Maybe you’ll want to skip this post. Or not. Your Choice

There are times when silence must not be tolerated.

There are times when choosing not to speak is a moral failure.

This is one of those times. I cannot stay silent. And I won’t. If you choose to read this post, please consider your own opinion, the state of your knowledge of these events, and whether you can stay silent, whatever you think.

Probably most of you know that I have a book due Nov 1, which means I’ve had my head down working and not paying attention to much but writing.

So, it’s been a few days since director Roman Polanksi was arrested in Switzerland, and yeah, I heard about that. But I kept working and didn’t really think too much about it.

But over the last few days it’s been impossible not to notice there was something more going on.

Oh, the French are all mad. The French are always saying something about Americans so I didn’t pay much attention to that either.

But then there was more. To be honest, I didn’t believe the first twitter reports (which these days seems to be where I get my first clue that something I need to pay attention to is going on) about the statements in support of Polanski.

But I clicked around the web and read articles, op-eds and blogs. I read articles in the newspaper. And then I went over to The Smoking Gun and I read the Grand Jury testimony of the 13 year old victim. If you have doubts about Polanksi’s culpability, I suggest you read that testimony.

Here’s what happened. This 13 year old girl’s mother took her to meet Roman Polanski so he could take some pictures of her daughter outside. The mother left her there. Alone.

Polanski took pictures of the girl outdoors and some of the shots were topless. She was not comfortable with this, but her mother was not there.

Because the light was fading, he then asked her if she wanted to go to Jack Nickolson’s house to take additional pictures. They went there, and she called her mother for permission to stay there and obtained it.

There was a woman present, who either left, or vacated the part of the house where Polanksi was. Once she was gone, Polanski and this girl appear to have been there alone.

He gave her a glass of champagne and took photos of her drinking the champagne. She testified that she continued drinking champagne because he wanted her to for the photos. More of them were topless. And then just in her panties.

He got her into the jacuzzi but when he started touching her, she got out.

She went back inside and got dressed.

Then he gave her half a quaalude.

Where he then removed her clothes and performed oral sex on her even though she said no. More than once.

He asked to put his penis in her and she said no. More than once. He did anyway.

While he was doing this, he asked her when she had her last period. She said she wasn’t sure. And he said he didn’t believe her. When she told him she thought it might have been a couple of weeks, he asked if he wanted her to go in the back way. She said no. More than once. He did anyway because he didn’t want to come in her vagina. (If she’s mid-cycle, then she was probably fertile. Draw your own conclusions about why he asked.)

There were multiple times when she told him no.

A woman came to the door, knocked and asked what was going on in there. (You might want to think about that, too.)

She wanted to go home and eventually she went outside by herself and sat in the car. Because there was no one but Polanski to take her home.

You tell me. Does this sound like a seduction to you? She was 13. Polanski understood, and saw with his own eyes and ears, that her mother needed to drive this girl to meet him. He understood that this girl needed to call her mother for permission to go elsewhere than the original meeting place. He knew that she had no way to get home without him.

Do you believe for even a minute he didn’t know exactly how old she was?

Do you believe for even a minute that if somehow he didn’t know her exact age that there wasn’t ample evidence that she was too young to consent? Or that, later, she wasn’t in any condition to consent even if she happened to be 21?

He gave her alcohol and told her to keep drinking because of the photos he wanted to take. He gave her drugs.

He heard her say no multiple times. And he had oral, vaginal and anal sex with her anyway.

Her mother left her 13 year old daughter alone with a famous 43 year old man who was in a position to put her daughter into movies.

Do you honestly think he didn’t understand he was taking advantage of his power and position?

To everyone who has blamed a 13 year girl for what happened to her or who has excused Polanski because he’s rich and famous and talented, for shame. You are adults and you should know better.

It’s not rape-rape? Whoopi Goldberg, I tell you right now, bullshit. I hope what you said was based more on your support of Polanski than any real belief you hold about rape and violence against girls. Oh, and women, too. And I hope you’ve had time to think about what that says about you as a person.

I’m really sorry a man other people admire creatively is a rapist, but no amount of talent or brilliance excuses what he did. None.

I really thought we’d moved past the days when we blamed women for the violence committed against them. I really did. I didn’t think anyone in America today could stand up and blame a 13 year old girl for the actions of a 43 year old man who gave her alcohol and drugs before he got around to having sex with her — because, damn, she kept saying no!


