it was just one of those things, it wouldn't be enough to sway me. But both of them together bother me a lot.

Plus, any time Nancy Grace is pounding the drum for retribution and wanting to satisfy the right wing's blood lust on an unpopular person, my hackles get up and I have an instinctive urge to push back. But that's emotional, not logical.

What I DON'T think is that his Oscars mean he shouldn't be accountable at all. At best, that's maybe something the judge might consider as mitigation at time of sentence; it doesn't make him not guilty.

And having mercy on a criminal does NOT mean we think violent crime is all peaches and bacon with us. I don't think ANYBODY is saying that.
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
Your point that Polanski shouldn't be punished now for a crime he committed decades ago doesn't make sense to me. He was arrested and pled guilty decades ago. The only reason he didn't serve his sentence decades ago was his decision to flee the country.

You say there's no need to teach Polanski a lesson now. But there's a pretty big lesson for the rest of us: if you are rich enough to escape your sentence and flee the US, and famous enough that lots of celebrities will support you, does that mean you can rape with impunity? If the answer is yes, that's a very bad lesson.
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Seems to me, that's the lesson if they let him go because of his Oscars. I think the whole "A great artist should not go to jail" petition is unintentionally making things worse for Polanski by implying that some animals are more equal than others.

I'm saying that the more distance there is between the punishment and the crime, the more uncomfortable the punishment makes me. There comes a time when ripping open old scabs does more harm than good.
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)
That's why we have the statute of limitations: to define the length of time after which a person can't be punished a crime. It doesn't apply to Polanski because he fled, and it shouldn't. If people could avoid punishment by skipping out after arrest and just waiting out the statute of limitations, everyone (with enough money) would do what he did.

I don't think he should go to prison for the rest of his life, and I don't want his victim to be dragged through the muck in a trial after all this time. But I do think he should suffer some consequences for the crime he pled guilty to, and for the crime of fleeing prosecution.
Oct. 1st, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
Oct. 1st, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Wordy McMotto.
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
I agreed with you regarding the victim's preferences until I read this article in Salon.
Oct. 1st, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
Just to clear up a couple of things: The victim has NOT forgiven him. She is also NOT now saying it was consensual, as others have claimed. What she is saying is that she doesn't like the way all this is dragging her back into the spotlight and that if dropping the matter would mean people would leave her alone, she would rather drop the matter. However, this is a criminal matter, and the victims don't get to decide what the punishment should be, whether she is saying he should be set free or that he should be executed. The law proscribes what the punishment is, not the emotional state of the victim.

Which is another thing: She can say she doesn't want him prosecuted, because the prosecution is over. He pled guilty and was convicted. This is not a question of trying to assess someone's guilt 30 years after the fact. He raped her, he confessed to raping her, he pled guilty to raping her, he was convicted of raping her. The only question remaining is what his punishment should be. He fled the country rather than face a few months in jail. His punishment still hasn't been determined, but I hope we can agree that it shouldn't be living freely in his home country and pursuing his career with no more consequences than being restricted from going to a couple of countries.
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Nancy Grace

Fine, whatever. Let's all hope he gets put in a cell with a big gay guy with a stereotypical African-American name so he can experience what it is to be violated every day from now on, and we can all feel good about ourselves. That's what justice is. There, you happy now?
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you, Nancy Grace
You're out of line. Nothing pbrim said could be interpreted that way, and I don't appreciate your putting words in my friends' mouths. How would you like it if I accused you of saying that rape isn't rape if it happened long enough ago?
Oct. 1st, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
Common Polanski defenses, refuted.

And you have NO IDEA how furious I am at your assertion that "rape, and flight to avoid sentencing, are crimes and should have consequences" is the equivalent of right-wing slavering-at-the-mouth about vengeance on Evul Libruls. Until you said that, I had not thought you were a rape apologist; now I'm starting to wonder.
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
I have no sympathy for Polanski whatever. He needs to be convicted, just to make the point that it is intolerable for lawbreakers to flee justice and live well.

I do have sympathy for the victim, who wants this all to go away- and who, I worry, may end up on the witness stand again after all this time. In this case, though, bringing a fugitive and scofflaw to justice is more important- a matter of the discomfort of one woman against the right of all Americans everywhere to see justice done to rich as well as to poor.

