Thursday, October 1, 2009


I was not going to write about Roman Polanski. I wasn't. I really, really wasn't. But, alas, as it is the only thing I have been able to think about this week, you're stuck with it.

But, I'm not going to write about Roman Polanski. Obviously, I am sickened and appalled by what he did. Or at least I was ten years ago when I read about it for the first time. Now, I don't know. I'm more floored that something is happening. And more than a little curious if this has anything to do with the never-ending press game surrounding the Manson murders. Sadie died, Squeaky got out, no one seemed to care, so we need to draw more attention to it.

Anyway, what I want to write about is the reaction that everyone seems to have. I'm not talking all the idiotic famous people who want to clarify a difference between rape and rape-rape. (The only justification for this that I can think of is a complete and utter non-understanding of the definition of the word rape.) No, not them. And not the people who think that he's a genius, so he should be allowed to rape children.

I'm talking about the people who are outraged that there is a separate justice system for the rich and famous. Really? Have you been living under a rock? Turn on the freaking TV. The rich, famous and powerful lie, cheat, steal, rape, get caught with drugs, drive drunk, etc, etc. and get away with it everyday. 9 years ago, we elected a President with a past cocaine possession conviction. And then re-elected him. This in a country where our prison system is overrun and overcrowded with people guilty of carrying pot.

How many senators have gotten caught in acts of gross misconduct? How many movie stars got community service for a drunk driving accident that would have put you or me away for a at least a few months? How many times do we look the other way when a star walks onto the stage or red carpet obviously under the influence of something?

And it's not just the very rich and powerful. It's the very poor and powerless, too. How many people living in abject poverty are imprisoned for offenses that a middle class person would have gotten community service over? Because of court-appointed lawyers? Because of lack of witnesses? Because of jury bias?

Understand me. I am not defending what he did in 1976. I am not defending the action itself, the running from sentencing or the hiding out for 30+ years. But, I am saying: stop being so surprised.

You know what's surprising? The fact that we all want to turn our heads and ignore the human trafficking and child sex trade in the U.S. The fact that people will justify 9 year olds being forced into prostitution because they are illegal aliens. And therefore, what, deserve systematic rape?

If you are mad about Polanski, good. You should be. But do me a favor, don't act like this is some sort of all-powerful wake-up call. And don't let it blow over as soon as Polanski's mess is over. The sentencing of a 70+ year old man on 30 year old charges is not going to change the world. It's not going to change anything. If you are mad, stay mad. Do something. Don't get mad because a girl was hurt 30 years ago and act like she is the last one. Get involved to stop it from happening again. Nearly 2,000 rapes are reported in the average day. When you consider that it's estimated that twice as many rapes go unreported as those that are reported, you are talking about 6,000 women per day. Over 2 million per year. Just in the U.S. And that doesn't even begin to touch the victims of sex trade, who aren't considered rape victims because someone was paid for their "services."

If you are mad, be mad at what happening right now. In your town. Under your nose. Be mad about the girls who are right this very minute being raped and believe that they have to endure this to become citizens or to save the lives of their families or to eat supper tonight. Be mad about the injustices that exist outside of Hollywood. If you feel that Polanski's conviction will send a message, then rally for it, but remember that one message sent is not going to end the crisis. The crisis will only end when we admit that there is a freakin' crisis and do something about it.

This is Jessi. Stepping off of her soap box and promising to have some funny story about kids tomorrow. Please bear with me.


Suze said...

Bravo!! Well said!

Steph said...

Thank you, Jessi. I live in a town of 80,000 that has an average of one rape every four days--that they know of. Three weeks into teaching, one of my students was drugged and raped. This community seems to be slowly waking up to the fact that we do in fact have a crisis. Too slowly.

Sage said...

Very very well said. And past that, as hard as it is to remember--to realize... ...if there are 6,000 rapes a day, there are also 6,000 rapists. (Okay, 5,998... one guy was just really busy.)

It's not just one guy, or those three creepy guys. It's guys you know. It's guys you wouldn't think would do that. Sometimes, it's guys who don't even realize what they did was wrong.

It's a horrid thing to realize, to think, to know. But it's also true.