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Roman Polanski and the Celebration of Rape and Violence

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The new People magazine asks a pathetic simple question about young Yeardley Love, "Could She Have Been Saved?" Could a young woman have been saved from a pathetic monster who beat her head in and left her to die a pile of blood?

The answer is, of course, absolutely yes. She could have been, should have been and instead she was let down by people she told, by her school and more importantly she was let down by a society that increasingly to me seems to not only condone violent sexual behavior.

Increasingly I see, especially in the celebrity part of our world, the cruel acceptance of violence towards women, an acceptance that trickles down to young women in a dorm in Virginia who become acceptance of threats against their friend. An acceptance that causes pause at critical moments when people should be standing up and defending themselves and others.

Violence against women, especially sexual violence, is unacceptable in a modern society.

Supporting, endorsing and advocating for celebrities who are guilty of acts of extreme sexual violence is disgusting.

Axl Rose beat his first wife regularly.
And has made millions of dollars selling records to women since.

Erin Everly says that throughout her four years with Rose, she suffered regular beatings that left her bruised, bloodied and sometimes unconscious. "You never knew what would set him off," she says.

In an earlier version of this post, I had a section here about Jackson Browne because of well an "alleged" incident that "allegedly" happened "allegedly' at his and Daryl Hannah's house, or is that their alleged house? I don't want to make a mistake.

You can read about it here.

I am not going to repeat what I said but I would like to add a statement from Haskell Wexler, Daryl Hannah's uncle that was published in 1993:

"I am Haskell Wexler, Daryl Hannah's uncle. I am, also, a longtime friend of Jackson Browne and admirer of his artistry. I am no longer his friend. Jackson beat Daryl in September 1992. I was with her in the hospital, I saw the ugly black bruises on her eye and chin and on her ribs. The examining doctor reported she had blood in her urine. The doctor was shocked by the severity and noted Daryl as "a badly battered woman." I photographed her at the hospital. It could be that nobody cares about objective truth anymore. Jackson is a "good guy," and good guys don't beat women. Yes, it is hard to listen to Jackson and believe he has a hidden side of violence. I saw the results of the last violent attack on my niece, and there is no spin of fancy which will erase my shock and disdain for someone who would beat her up. Haskell Wexler, Santa Monica, CA"

Now, Jackson Browne denies this and you can read his response here.

Objectively, you have the words of a woman's uncle versus the words of the man the uncle claims "beat her" and you have the man's lawyers doing everything possible to, eighteen years later I might add, "correct" the story.

I can say that we have also seen movie stars who have hit their wives so hard that they have broken bones honored by Governors. It's disgusting.

And now, we have Roman Polanski. With people actually wearing t-shirts supporting him in Cannes this year.

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I wonder if they know what he actually did -- when he was 44 years old to a seventh grade girl -- what he plead GUILTY to I might add.

Here are the lowlights. From here.

On 11 March 1977, Polanski was arrested for the sexual assault of a thirteen-year-old, Samantha Geimer, that occurred the day before at the Hollywood home of actor Jack Nicholson. The girl testified that Polanski gave her both champagne and Quaalude, a sedative drug, and despite repeated protests and being asked to stop, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy upon her.

He raped her vaginally and anally. He was 44 years old. She was someone's 13 year old daughter.

A grand jury charged him with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under fourteen, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.[59] At his arraignment Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges.

In an effort to preserve her anonymity, Geimer's attorney arranged a plea bargain which Polanski accepted, and, under the terms, five of the initial charges were to be dismissed.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful intercourse with a minor, a charge which is synonymous under Californian law with statutory rape.

The victim later sued Polanski and received a settlement in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I wonder how we would feel if the t-shirt held high in France was "I Heart Rapists." Would there be an outcry then? Sadly, maybe not.

Now, let's turn to the Charlotte Lewis part of the case. I don't think a woman stands up and says she was sexually assaulted because she is happy about it. It took great courage to do what she did. And let's not forget, Polanski had a "consensual relationship" with a 15-year-old girl the year prior to this rape, when he was 43 years old.

And famous people left and right are standing up and defending him.

Defending his right to rape and live free.

Defending his right to sodomize and not do the time.

Could Yeardley Love have been saved? Yes. But not till we, as a society, say no more. Not until we hold everyone, celebrities and non-celebrities alike accountable for their actions and for their despicable acts.

Not celebrate them.

I am happy to work with the people at Give Respect and would encourage everyone to pledge respect for others here.