Warning for rape and child abuse.
Warning for triggery subject matter in comments.
So I've read sf_drama and stupid_free covering this like, multiple times because there is that much stupid, especially from the joy and the light that is ohnotheydidnt. Besides the problem with using the word rape when defending him--and I mean, just from a language perspective, it's fascinating to watch that shit--there's a real breakdown problem in the meaning of statutory rape, because when those words are used together, we tend to associate it with shitty lawsuits about two teenagers getting it on, so it reads as consensual, but for those meddling parents and that nasty judge!
So stat rape is like, rape-lite in common parlance--God strike me dead, but I might have actually read that somewhere and not something that's all that bad, because again, our associations via media are eighteen year olds who sleep with their sixteen year old girlfriend, and Mom and Dad were racist/classist/religious/pick-one. Added to that, people who are teenagers and people who remember being teenagers who have had/had/are going to have sex with someone during that period of sexual maturity before age of consent really get twisted out of shape, because honestly, I don't think anyone wants to hear they were OMG RAPISTS. Hence, statutory rape == not real rape.
We all know this. And I'm getting the feeling that combined with the fact the victim is now in her forties, everyone is visualizing some kind of bizarre May-December love affair of a broken-hearted Polanski and an overdeveloped Hollywood ingenue who totes knew what she was getting into while her mother cackled in the background. By the way, if you have read Godfather, you remember that chapter?
[I remember that was a wtf moment for me; here I am reading about gangsters and Surprise!Child Rape! With Mommy orchestrating! And there was a plane! Then later, there was a horse's head. I mean, at that point, the horse's head didn't even like, penetrate. I was still hung up on the before and after of the little girl. It's been about five years since my last read and I still remember how she was described before and after. I have never been able to really understand how horrible the horse's head was supposed to be; I was still numb from the kid.]
So most people remember their teens, but they don't remember thirteen. So. I thought maybe at some point, somewhere, someone will go look at a seventh grade playground. A seventh grade playground. Eleven to fourteen is when you hit menarche, get your first period. It's when you discover boys. It's when you discover hair care products are a life decision. Mom may let you wear lipstick if you really beg. Dad does not like your sudden interest in tighter skirts. You may have snuck Cosmo out at a slumberparty. There's a fairly good chance you secretly still play with Barbies and will never admit it to anyone. Sometimes, you might still be wearing a training bra or graduating to your first bra. You may have gotten text messaging activated on your phone. And maybe you might try to do a cartwheel and realize it's been like, a foot and a half of height since you could do one of those.
The victim was a Hollywood actress and probably wouldn't have had a chance to go anywhere near any of this, if reports are right. For reasons I don't entirely understand, she was alone without anyone who should be responsible for her safety adn security (and one day, I want to freak out about this, because the circumstances alone make me want to become a helicopter parent). There's a better than average chance she was forced to know a shitload more about sexuality than she should have at her age.
That doesn't change her age and maturity from thirteen. Brain development doesn't work like that. You can't really fast forward the overall maturity to make decisions, like you really can't fast forward puberty, because let me tell you, I sure as fuck would have gotten that shit over with a hell of a lot faster. It may have changed how she thought of the world, how she thought of herself, but it's still thirteen. Even if she was a miracle of maturity and understanding of the world, it's still a maturity in a thirteen year old brain. And there is a huge difference in a thirteen year old brain and a sixteen, a twenty, a thirty. We can argue emotional maturity forever and ever, but I'm going to say the chances that this one girl was somehow able to be emotionally mature enough to be able to consent at the same level as a woman over the age of eighteen really fucking insane.
She was a child in the presence of an adult, a, a female with a man, b, an aspiring actress with a director, c, a daughter left there without parental protection, d, unable to drive or remove herself under her own power without undue difficulty, e, drugged and stripped of what rational decisions could be made, f, making e impossible anyway. At no point did this child have power in the situation and that was the goddamn point. Rape isn't because they're pretty, though there can be attraction because they are pretty; rape isn't because they dress provocatively, though there can be attraction because of how they are dressed--rape is an act of power dressed up as sex with the lack of ability to say no being the goddamn point.
She still said no, which kind of blows my mind, because at thirteen, reading that, I'm not sure I would have known I could.
He was convicted for statutory rape, and if he pled it out because he wanted to avoid putting her on the stand, fine, if he felt bad about it, okay, but that doesn't actually change that he raped a child. It doesn't negate it, or cancel it out, or make it better. It doesn't gain him points. Because this isn't a video game and you can't get a -5000 for rape but fix it by +10 for plea bargain and +50 for being just this cool guy and +1000 for horrible past. You can't make up for that shit. You can repent, and you can atone, and you can seek forgiveness, but that doesn't clear the crime.
There is so much wrong with the defense that it's disturbing, from his character to his talent to his past suffering to his trauma from the death of his wife to his current age to the sexual freedom of the seventies, to the child's clothing and occupation, to the mother's speculated collaboration. It's not rape apologia, which I was calling it earlier; most aren't trying to say there was no rape; they are saying rape isn't really criminal. Even if they don't acknowledge it, or really say it, or dismiss it, the fact of the matter is, rape is still not a real crime. And stat rape is the least criminal of them all.
I'm sorry, was I supposed to be shocked? I want to be. I think the only thing that actually shocked me is that it's taken a couple of days to realize that I really, really need to be.