9.29.2009

what is "rape-rape"?

The spectacle surrounding celebrated filmmaker and convicted rapist Roman Polanski is truly disgusting. Somehow the fact that he committed his crime 30 years ago is supposed to mitigate the fact of the crime itself. In other words, if you can successfully evade justice for long enough, it's as if you didn't commit a crime at all!

His victim's opinions are interesting, but irrelevant. Apparently she has healed, and that's as it should be. But this wasn't a civil suit. In a criminal action, the accused is prosecuted by the state.

If you drug and rape a 13-year-old girl, and you are actually arrested, prosecuted and convicted, your status as an artist - or anything else - should also be irrelevant.

Perhaps we can't blame Polanski for trying to dodge prison, but Debra Winger et al. defending him is unconscionable. And yet again, Whoopi Goldberg shows herself to be a tool for the patriarchy, defending male cruelty: "it wasn't rape-rape".

Listen up, Whoopi. The victim was 13 years old. She was drugged. I don't know what the hell "rape-rape" is. This was just plain rape.

19 comments:

rww said...

My impression was that Whoopi wasn't trying to defend Polanski as much as she was paranoid the show would be sued if they used a term that wasn't actually in the charge he was convicted of. It was just as inexcusable and she certainly was going off the deep end. Say it once for the lawyers then shut up.

Anyway I called him a rapist in my blog because it was rape. It was rape-rape-rape. So lets see if I get served with papers.

L-girl said...

Rww, did you read the transcript of the show or watch a video? I find your interpretation of her comments extremely generous.

Talk shows such as The View aren't worried about being sued by Roman Polanski, and Roman Polanski isn't going to sue opinion media for omitting the word "statutory".

Whoopi has a history of defending bad male behaviour. I think this is another on that list.

bgk said...

WTF is rape-rape... I thought we had rape and consensual sex...I didn't think we needed a third category...

but you know my queer brains are so burdened down by my desire for consensual man on man action that I cannot think about these differences clearly, thanks for explaining Whoopi.

*tongue firmly in cheek*

rww said...

I saw it on TV and I may have just been confused by her obsession with what to call it when we all knew what he did and we all knew what it was. Her obsession with the technicalities of the words used seemed to point to an obsession with the actual legal terminology of the charge he was convicted of.

Bottom line is that nothing excuses his behaviour and that he should be held accountable for it.

johngoldfine said...

Whoopi's is an old-fashioned definition of rape('rape-rape') and so has to include violence, screaming, a struggle, a dark alley, virginal innocence, and so on--all the things enlightened society is trying to convince the law are not necessary for rape to occur.

So much for Hollywood liberalism.

Cornelia said...

Thank you so much Laura. Great points.

johngoldfine said...

On the other hand, I knew a woman who had an affair at age 16, not the age of consent at the time in the state where she lived, with her youth pastor.

As an adult, she's tried without success, unfortunately, to bring the man to either civil or criminal account.

Her case is not old-fashioned rape-rape, nor is the drugged 13 year old in the Polanski case. What happened to her was criminal, no doubt.

But today, she refuses to see that there is any distinction at all to be made between what happened to her and what happened to, say, the Central Park jogger. I don't mean to trivialize her pain, but I can't accept the blurring of a valuable distinction: to be below the age of legal consent and therefore incapable of having consensual sex with the man you think you love is not in any way the same experience as being forcibly subjected to non-consensual sex.

L-girl said...

I don't mean to trivialize her pain, but I can't accept the blurring of a valuable distinction: to be below the age of legal consent and therefore incapable of having consensual sex with the man you think you love is not in any way the same experience as being forcibly subjected to non-consensual sex.

Each survivor's experience is unique to her- or himself, but in general it's best to refrain from judgment when it comes to other people's pain and suffering.

johngoldfine said...

l-girl: I really meant it when I said I wasn't intending to trivialize her pain, which is hers and not mine and so beyond my deepest understanding though not my sympathy. We've been friends since 1963. The phrase about trivializing pain was not just a form of words.

Though I can't and don't judge her pain and suffering, I do object to the form of words she is using. I don't want to lose a valuable distinction between forcible rape and willing intercourse below the age of consent.

If rape and statutory rape are said to be the same thing, then everyone's experience becomes that much more difficult to describe, analyze, weigh, and understand. My friend's experience was hers and just different, though perhaps no less distressing, than someone else's.

I'm not trying to wiggle out of my disapproval of Whoopi Goldberg, you understand--drugging a resisting 13 year old is rape, period, under any definition I can imagine east of Hollywood.

L-girl said...

Nice, John, and well said. I understand what you're saying, and personally, I agree with it. Politically, I refrain from it, as it veers towards a hierarchy of pain, a kind of competition of oppression. But I do hear what you're saying, loud and clear.

David Cho said...

Great post.

My goodness. She was 13 years old. And she was drugged. And he was found guilty of raping her.

And he is a fugitive. The French president is calling this "ancient history." I am still dragging my jaw off the floor.

BTW, Whoopi also defended Michael Vick.

L-girl said...

Thanks, David.

BTW, Whoopi also defended Michael Vick.

That's what the link for "yet again" goes to.

Kim_in_TO said...

I'm glad this is finally happening. I admit I was only vaguely aware of the details of the case years ago, but it always puzzled me that Hollywood has turned a blind eye to his case. At one of the big award shows years ago, he got a standing ovation. He's treated by Hollywood as though he was the victim. This is yet another case of preferential treatment for the rich and famous.

L-girl said...

You're absolutely right - the industry treats him as if he is the victim!

John F said...

I'm feeling cognitively dissonant here, as I simultaneously love Chinatown and want Polanski to go to prison.

L-girl said...

Hm, I think both those things and have no dissonance whatsoever over it.

The man is very talented. The man committed a criminal act and should be punished. No disconnect there.

It's not like only untalented people can be criminals.

johngoldfine said...

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091026/trillin

Says it best....

Nesta said...

I understand the distinction Whoopi was trying to make. I am not saying I believe that Polanski should be let off, but there is a reason that our legal system / culture makes such distinctions as "statutory rape." In this case, the young girl did not consent even inasmuch as a 13 year old can - our law says she can't - she was plied with substances until submissive. I think Whoopi's point is that Polanski did not leap out of the bushes and rape her using physical force.

L-girl said...

Nesta, I understand Goldberg's point. My point is that there is no appreciable difference between "leaping out of the bushes" and lying about in a hot tub - no difference between physical force and the use of drugs. Rape is rape is rape is rape is rape.

By distinguishing between something called "rape-rape" and what Polanski did, Goldberg and others perpetuate the myth that "real" rape is stranger rape, and everything else isn't quite so bad.