This is what rape apology looks like

NS September 29th, 2009

I’m still steaming about the whole Roman Polanski fiasco. It’s all I can think about and I keep devouring more and more column inches in my quest to find someone (other than a handful of progressive bloggers) who isn’t defending or in some way minimising the crimes committed by this sad excuse for a man. The defend-a-thon is detailed here and here, and that’s just what’s come out in the last 24-48 hours. If you’re hungover and are in that ‘if only I could get my head down the toilet, stop dry heaving and actually puke, I might feel better’ stage, just go and read the links in both of those posts — they will set your stomach acids churning and you’ll be wretching all over the place in no time.

Everywhere I turn, I am reading and hearing and seeing people who would normally want to lock up a paedophile like Polanski and throw away the key suddenly try to justify why, in this case, professional accomplishments and past personal tragedies somehow make up for the heinous crime of child rape. It’s absolutely disgusting and is so utterly bonkers that I keep thinking that any moment now I’m going to wake up from this horrific dream, or suddenly remember it’s April Fool’s Day.

The saddest thing about all of this is that women and girls who have been raped — who are being raped right now, or will be raped tomorrow (as they are every minute of every day) — are watching. They are watching how the world reacts to Roman Polanski in what should be a long-awaited conclusion of justice but is, once again, just a mockery of it. When they hear people say such exceedingly stupid, pompous and insensitive things like:

“The real tragedy is that he will always, till his death, be snubbed and stalked and confronted by people who think the price he has already paid isn’t enough” (Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times)

what they are taking away from that is: don’t kid yourself, sweetheart, no one is going to believe you. And even if they do, no one is going to care, particularly if your rapist is handsome or popular or successful or ‘important’. Because in the face of the artistic or social potential of a man, rape is just a sad inevitably that we must overlook.

Goldstein is right about one thing…it will never be enough, no. Because being snubbed by your peers (which I don’t think Polanski has been at all — look at the long list of Hollywood A-listers willing to defend him) is not a tragedy. Nowhere else, that is, besides fucking up-its-own-ass, whacked-out, self-important Hollywood. I am absolutely sickened at the level of support being shown to this man and saddened at the total disregard for rape survivors and the due process of the law. If Polanski doesn’t end up serving his sentence I (and countless other girls and women) will have comletely lost any last, teeny-tiny shred of hope that rape would ever be taken seriously in the eyes of the law, and our society.

And that, you privileged prick Goldstein, is a very real tragedy.

14 Responses to “This is what rape apology looks like”

  1. Jill says:

    He has paid no price at all. He has fled from accountability.

    What a disgusting commentary by Patrick Goldstein. Shame.

  2. Irene says:

    I agree with Jill and find that the and has paid no price at all. As far as I can tell, he has almost constantly been adored and held in some kind of awe. If I were the mother of that daughter, I would track him down in hell, no matter how old she is now, just for the virtue and dignity of women all over the world. Rape is a violent crime, it is not an act of love, let’s get that clear.

  3. mothership says:

    I am SO with you on this. He is a rapist. EOS. There are no mitigating circumstances for drugging and raping a child. And shrouding the man in glory for his artistic achievements as if this somehow excuses his behaviour is just repulsive.

  4. Charlotte says:

    Did you see Kate Harding on Salon? She wrote a brilliant piece.

    I agree with you that Polanski’s achievements and talent in no way obviate that he is a rapist who must face his punishment. And that Hollywood that self-important Hollywood should take a good long look at itself and find itself wanting. He raped a child.

  5. cartside says:

    It just shows that if you’re rich and famous, anything will get excused. A society that worships their film gods regardless of the price.

  6. Tawny says:

    With you all the way, he should pay for what he did. Years of running is not paying for his crime. He should be tried regardless of the time lapse

  7. My friend just posted this on her FB: “We have long prioritised men’s art over women’s safety, because there is a belief that a talented man, an auteur with vision, might change the world, and to truncate that grand possibility with something as bourgeois as justice would be devastating.”

    Pretty much everything you’re saying. It’s deplorable.

  8. Sorry, one more link with an incredible cartoon.

    It’s also very interesting that we’re making enormous concessions for this guy and we don’t for anyone else. Think of priests who are shown no leniency for molestations 30 years ago. I dunno. It makes me want to cry…

  9. Courtney says:

    Salon. com has managed to get it right by pointing out, continuously and insistently, that he RAPED a child. The situation is so disgusting. He RAPED a child. He deserves everything that happens from here on out, as far as I’m concerned.

  10. andrea says:

    This post has inspired me to come clean. I’m currently on the other side of the country, with a red-eye to catch soon, but I will write when I get back to DC. Jessica- thank you for posting, and providing the link to the Guardian. Polanski raped. Period. They do it all the time. They do it all the fucking time.

  11. Chloe says:

    I’m with you 100%.

    Did you see Chris Rock on Jay Leno the other night talking about this?

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