“Having Sex,” Part Two

October 10, 2009 § 2 Comments

Let’s talk about this New York Times article: In Polanski Case, ’70s Culture Collides With Today.

Roman Polanski’s arrest on Sept. 26 to face a decades-old charge of having sex with a 13-year-old girl stirred global furor over both Mr. Polanski’s original misdeed and the way the authorities have handled it — along with some sharp reminders that, when it comes to adult sex with the under age, things have changed. Manners, mores and law enforcement have become far less forgiving of sex crimes involving minors in the 31 years since Mr. Polanski was charged with both rape and sodomy involving drugs. He fled rather than face what was to have been a 48-day sentence after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.

But if he is extradited from Switzerland, Mr. Polanski could face a more severe punishment than he did in the 1970s, as a vigorous victims’ rights movement, a family-values revival and revelations of child abuse by clergy members have all helped change the moral and legal framework regarding sex with the young. [emphasis mine]

Hey, you know what Roman Polanski didn’t do with Samantha Geimer? Have sex with her. He raped her, REMEMBER?!

I acknowledge that current consent laws are a little messy — an eighteen-year-old having consensual sex with her seventeen-year-old boyfriend constitutes statutory rape, a criminal offense. But Polanski’s case is crystal clear. He drugged and raped a thirteen-year-old despite her repeated protests. Why the fuck is more analysis necessary?

Mr. Polanski was treated by the authorities, including Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, not so much as a sexual assailant but as someone in the mold of Isaac Davis, Mr. Allen’s character from the movie “Manhattan”: that is, as a normally responsible person who had shown terrible judgment by having sex with a very young, but sophisticated, girl.

Uh, actually, that judgment would not have been nearly as terrible as what Polanski actually did — which was RAPE HER. And you know what has zero effect on the atrocity of his crime? Her fucking supposed “sophistication.”

§ 2 Responses to “Having Sex,” Part Two

  • Lemur says:

    Wow. Just… wow. There are some things in life that are very complicated. This, however, seems pretty simple to me. Where the hell is the problem here? You rape a 13-year-old, you go to jail. The end.
    Also, I really don’t like the word “misdeed” when referring to Polanski’s actions in this article. To me, a misdeed is doing something against the rules. Not, you know, a heinous and horrible act against another human, for which the correct word would be crime. NYT, why can’t you call shit like it is?

  • JenniferV says:

    That NYT article is just so wrong, both factually and morally. The justice to be meted out to him is based on a charge AND A GUILTY PLEA both made in the 1970s. Raping a 13 year old in the 1970s was just as unacceptable then as it is now (although, yes, some of the judge’s commentary at the time now rings (thankfully) very old-fashioned.) And ditto on the inappropriateness of the word “misdeed” to describe a criminal act.

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