Posts Tagged ‘I won’t be silent’

I can’t be silent about this either

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

This what my father told me.

In 1957 (before I was born) my father started his medical Residency in San Bernardino California. San Bernardino is in Southern California. Not that far from the Mexican border.

In 1957, abortion was illegal in California.

Every Wednesday, my father told me, the Emergency Room was filled with women who had been to Mexico for an abortion the previous weekend. By Wednesday, they were dying of septic shock. Like clockwork.

He treated women who did the following things because they were desperate not to be pregnant:

  • Threw themselves down stairs
  • Immersed themselves in tubs of near boiling water
  • Used knitting needles and coat hangers on themselves

Here’s the truth. When abortion is unavailable or illegal, pregnant women die.

My father is one of the most politically conservative men I know. And he is Pro-Choice because he personally saw what happens when that choice does not exist.

The U.S. Congress wants to put us back to those days.

For shame. For shame.

Do you have a daughter, sister, mother or wife?


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

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

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!