What’s a Little Rape Between Friends?

by Little Miss Attila on September 28, 2009

Salon, on the Roman Polanski arrest [this is Kate Harding, writing in a white-hot fury about Polanski’s crimes]:

[E]veryone makes a bigger deal of her age than her testimony that she did not consent, because if she’d been 18 and kept saying no while he kissed her, licked her, screwed her and sodomized her, this would almost certainly be a whole different story — most likely one about her past sexual experiences and drug and alcohol use, about her desire to be famous, about what she was wearing, about how easy it would be for Roman Polanski to get consensual sex, so hey, why would he need to rape anyone?

It would quite possibly be a story about a wealthy and famous director who pled not guilty to sexual assault, was acquitted on “she wanted it” grounds, and continued to live and work happily in the U.S. Which is to say that 30 years on, it would not be a story at all. So it’s much safer to focus on the victim’s age, removing any legal question of consent than to get tied up in that thorny “he said, she said” stuff about her begging Polanski to stop and being terrified of him.

He did the crime; he has yet to do the time. Why is that so difficult to comprehend? I get that this many years later, it should all be water under the bridge. But the reason it isn’t is that despite getting this pled down from rape to statutory rape—which is most assuredly was not; anal sex on a drugged 13-year-old?—Polanski fled justice, rather than facing it.

UPDATE: Patterico has more, though it doesn’t necessarily make for easy reading. For years, I was lied to about this case, and told it was a mere statutory rape. No—it was pled down to statutory rape.

But it was full-on rape, including forced anal and drugging of the victim.

Do your time, Roman.

UPDATE II: I see that I’m being misinterpreted, and that some feel that I’m characterizing the Kate Harding piece as being written by one of Polanski’s apologists. No, no. Darrell is right; my quoting a passage that has tongue-in-cheek quality to it was ambiguous. Kate Harding at Salon is making the point that this would be a crime even if the victim had been a grown woman at the time. I read the transcripts of the girl’s grand jury testimony last night on Smoking Gun, and it was painful reading that brings back memories of being a preteen girl in a sex-drenched era. Ghastly, ghastly stuff.

I understand Polanski’s temptation, but I also understand that the girl was confused, and not sophisticated enough to steer the situation away from a sexual encounter. She was also being plied with champagne and part of a Qaalude.

No matter how rich you are, sex is not an entitlement.

UPDATE III: A word of explanation about my remark that “I understand Polanski’s temptation,” which outraged at least one reader. I meant that I understand why he found the situation erotic and tempting. And I understand that he was (and likely still is) a troubled man who seeks sensation to get out of his own head.

In reading through that awful, awful transcript of the girl’s grand jury testimony, I could see it from the point of view of a curious adolescent woman-child in the 1970s, because I was such a thing at one time. And I could see it from the point of view of a middle-aged woman. And I could see it from the point of view of a middle-aged man. There was so much about that situation that drenched it in sexuality from the start, if one wants to take an adult point of view. I can see how a man would be tempted to rationalize it as a sort of date. Want it to be a sort of date. Talk oneself into it being that, convince oneself that it was a sort of seduction, rather than what it was. Which was rape of a 13-year-old girl.

To read that transcript, for me, was to toggle back and forth between the point of view of the Titanic, and the iceberg—back and forth, back and forth. And to know how I as an adult woman could have kept the two from colliding, and how as a woman child I would have been powerless to do so. (Was, on a few occasions. It was, after all, the 1970s, and it’s only by the grace of God that after all the peril I placed myself in, things weren’t as bad for me as they were for this girl.)

But there is one person in that situation whose job it was to find out the age of the girl, and to talk to her enough to know whether she wanted sex, and to contemplate the inappropriateness of the age difference and power structure. And to listen to the word “no.”

His name is Roman Polanski.

Prison. It’s what’s for dinner.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Moe Lane » Roman Polanski should have moved to Omelas.
September 29, 2009 at 5:30 am
Roman Polanski should have moved to Omelas. - Redhot - RedState
September 29, 2009 at 5:32 am

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrell September 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Am I the only one who doesn’t see a point to Salon’s take on the subject? They’ve become the toilet bowl of journalism.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Time to pay the piper, Roman.


