Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Samantha Geimer says about Roman Polanski and why his haters ignore her

My curse is to see a third side in polarizing issues. The result is getting hated or ignored by people on both sides. I'm saddened to see the same thing happens to Samantha Geimer: the people who claim to be her champions have no interest in what she says, and the worst defenders of Polanski say that because she was sexually active, she must have consented.

She's told her story many times, and the basic story stays the same:

1. She was sexually active.

2. She did not consent.

3. She thinks Polanski's original sentence and time served was sufficient. (For more about that, see The prurient hounding of Roman Polanski is over at last | Agnes Poirier | Opinion | The Guardian)

Here are three tellings of the situation by Geimer; I recommend reading them all.

Roman Polanski sexual abuse case - Wikipedia:
According to Geimer's testimony to the grand jury, Polanski had asked Geimer's mother (a television actress and model) if he could photograph the girl as part of his work for the French edition of Vogue,[13] which Polanski had been invited to guest-edit. Her mother allowed a private photo shoot. Geimer testified that she felt uncomfortable during the first session, in which she posed topless at Polanski's request, and initially did not wish to take part in a second but nevertheless agreed to another shoot. This took place on March 10, 1977, at the home of actor Jack Nicholson in the Mulholland area of Los Angeles. At the time the crime was committed, Nicholson was on a skitrip in Colorado, and his live-in girlfriend Anjelica Huston who was there left, but later returned while Polanski and Geimer were there. Geimer was quoted in a later article as saying that Huston became suspicious of what was going on behind the closed bedroom door and began banging on it, but left when Polanski insisted they were finishing up the photo shoot.[14] "We did photos with me drinking champagne," Geimer says. "Toward the end it got a little scary, and I realized he had other intentions and I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn't quite know how to get myself out of there."[15] In a 2003 interview, she recalled that she began to feel uncomfortable after he asked her to lie down on a bed, and described how she attempted to resist. "I said, 'No, no. I don't want to go in there. No, I don't want to do this. No!', and then I didn't know what else to do," she stated, adding: "We were alone and I didn’t know what else would happen if I made a scene. So I was just scared, and after giving some resistance, I figured well, I guess I’ll get to come home after this".[16]
Roman Polanski’s Rape Victim Urges Court to Drop 40-Year-Old Case – Variety:
“He got arrested. I knew he was sorry the next day,” she said after the hearing. “I was sure he instantly regretted what he had done and wished it hadn’t happened. It just wasn’t as traumatic for me as everyone would like to believe it was. I was a young sexually active teenager and it was a scary thing, but it was not an uncommon thing. I understood much worse things happened to people. So, I was just not as traumatized as everybody thinks I should have been.”
Geimer also resisted the idea that Polanski was a pedophile.
“I was almost 14,” she said. “I wasn’t 10.”
Samantha Geimer, Victim In Roman Polanski Sex Case, Defends Him In Court | Deadline:
Reporters severely questioned whether her defense of Polanski let him off too easily, and might encourage other predators. But she insisted that Polanski had done his time and had since suffered the sort of shaming that was once loaded on her. “I was a drug-doing Lolita who had cornered him,” she said, describing the sort of insults that were thrown at her in the 1970s. “Now, he endures it because everyone is calling him a pedophile, the insults have switched.”
And yet his haters continue to ignore Geimer's wishes and insist he must be punished. How that will help anyone, they do not say. The reason is they're not interested in helping anyone. They want to see someone suffer. And if that means prolonging Geimer's suffering, they're happy to do it.

UPDATE: When I first posted this, I said there were no other accusers. I was wrong. There are: Roman Polanski is now facing a 5th accusation of sexual assault - Vox. I wouldn't have written this as I did if I'd known that—I was remembering research I'd done before anyone else came forward.

I still think Geimer's wishes should be respected, especially in light of the original judge's conduct, but I also believe Polanski's other accusers deserve the right to charge him now.