Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Polanski and her

When significant other goes to the UK, which he does far more often than I do, he often brings me back magazines he has read and thinks might interest me. A while ago he brought a magazine from The Times. I subscribe to the Times on line, but I don't take the time to read everything in it. When you read on a device you click or tap on what looks interesting. When you read in print you turn the pages over and may stop to read something whose title wasn't necessarily eye-catching but which draws your attention in other ways. My attention was drawn, as they say, to an interview with one Samantha Geimer, who was being interviewed to promote her book about what happened between her and Roman Polanski when he was 44 and she was 13. It was rape, she says. Because she didn't want to do it, and said no. But she says that she wasn't as naive as all that. She knew better than to have the champagne and pills he gave her, but she took them anyway, and couldn't do much in the way of resistance after that. Not the first 13-year-old to do something silly and regret it, and she won't be the last. She now seems to see herself as an ally of Polanski's, and think they have both been treated unfairly - she feels she is obliged to be seen as either the pathetic victim or the lying little whore. She says she was neither, and surely she is right. She says she wishes her mother had not called the police, and she is right about that too.

In the 1970s Jodie Foster played a 12-year-old prostitute in Taxi Driver, and nobody moralised. Roman Polanski himself had been going out at the time with Nastassja Kinski, who was 15. Woody Allen was dating a schoolgirl in Manhattan. I had a 22-year-old boyfriend when I was 15. OK, that may not be quite in the same league, but nobody, including my parents, thought it was child abuse. Parents probably would now. Then it was called "having an older boyfriend". The same is true of some of the prosecutions for "historical offences" against people like Dave Lee Travis and, probably, Rolf Harris. They weren't child abuse, and they probably weren't rape or sexual assault other than in a legalistic sense. Those men had young groupies come on to them and they didn't ask their ages. Most men would be more careful now. but a lot wouldn't. It's just that most men are not public figures.


Anonymous said...

oh well - as long as a man doesn't ask the girls age..... that's fine !!

Jane Griffiths said...

I think you meant "girl's". Or was it "girls'"? What's "fine"? Do explain

Anonymous said...

I read that article - it was very thought provoking and I think that case cetrainly fell right into the middle of the grey area. With Rolf Harris, I am not sure. One of the charges is not historic, but involves him making obscene images of children when h was 82.

When I was 14, I had a boyfriend of 26 -- I said I was 17 - and when I was 13, I had a boyfriend of 18 - I said I was 16.I looked 16 or 17 - and actually passed to see X films ( you had to be 18 for that) when I was 13. Tall, short skirts, loads of make-up, heels, long hair. The works. Come to think of it - nothign has changed there!