Little Miss Attila September 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Actually, this article is pretty hard on him–and they also ran a devastating review of that movie that attempted to whitewash what happened.


Darrell September 28, 2009 at 8:20 pm

OK. I withdraw my comment. Now about that excerpt. . . 😉


Mick September 29, 2009 at 4:19 am

Long time reader, first time commenter….and it is a pity that I have a bugbear about this post, because you write beautifully and more to the point, have something good to say usually.

I’m not sure if you read the whole article that the quoted paragraph was from, but it appears that you have missed the context of the paragraph totally. The author was making the point that people who are defending the scumbag are making comments such as what was quoted…..and that it was disgusting and despicable.

I believe I read somewhere (can’t remember the link) that there are other Salon writers that were defending him (this would be typical of Salon – I was surprised to read the article you have referred to – it was merciless)….and I understand the temptation to equate Salon + Polanski = A Defence…..but on this occasion, I think you misfired.



MAS1916 September 29, 2009 at 4:48 am

Just further proof that a rich liberal can get away with just about anything – including rape of a child. 

This too is going to come back to haunt the liberals among us though.  From Health Care to Afghanistan, Obama and the liberal elites are staring at a really bad autumn season as several agenda items look to come crashing down about the same time.  ( http://www.conservativeblog.thewebinfocenter.com/conservative-blog/obama%E2%80%99s-house-of-cards-%E2%80%93-the-first-things-to-fall-this-fall

The entire Polanski affiair just reaffirms that Hollywood liberals want a different set of rules for themselves and their friends in the Democrat party.


RodW September 29, 2009 at 10:16 am

“I understand Polanski’s temptation, but … .”

WTF? She was 13, less than a third his age. And impaired. And resisting.

If I can borrow a phrase from Tom Hank’s character in Big: I don’t get it.

Nothing to understand here, except Roman has some jail time coming.


Darrell September 29, 2009 at 11:53 am

What is not be discussed is that this was what was know as “Saturday Night At The Nicholsons” at the time, with assorted other fare available throughout Hollywood at the homes of industry icons.

Roman Polanski could probably say that this was not the most outrageous thing he’s ever done. Not even close.

Ninety-eight percent of the time I go to the cited source before I comment. I can see where someone will choose a quote that they think is cleverly written, rather than one that is truly representative of the article. It’s easy when the whole thing still lives so vividly in your mind. Kind of like an eyewitness that assumes that everyone saw what they saw and gives a fifteen-word synopsis.


Gregory September 30, 2009 at 1:12 am

RodW: Heh. Do not ever watch Japanese porn then.

(a) young (or youngish looking) girls
(b) impaired (by ropes, usually)
(c) resisting, or at least verbalising the Japanese equivalent of ‘please, wait, please, stop)

My colleague informs me that Japanese prostitutes act pretty much the same way. But then again, it’s Japan.

As for myself, I will never recreationally drug anybody else (therapeutic drugs such as antihistamines, corticosteroid creams and antibiotics/antivirals excepted), and if the girl says stop, you damned well stop.

Roman Polanski is a dirtbag, plain and simple. All those wanting to excuse him? Also dirtbags.


RodW October 3, 2009 at 12:19 am


I take it from “Heh” that you didn’t catch the outrage.

Not to worry, about the Japanese porn.

As for Japanese prostitutes, your colleague’s adventures in anthropology suggest that their target market is men with wiring problems. (The Japanese aren’t having children anymore, so there you go.) (Nice allusion there: ‘It’s Chinatown.’)

Our hostess seems to have missed the point, her appreciation of ‘the point of view of a middle-aged man’ being of necessity a little abstract. The idea is instead that anyone who finds Polanski’s victim’s situation “erotic and tempting” is broken.

Perhaps I can be her native informant. Speaking as a man who is about Polanski’s age when he committed the rape, pretending that Polanski’s crime was a confused but normal response to a drugged, resisting 13-year-old is part of his defenders’ project.

For us middle-aged guys, sex with a woman born after the White Album needs a word of explanation, sex with a woman born after Never Mind the Bollocks is kind of sad, and a sexual attraction to a 13-year-old is just a symptom.

1996 isn’t a woman’s birth year, it’s a girls’ soccer age group.


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