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24 Responses to “Maybe you’ll want to skip this post. Or not. Your Choice”

  1. Gwen Hayes says:

    I won't be silent either.

    Roman Polanski is a child molester. My own politics aside, his Hollywood supporters would be OUTRAGED if Roman Polanski were, say a Republican senator, instead of a movie director.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Well said!

    I didn't think Hollywood could shock me any further, but they've managed to with their support of Polanski. Disgusting.

  3. HelenKay Dimon says:

    I'm with you. This is an outrage. He drugged and raped a girl, admitted it and then fled rather than take his punishment. Since when is that okay? Why are people apologizing for his behavior? I don't care who he is or how much people admire his movies. He needs to pay for his crime. He doesn't get a pass because he evaded for all these years. All that means is that he's guilty of other crimes in addition to the sex crimes.

  4. limecello says:

    Yes – exactly so. Polanski is vile scum.
    I… cannot begin to fathom his supporters and their reasons. And the poor victim, having all this splashed across the news/internet over and over.

  5. Cassandra Vert says:

    Even the victim has said (on Daily Beast) that RP has suffered enough. How? I don't see it.
    The comparison to a Republican senator put me in mind of the people in hiding since the 1960s for political crimes. When caught, their character witnesses mentioned their service to the public they once sought to damage.
    So, ok, defenders of Polanski, where is his long history of community service, donation to runaway teen shelters, or similar actions that could show remorse or a sense that he owed a debt for something wrong? I don't see that either.

  6. Eliza Evans says:

    I have been continually astonished by this story. It keeps getting worse and worse.

    I have heard that the woman in Nicholson's house was Anjelica Huston. I read online that the victim had named her in People magazine, but I have not read the article myself.

    This article seems to corroborate that:

  7. Emma Petersen says:

    Le sigh. Reading this has made me sick, sad and enraged. Roman Polanski should thank God the girl was not my child or any kin of mine because we he wouldn't have had to worry about extradition or breathing for that matter. He raped a child, killed her innocence, imprinted fear on her soul & changed the course of her life and he should be allowed to get away with it? Are people f’ing mad?

    I don't know what Whoopi Goldberg said. Maybe she's basing her comments on her own daughter who got pregnant at 14? Who knows, but fact is fact, a 13 year old cannot give consent. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE CONSENT LAWS, to protect our children.

  8. Margaret Mallory says:

    Once I read the testimony, I was amazed that anyone could defend him. Having suffered unrelated tragedies does not excuse him for victimizing a young girl. It was predatory. He knew exactly what he was doing and that it was wrong. He even told her to keep it a secret and not tell her mother. He needs to be punished not just for himself, but as a warning to other powerful men who think the rules don't apply to them. Letting him off sends the wrong message to both victims and would-be perpetrators.

    But on a brighter note, I am in awe of that amazing young woman Elizabeth Smart. To go through what she did and come out of it that strong and together–she is a wonder. Hopefully, that child rapist will spend the rest of his life in prison.

  9. Roxanne St. Claire says:

    Thank you for writing this, Carolyn. Why should we have to be silent in our outrage? It's been a long time since a news story made me sick to my stomach, but I have been nauseous since reading the girl's testimony and watching the growing support for Polanski.

    Don't any of these people have daughters? Is "celebrity" more important to them? Does "artist" trump CHILD RAPIST? If Charles Manson had made great art, would we give him a pass on murder? I'd like to know how Sharon Tate's sister — who is among Polanski's supporters — would feel about giving freedom to her sister's killer.

    Of course the victim wants it to go away – why should she bear the shame twice? She says he's "suffered enough." Not in this country; he deserves to be in prison. That is our LAW.

    I've seen a list of celebrities supporting Roman Polanski, most are names I don't recognize. Those that I do I will no longer patronize in any form because their support is wrong on every level.

  10. Maria Geraci says:

    I don't really follow Hollywood gossip, but even I've known about Roman Polanski for years. Isn't he the director that couldn't pick up his Oscar because he didn't dare come back to the states because of charges of having sex with a minor? In my book, he's a sex offender. Plain and simple.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Before you call Whoopi out for the rape-rape comment, go watch the recording of it. People are understandably upset about this situation, and her words have been quoted out of context all over the place. She was speaking about the charges that he fled. He had pled down from rape to another charge. I forget the charge. She was trying to get people to speak factually about the situation, and she was basically asking the producers to find out what the actual charge was and say it in her earpiece so she could clarify. She wasn't giving her opinion of what he did. She was trying to cover the show's backside. Watch the clip.

