I’m going to go off topic a little bit today with a few words on a current event receiving a lot of media attention that has the hair on my neck standing up and my claws out — the controversy over Roman Polanski being arrested for drugging and raping a 13 year old child and fleeing the country.
What does this have to do with a blog about holistic health, you ask. Well, we could focus on the fact that child sexual abuse and/or rape has a detrimental impact on not only one’s emotional health, but their physical health as well. Victims of child sexual abuse are inflicted with a variety of emotional and physical scars that leaves them vulnerable to conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction, adrenal fatigue, a malfunctioning endocrine system, autoimmune disorders, chronic pain syndromes, neurological damage and disorders, chronic fatigue, asthma, damaged self-esteem and self-worth, allergies and difficulties with intimacy and relationships throughout the course of their life, to name only a few.
Child sexual abuse is a serious and pervasive problem in our society. Millions of children live with the devastating effects of child abuse and then grow into adults who are damaged and not functioning optimally on the physical, emotional or spiritual level, which grates on the quality of our society in general. It is a topic that we should all be concerned about.
Additionally, an important part of holistic health is spiritual health. What does the fact that so many people in our society are defending, justifying and excusing the despicable acts that a 44 year old man committed against a 13 year old child and trying to label him as the victim say about the state of our spirituality, values and morals as a society? How can it be that so many grown adults are willing to overlook the fact that Roman Polanski is a child molester, not a man who should be revered like some kind of movie God. Shame on people like Harvey Weinstein, Anne Applebaum, Robert Harris, Joan Shore and any other columnist, novelist, politician, movie personality etc. that is defending this appalling man and suggesting he is in some way a victim in all of this. Makes you wonder if they aren’t all as debased as Polanski.
I am outraged, appalled and disgusted.
I was watching the news and one of the points that struck me the most and left me with the need to blog about this issue is that Roman Polanski was whining that he doesn’t want to come back to California in hand cuffs. “Oh, poor baby!” Excuse me, child rapists and convicted criminals who flee the country don’t get to call the shots. This is how we treat people who drug and rape children and then flee the country. What was even worse is that the story was presented in a manner that sounded like the media was actually sympathizing with him and questioning whether he should be treated this way. This man is not worthy of any pity, mercy or slack.
It does not matter if the victim looked older than she was in his eyes. It does not matter that it was 32 years ago. It does not matter that he is an old man now. It does not matter that he is a great movie director. It does not matter that the victim would like to drop the charges. It does not matter that the victim is now an adult — she was a child when the crime occurred. It does not even matter if there was judicial misconduct. None of this changes the fact that he committed an appalling crime against a child.
Roman Polanski drugged, seduced and raped a 13 year old child — I repeat 13. He was 44 at the time. If you read the victim’s grand jury testimony, and I encourage you to do so, there is no possible way we can spin this thing into a more positive light. Under no circumstance what-so-ever is this behavior acceptable, no matter who you are. You can’t tell me that a 44 year old man looked at that innocent child and thought she was older, as some are suggesting as a pathetic attempt to justify his behavior. It was obvious she was a child. In addition to that, she repeatedly told him “no” and he repeatedly forced himself upon her in numerous ways. Regardless of the age, there was clearly a rape that took place. However, she was only 13, therefore it was child rape. Then to top it all off, he fled the country.
What makes it even more despicable is that he has lived a life of luxury in France all these years and continued to be treated with respect in Hollywood and the movie industry. They have encouraged him to believe his delusion that somehow drugging and raping children and fleeing the country is not such a bad thing by allowing him to continue to contribute to the industry and shower him with awards. We should not be rewarding a sexual predator who fled the country to avoid incarceration with Oscar nominations, Oscar awards and lifetime achievement awards. I mean really a “lifetime achievement award” to a child molester? You’ve got to be kidding me. The movie, The Pianist, does not somehow compensate for drugging and raping a child and fleeing before sentencing. He is being treated like a common criminal because he is one.
As Jeff Fecke states so beautifully in his post: Rape Apologists
“It’s funny. If your average guy were to rape a 13-year-old girl and then flee into exile rather than paying for his crime, pretty much everyone and their twin sister would agree that he was a scumbag who deserved nothing less than the hammer of justice brought down upon him. Turn that average guy into a rich artist with good connections, and suddenly the crime wasn’t that bad, the girl was probably asking for it (or her mother was, whatever), and it’s really close to fascism to put the guy through the indignity of being extradited to face justice.”
I couldn’t agree more Jeff. Scumbag is the perfect word for this behavior. Creep and coward are other words that come to mind.
My heart goes out to the victim who now says she would like the charges dropped because this situation continues to retraumatize her. It is unfortunate that she has had to have this event replayed in the media over and over, but very important to keep in mind that if Roman Polanski had not fled the country that wouldn’t have happened. It would have been over with long ago. He plead guilty to a lesser charge of having unlawful sex with a minor and was awaiting sentencing, then fled the country when he got wind that the judge was not going to let him off with a slap of the hand. It is Roman Polanski’s unwillingness to take responsibility for his actions and thumb his nose at our justice system that have continued to put her in the spotlight. He does not behave in a manner that indicates he has remorse or regret. He behaves as a man who thinks he is above the law. Letting him off the hook now is not the answer.
As Kate Harding says in her excellent post: Reminder: Roman Polanski Raped a Child
“The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not — and at least in theory, does not — tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you’ve made.”
“To focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted.”
Kudos, Kate. Couldn’t have said it better.
The bottom line is that Roman Polanski is a sexual predator who should be held accountable and treated like every other child molester. There is nothing to debate here. There is no excuse for his behavior and it should not be tolerated. Furthermore, Switzerland should be commended for acting ethically and responsibly. Unfortunately, Polanski is fighting extradition — why one who has committed such heinous crimes would even have that option is beyond my understanding — however, I sincerely hope Switzerland authorities will hold strong, stand by their original position and send him back to face the justice he deserves.