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I find this case odd and disturbing. Do you?

30 Sep

I usually avoid “celebrity posts” but I am intrigued by the recent Roman Polanski extradition story. This article makes some strong points, I feel.

Polanski, who was then aged 44, pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, spent 42 days in prison in Chino, California, and was due to be sentenced to time served when it became clear that the deal his lawyers had negotiated with the prosecution was not to be honoured – and he would have had to spend much more time in jail than had been agreed. He fled the United States in 1978 and has never returned.

Seven years ago, after Polanski had won an Oscar for his film The Pianist, the case came again under scrutiny in the US. Gailey was tracked down to her home in Hawaii where she had settled with her family.

In a television interview, she did not exonerate Polanski for taking advantage of her – ”what he did to me was wrong” – but said she had felt more damaged by the media’s subsequent handling of her case.

”He did something really gross to me but it was the media that ruined my life,” she said. As to what punishment she felt Polanski should now suffer, she said: ”He made a terrible mistake, but he’s paid for it.” …

The real victim in this case has called for compassion. But compassion is unfashionable at the moment. The desire to exact punishment, regardless of how the actual victim is affected by it, and to justify that punishment with some grandstanding rhetoric, is the fashion of the moment.

Child sex, like the Middle East, is a subject where the normal conventions of debate degenerate very swiftly into name-calling and deliberate misinterpretation. There is no reason to believe this case will be any different. But the victim still has a right to be heard, even if what she says does not satisfy those seeking vengeance.

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4 Comments

Posted by on September 30, 2009 in challenge, current affairs

 

4 responses to “I find this case odd and disturbing. Do you?

  1. Kevin

    October 1, 2009 at 9:54 am

    “The real victim in this case has called for compassion.”

    That’s not an accurate statement. The victim called for ‘leave me and my family alone, media’, not compassion. She just doesn’t want to suffer from being raped by Polanski anymore.

    And that’s just the direct victim. The other victim is society on the whole. When we allow a guy to rape/sodomize a child and get away with it, all of us suffer a little bit. It makes it just a wee bit more likely that some other scumbag will think he can get away with raping a child.

    Jailing child-rapist Polanski is not ‘vengeance’. It’s payment. Payment for ruining a child’s life.

     
  2. Neil

    October 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    See also Brendan O’Neill in Spiked.

     
  3. Kevin

    October 2, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Brendan looked a little deeper than I did. It never occurred to me that this was a ‘left right’ issue. And I still don’t think it is. The guy raped a kid. Pretty much everyone except the crazies think that the guy should pay with a stint in the joint. I suspect that while there he’ll learn WHY raping people is wrong. Repeatedly.

    Hehe, sorry for the vulgarity. I couldn’t help it 🙂

     
  4. Neil

    October 2, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I don’t disagree with you, Kevin. Shame the whole thing is so messy though, especially for the (now) woman involved.

     

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