  12. Katie Reus says:

    I don't care who he is, she was THIRTEEN and she said no. She could have been thirty and said no and it would still be wrong. I can't understand why some people are defending him. It's insane. He drugged and raped a girl. Period. Bastard should be in jail.

  13. Mari Freeman says:

    THAT IS WHY WE HAVE CONSENT LAWS, to protect our children.


    Not rape, rape…. WTF, Whoopie?

  14. Alessia Brio says:

    Well done! Thank you for posting this. Tweeting your link now!

  15. Mel Francis says:

    I'm with you, Carolyn. 110% This whole thing is just disgusting.

  16. Amanda McCabe says:

    Very well said, Carolyn. I've been so angry it's made me incoherent!

    I looked at the petition online, and am terribly disappointed by many of the names on there. I used to be a big fan of Tilda Swinton…

  17. Will Belegon says:

    The age of the victim disgusts me. The concept of abusing a child is sickening to me. But I also want to re-focus on what I consider most important.

    She said no.

    I don't care if she was thirty-three instead of thirteen. She said no. I don't care if he is the second coming of Shakespeare. She said no. It makes it worse that she was thirteen, but the crime was rape. If she had said yes, it would still be a crime – due to her age. But she said no.

    People who know Polanski are making stupid comments of support for the same reason many of us would. They know the perp, and in some part of their mind they can not accept that someone they like did this hideous thing. Thus, they try to rationalize it away. It's not a Hollywood thing. Look at interviews with the parents and friends of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and you will see that even in the face of that, there was this rationalization.

    Polanski's talent does not excuse his inhuman behavior. And those who are defending him need to look in the mirror and ask what their real motivation is.

    Bottom line: she said no.

  18. Cybercliper says:

    I hear you Carolyn. Polanski is a dirt bag and should have been buried under the jail years ago. I have no problem with capital punishment for rapists, pedophiles, and murders. But I include the Mother in the dirt bag group. Just like with the Mike Tyson rape, Mother takes daughter and then leaves. What the hell kinda mother leaves her baby girl alone with a strange man?

  19. Janet Reid says:

    To say "he's suffered enough" when he's clearly not done any suffering at all is the worst form of hypocrisy. I'm amazed that anyone can actually say that with a straight face (oh, except for Woody Allen of course)

    The man pled guilty to a crime and fled the country before serving the sentence.

    Just let him serve his time and I'll be happy to let God sort out what he really deserves at a later date.

  20. Angie says:

    I believe this was in the 70's.
    I recall the world was more trusting, maybe because we didn't get 24/7/365 twitters and news stories letting us know about all the scumbags out there.
    Still, what kind of mother leaves her daughter alone with any stranger?

    I hope RP goes to jail for a long, long time, and his fellow prisoners can teach him a lesson: what it feels like when the word no is ignored.

  21. Soullumination says:

    I think it's time Roman Polanski took on a new project:
    a Prison Biopic.

    FYI – many of these stars are saying they believe this is unfair because he's served his time.

    He served 42 days in jail receiving a psych evaluation.
    That ought to do it – right?

  22. Heidi says:

    Well said! Thanks for putting it so well.

  23. ciarcullen says:

    Thanks for your post. I once knew a woman who said she could never forgive her attacker (she was about 14 when she was raped). Folks had told her she should, so she could move on. She replied that some things are unforgiveable. I don't know why Polanski is the way he is (I would assume he has some psychological baggage or disorder), and I can clearly recall the tragic loss of Sharon Tate. That does nothing for the victim. If we forgive the talented, then we set up the stage for those who are prettier, or wealthier, or more intelligent, to barter those things for escape from justice. We're very close to doing that now with athletes and movie stars, who get wrist slaps for DUIs, etc. Blind justice.

  24. iokijo says:

    I really wonder if his supporters honestly believe this is the only time he has done something like this? Do they actually believe it was the first time… or the last???

    If nothing else there needs to be a message sent! Let him direct prison movies.