This really bunches my garters. It’s a story about how Roman Polanski, Hollywood director and socialite, is being confined to…oh hell. I’ll just quote the first sentence.
Film director Roman Polanski will be confined to his chalet in the Alpine village of Gstaad until the Swiss decide if he will be extradited to the United States for a 32-year-old sex case.
What pisses me off isn’t the palatial treatment an accused man is being “confined” to (I’d punch a nun if it meant I’d get to hang out in Gstaad for a couple of weeks. Even a Swiss nun). I want you to read that sentence really closely and see if you can catch what it is that’s making me angry. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
“…for a 32-year-old sex case.”
Roman Polanski is not charged with sex. If sex were against the law, I’d *really* be in trouble. And so would you. Hell, we’d all resort to the bumbling antics of fourteen-year-old band students in the “instrument” room. But Roman Polanski is not charged with sex. Do you know what he is charged with?
When Polanski was 44 years old, he *sexually assaulted* a thirteen-year-old girl. THIRTEEN. He was convicted of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” which means, say it with me, statutory rape. Do you know why there are statutory rape laws? Because generally, most thinking people understand that a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD is not in full control of their senses. Thirteen year olds still light their farts (okay, that might be a bad example in this crew…). Thirteen year olds like movies about sparkly vampires, regardless of the quality of writing, plot, or narrative. Thirteen year olds are *children*. Sure, thirteen year olds have working plumbing and dangly bits, but just because you CAN do something really doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Do you remember 13?
Your clothes didn’t fit right, and you were tired and cranky most of the time, and you turned into the world’s biggest bitch/dink when people treated you like anything other than the Queen/King of Sheba. Your parents knew NOTHING. They were lame, and their only job on the earth was to make your life miserable. Your parents, by insisting you eat dinner *at the table* rather than *in your room* (which smelled of goats and old cheeseburgers) were forcing you to live a miserable, tortured existence because they were NOT treating you like an adult. Your favourite thing to do on Saturdays was to watch Saturday morning cartoons, but only the ones that started after 11am. You had posters of metal bands or girl bands on your walls, right beside the posters of your favourite cartoons.
Face it. CHILDREN at thirteen, given the freedom and care to develop “normally” are caught on the cusp of something they have no idea about. They resent responsibility yet they crave freedom. Their brains are still developing, for God’s sake. Their emotions are screwed up. They are beginning to mourn their childhood, and they are beginning to mourn their adulthood, and they’re in a kind of sociological dormancy, like when trees lose their leaves in the fall. No child, at thirteen, should be faced with the decision of whether to sleep with a man more than THREE TIMES their age. How could you make an informed decision at that point?
And that’s assuming the girl *did* make an informed decision, and that Roman Polanski honoured her decision…that is to say, that’s assuming she didn’t say “No”. But even if she *didn’t* say “No”. Even if she trotted toward him in Barbie underpants and a Playtex training bra, begging him to “make her a woman”, he was FORTY FOUR years old. He was an adult. THE adult. What possible enjoyment could he have been looking for in a CHILD, other than a tight snatch (and pardon my rudeness)?
What, the acne? The acne really turned the guy on? Maybe it was the way she said, “but Moooo-oooom”. Or maybe it was the attitude. Perhaps she slammed her bedroom door and threw the stuffed animals on her Wonder Woman comforter at the wall in a particularly alluring manner. Or maybe he did it because he could. Because he could control her. Because he had power over her. Because he dominated her.
Roman Polanski was not charged with sex. He was charged with ASSAULT. He raped a thirteen year old girl, and then he RAN AWAY. He went to a country where he KNEW they couldn’t “get him” (he stayed in countries that did not have extradition agreements with the US), even though he’d been arrested, tried, and sentenced (guilty). Sex is not a crime. Rape is.