And quite frankly I am appalled at the number of people who are willing to let Polanski off the hook. If it was a statutory-rape technicality thing- say, Woody Allen without the guardianship issues- I'd let it pass. But this wasn't a minor initiating or consenting to sex when the law doesn't recognize it; this was, as you remind us, premeditated rape. No amount of cinematic talent, old age, whatever, excuses that- ever.
Oct. 1st, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)
He has been convicted--hasn't been sentenced.
Oct. 1st, 2009 10:50 am (UTC)
Good. Now they can do the right thing and let him spend his retirement years contemplating his crimes in an appropriate setting.

I couldn't believe it when I read yesterday that his sister-in-law (Sharon Tate's sister) tried to excuse his actions as caused by the trauma of Sharon's horrible death. Now there's a vapid piece of logic. "My pregnant wife was butchered by the Manson crew. I think I'll drug and rape a 13 year old girl."
Oct. 1st, 2009 07:55 am (UTC)
I hate this whole story. I hate the crime. I hate the way so many people want it to rewrite the story for their own purposes, to make it mean something in various narratives, and I think that is especially cruel to the victim. I hate the way the victim is probably going to be treated. I hate the way otherwise decent people are stepping up to speak for Polanski.

I really don't think that justice will be done in this case. My intuition is that when the dust settles most of us are going to wish that Polanski had been left alone.

Oct. 1st, 2009 10:58 am (UTC)
Since it's being rewritten, how would you describe the story? Based on what I've read, the sequence of events is as follows:

A a 40-year-old man plies a 13-year-old girl with drugs and alcohol so he can get into her panties. He then proceeds to have sex with her despite her repeated refusals. I’m not a prude, but where I come from, we call that “raping a child”.

Charges were brought, the court agreed, the defendant pleaded guilty. Then, prior to sentencing he fled the country and has since spent his life living in countries that don't seem to think raping children is a moral issue.

Oct. 1st, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Well, for one thing, to story is going to be rewritten, as you have just done, to claim moral superiority for the USA. But you are constrained by intellectual honesty; most of the people I am thinking about are not. The wingnuts are having a field day. They can't seem to decide if this is a result of moral decay, a liberal plot, the evils of Hollywood, the evils of Hollywood liberals, the dirty-effing-hippies, or the evils of modern art(!). (This is all stuff I found in about 15 minutes with Google.) The filmmakers who signed the SACD petition are trying to make it about artistic freedom. I'm also expecting this will also be used by the people who want to write yet more bad sex crime laws, and the people who want to put yet more constraints on the lives of children and teenagers.

I'd like to see Polanski sentenced fairly and do his time, but I don't think that is what is going to happen. This whole thing is poison, and we don't seem to have the sense to spit it out.
Oct. 1st, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
I didn't claim moral superiority for us at all. I just pointed out that he's spent time living in countries that have refused to arrest or extradite him back to the US to be sentenced for a crime to which he has admitted guilt. To me, that implies at least tacit approval.
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
He needs to be tried for fleeing the country to avoid his sentence. This kind of behavior cannot be ignored.

He raped a child. This kind of behavior cannot be ignored. He must be penalized, regardless of anyone's personal feeling about him, to prove that rape is taken seriously.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Saying Roman Polanski shouldn't be punished is saying that it's OK to rape someone, as long as:

a) Your victim doesn't want to talk about it.
b) You successfully evade justice for three decades or more.
c) You are rich and famous and have rich, famous friends.

Thanks. That makes me feel real confident that people take rape serious as a crime.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
Wow. I have to admit I was shocked by the testimonial.

I don't want to get into the argument about what should happen to Polanski. Many thoughtful things have already been said. However, I THINK that it is the law in France not to extradite criminal to another country. If that is their law, I don't think that it gives tacid approval of his behavior by not breaking their own law.

What I did want to say is Spouse (48 years old) told me that every woman he knows well enough to know has been sexually molested. I mentioned that fact to a 29 year old coworker of mine. She said that none of her friends have been molested. She says she probably would know. This woman is not an innocent; I believe her. I wonder if this is a reflection of both the past 20 years & the empowerment of young women. I hope so.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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