Many people would like to believe that instances of sexual assault are one-time offenses, but far too often they are indicative of a pattern of behavior. If you can do this to one person, it’s likely you can do it to several people. This seems the case for director Roman Polanski. He pleaded guilty to the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1979 (only to flee the country before sentencing), but that’s just the one he’ll admit to.
In addition to the highly publicized case of Polanski’s assault of then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer, Polanski was accused of a similar crime by an actress named Charlotte Lewis, who alleges that in 1983, when she was a 16-year-old working on his film, Pirates, Polanski sexually abused her.
According to CNN, Lewis says that “Mr. Polanski knew that I was only 16 years old when he met me and forced himself upon me in his apartment in Paris. He took advantage of me, and I have lived with the effects of his behavior ever since it occurred. All I want is justice.”
Why did it take her until 2010 to come forward? Because during the continual public discussion about the charges against Polanski regarding his assault of Geimer, his “legal team is portraying his previous offense against a minor as an isolated incident.” Again, it’s difficult to believe that one could “slip one time” and have sex with a teen girl without it being also possible that they could do it again.
Today, as reported by Jezebel, a new, unidentified woman has come forward with the help of attorney Gloria Allred (who also represented Lewis) to make an allegation of assault against the director, saying that she, too, was abused by him as a minor. While there are no further details on those allegations yet, a press conference is forthcoming where we should learn more.
So, three women have come forward saying that this man assaulted them. Right now, he’s actively on the run from the potential punishment he’d receive for charges from one woman for which he plead guilty. But he gets to direct The Pianist and actors and crew are still willing to work with him.
There’s been no justice for the crime he admits to having committed, so how can there be hope for any other accusers? As I wrote about earlier with regard to talent manager, Michael Einfeld:
“Sexism is a complicated, insidious thing that seeps into all of our lives, and finds its way out of our mouths no matter who we are. Fighting it is difficult and must be approached from many angles. However, at the very least we can be more vigilant about and harsh toward obvious perpetrators of violence and harassment against women. Just as denouncing Nazis should be an obvious thing to do, so should denouncing misogynist abusers of women.”
I would now add that, in addition to denouncing, if someone is running from the law for a heinous crime against a young girl that they’ve admitted to, maybe stop letting them make movies and be nominated for Oscars. That’s a thing Hollywood could do to make the women trying to work within it feel safe.
But Hollywood would have to start actually caring about women first.
(image: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock)
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