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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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because everyone is talking about it
children of dune - leto 1
Roman Polanski.

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.

*points* What you said.

thank you... for saying exactly what I'm thinking. :|

I think he's a tragic figure. That does not negate the fact that he drugged and raped a protesting child. And even if she had said "yes," she wasn't competent to give consent! I am baffled and outraged that anyone is defending him on this point. He skipped the country and eluded justice for decades, but now the legal process will have a chance to play out the way it should have when that girl was still young.

Thank you for expressing everything I have been feeling. I just *cannot* understand how so many people can just hand-wave away RAPE of a CHILD.

If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But... fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!

~ Roman Polanski, 1979

...What? Seriously? Seriously?

I think what makes this quote the cherry on the extreme extreme amounts of fail is that it he doesn't even seem to realize what he did WRONG in the first place.

And God, I hope he's deeply deeply mistaken, but I fear that he's not.

I agree with this so much. So, so much. When I try to think about the "debate" over his actions, my mind just keep coming back to she was 13 years old. That trumps everything. His oh-so-tragic history, because obviously he's suffered more than anyone in the world--13 years old. Brilliant artist--13 goddamned years old.

I am also reminded of reading of an interview he gave in 1979, where he said, "Everyone wants to fuck young girls!"

No respect. No sympathy. I hope he rots. Preferably while still living so he can really enjoy it.

This. Never mind that he was in his 40s perving on a thirteen year old kid.

And the stupid way he left in the first place? The night before his date to show up and be released for time served, THEN he flees the country?? Makes me wonder if LAPD has a list of other young girls he fucked -- ONLY because fleeing cast suspicion on himself.

Also, I don't get how people can be so fame-blind to defend celebrities who are clearly and admittedly guilty. Being famous = / = immunity!

And shit like this is why I'm a militant feminist. Goddamnit.

I am finding it refreshing that the only Polanski discussion to show up on my friends list was variants of "WTF? He RAPED A CHILD. Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Jail. Now.".

He may be a great artist. But this case wasn't about art, it was about raping 13 year olds.

And to some extent the level of defensiveness, and the articles I've read about it make me wonder how many other people were drugging and raping 13 year olds in 1970's Hollywood, and the answer is probably "far too many". I mean one is far too many.

But add this in with the McKenzie Phillips story- also about rape, the 70's, drugs, and hollywood. Add in the bit where Ryan O'Neal accidentally hit on his own daughter at Farrah Fawcetts funeral.

And I think there is a deep vein of bad where this comes from. Not in the conservative sense of "oh noes, hollywood" but in the sense that raping 13 year olds is flat out wrong. Except, wasn't that what Bill Wyaman of the Rolling Stones did? His SON wound up marrying the girls mother, as they were the same age.

I had not heard about the Ryan O'Neal thing. How lovely. What a coda to Farrah's life, when what so many remember is that beautiful smile at its peak.

The sad fact is that many of his defenders ARE waving away the rape charge, when that isn't what he's being extradited for. He already pled guilty. He fled to avoid a situation where he believed corruption/media politics were going to affect his sentence. He's guilty of jumping bail, or whatever. He's not being brought back to the US to stand trial for rape. That case is done and fact.
So it becomes what, a discussion of US morals? Which is so not the point of his arrest. But his defenders focus on the rape to cast doubt on the sentence. (My favorite defense statement? "He wasn't even allowed to receive his own Oscar!")
Now once again the world at large, and those oh-so-progressive French, make this about sex. When it is really about punishment.
I wonder how Emmanuelle (?) his wife feels or felt when their first child turns/ turned 13.
Set aside the case itself. What if this was Timothy McVeigh? The Unabomber? The guy in Georgia who allegedly killed 7 people in a trailer, including a child and a disabled person? Am I equating rape with murder? You betcha! Anything less devalues the trauma, in my opinion. YMMV.
Anyway, thanks for putting an exclamation point on all of this. What bugs me the most is the argument being made that it was so long ago. Which, in my mind, undermines all the important work being done to extend the statute (?) of limitations on rape--which there are--to that of murder--of which there is no limitation.

My opinion?

Drugging = jail.
Ignoring the 'no'= jail.
youngster= jail. Possibly castration beforehand, preferably with a dull knife and no anesthesia.

Bastard deserves a taste of his own medicine before spending the rest of his life in prison. Preferably in the open where the rest of the population can get at him.

I do admit I may be letting my own experience color my reaction, but can't really bring myself to care. Kids bring out the vindictiveness in me.

Also, I find myself without an icon to properly convey my disgust at anyone defending him.

I am so glad that someone is saying this. If you read the newspapers, you'd think that everyone agreed that this is something he can handwave away.

The number of prominent figures in Switzerland and France who are shocked!, shocked I tell you! that someone would dare to do this to such a talented man is disgusting.

Thirteen.Year.Old.Girl. Drugged and forcibly raped (I don't care what he plea bargained it down to).

This is not acceptable and you don't have to be a far right conservative to feel that way even if that is what seems to be suggested by some people.

The number of prominent figures in Switzerland and France who are shocked!, shocked I tell you! that someone would dare to do this to such a talented man is disgusting.

... As read, that sentence doesn't make sense in my mind. Not from a grammatical standpoint, just from a human standpoint. To me, it should read The number of prominent figures in Switzerland and France who are shocked! shocked I tell you! that someone would dare to do this to a thirteen year old girl is refreshing

That said: I agree with this comment, hardcore, 100%.

I am increasingly saddened and dismayed at the number of people who don't think he should be extradited.