In 1977, Roman Polanski, noted film director and husband of murdered actress Sharon Tate, raped a 13-year-old girl. He jumped out from behind a hedge, pulled her into an alley, and punched her in the face until she stopped resisting, then put his penis inside her. Following a plea agreement but before sentencing he fled to Europe, where he openly and notoriously had sex with a fifteen year old girl.
And in that alternate universe, we’re not having a conversation about Roman Polanski. In that alternate universe, nobody is making excuses for Roman Polanski. If he was a stranger to her, if he punched her in the face to break her resistance instead of giving her alcohol and quaaludes, otherwise sensible people would not be confused about what to make of this.
How little we have learned. I would like to tell my daughter that we know, now, that rape takes forms other than strangers in bushes. I would like to tell her that acting sexually upon people who are minors, who are incapacitated by intoxication, is: wrong; serious; rape. I would like to tell her we know that by now. Maybe when she’s a teen herself I will see evidence that we as a culture know that. But today we clearly do not. Today, people still defend a person with a repeated history of exploiting young teens for sexual gratification; a fugitive from justice who raped a thirteen year old girl.