Kammy pointed me pointed me to an excellent article by Kate Harding in Salon. It’s a reminder of the inconvenient facts that some people would prefer to forget about Roman Polanski.
Can we do that? Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is? Because that would be great, and not nearly enough people seem to be doing it.
Second, Polanski was “demonized by the press” because he raped a child, and was convicted because he pled guilty. He “feared heavy sentencing” because drugging and raping a child is generally frowned upon by the legal system. Shore really wants us to pity him because of these things? (And, I am not making this up, boycott the entire country of Switzerland for arresting him.)
Polanski is in many of the categories of people we want to believe can’t commit rape: rich, respected, charming, intelligent. He’s also in a few special categories: Holocaust survivor, relative of a Manson Family victim, long-unpunished fugitive. I know that we don’t want to associate guilt with any of these categories–but that means nothing more than the fact that we have to work harder to think about what actually happened.
In addition to Harding’s reminders, here are a few more:
- The rich don’t commit significantly less crime than any other demographic, and their punishment is generally inversely proportional to their resources rather than directly proportional to the crime’s impact on society.
- Respect is based only on what we know of a person–their public side.
- Charm is an excellent way of getting what you want, which people can get very used to.
- Intelligence is much like charm in this respect.
- Victimhood does not keep people from victimizing others. In fact, it increases the chances. However, the vast majority of victims manage not to drug people they want to have sex with or ignore them when they say, “No.”
- There are many people who helped Polanski comfortably escape custody this long, many people who worked with him in places where he could not be extradited. This tells us something about them and the accommodations they’ve made, but it tells us nothing about the rape.
But enough of me. Go read Harding.