The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski

The Girl: a life in the shadow of Roman Polanski
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How do we have real conversations, honest conversations, about how we deal with rape and rape culture? About how we heal as individuals? Most of us tend to grow up absorbing the idea that rape was the boogey man in the alley. The bump in the night, with fighting, and severe force. It a myth we repeat to ourselves over and over that leaks back into the everyday crevices of our lives, turning rape into an unnerving, ridiculously benign, normalcy. How tremendous is that normalcy? Geimer appeared on the Today Show in early September. Geimer: "How do I feel about him?

I hope he's well.

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I was That makes it rape, but I didn't experience it that way. In my mind, I didn't know that was illegal. I didn't understand he could go to jail for it. I was young.

The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski by Samantha Geimer | The Sunday Times

Many were quick to jump onto Geimer for not acquiescing to the identity in which they had grown accustomed to placing her in: rape victim. But perhaps it could be said that this is one of the ways in which sexual assault is particularly poisonous in its normalcy.

When people experience sexual violence, there is sort of a membrane broken. We are terrified to call it rape, because it is not what we have been taught looks like rape. It is only after time that we do see that rape is not the stranger in the dark alley, but something much more normal in its violation, much more about entitlement and expectations of how women are to give their bodies over, and then should serve as the collective scapegoat for all our fears, all our neurosis, all our horrible ways we internalize the idea that rape is somehow a thing that is brought on, not done to someone.

To your other point, responsibility is not the same as blame. I will be responsible for my own actions.

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In this searing and surprising memoir, Samantha Geimer, "the girl" at the center of the infamous Roman Polanski sexual assault case, breaks a virtual. The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski is a book written by Samantha Geimer about her life. She wrote it with the help of her lawyer Lawrence Silver.

To insist that I cannot be is a way of diminishing me. It is a way of reducing women to something less than men. It is sexist, it is dangerous, and I think we should fight those who tell women they have no agency or power. I was 13, and what Roman Polanski did to me was a crime. Should I have told my mother about the topless photos [during the first photo shoot]?

Would it have prevented the subsequent crime? Also yes. SG: Moral judgments are personal. Everyone is free to not attend, purchase, or view anything at all depending on their own feelings. But I object when someone demands that I adhere to their moral views, and that if I do not I am somehow complicit. I do not need others to tell me what to feel or believe. This is puritanism and censorship dressed as empowerment. Love it or hate it, it makes no difference in my life. How would that help me? I object every time I am used to protest Roman.

It felt like a little strike against political correctness. Can you explain your reaction? SG: Roman and I have been thwarted at every attempt to put this behind us. I felt as if neither of us could ever catch a break. So I assumed that he would certainly not win, that political correctness or spite would be more important than the value of his work I have never seen the movie. At the time, I wrote an OpEd for the LA Times arguing that it was ridiculous to conflate his work and profession with what happened decades ago.

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The Oscars are supposed to reward great art and entertainment, not congeniality. So when he won I felt like it was a big fuck you to everyone who insisted we must remain victim and monster for eternity. It felt liberating somehow.

Seeking closure

Top news, analysis and opinion, delivered to your inbox seven days a week. Who was the prey? But what I said never made a dent in the false narrative that already existed. Geimer not only endured the events of that evening so many years ago, but has had her life inextricably, unfavorably linked with the famous director ever since. Any international shipping and import charges are paid in part to Pitney Bowes Inc.

Our struggle for justice has left us allies for longer than we were ever adversaries so a win for one feels like a victory for both. Q: In , two separate investigations into the allegations of child abuse made against Woody Allen by Mia Farrow and her thenyear-old daughter found no case to answer. What do you make of the resurrection of these claims now and of the actors currently disavowing their work with him?

SG: If you choose not to pursue a case, if you cannot prove your allegations, then deciding to try your case in the court of public opinion decades later is a cop out.

Polanski’s victim tells her side of story

Dylan Farrow is not alone in her circumstances. What kind of example is that for those who have made peace with their decisions and experiences? That you must have the belief of strangers to heal? That you can never be whole if the person you believe to have wronged you is not punished? Most of the time, people can find the strength to recover and move on with their lives. How is it healthy to leave your emotional well-being in the hands of others, or to insist on their belief and attack those who decline?

Dylan did nothing wrong, but now she will be judge and jury, blaming others for her pain. Q: Mia Farrow has consistently defended Polanski since and until very recently spoke of him fondly. On January 7 of this year, amid the MeToo controversy, she sent you a tweet apologising.

December 2013

You replied that no apology was necessary. Can you elaborate on why you responded as you did? They were his friends. Who does not support their friends? They may have been a little hard for me to read, but why would I internalize those letters as an attack on me? I felt used by someone pursuing their own vendetta against Woody Allen. After 40 years Mia Farrow has now turned on her friend Roman, who I forgave decades ago. Some of your critics, including the feminist writer and activist Jaclyn Friedman, have countered that rape victims do not have the right to forgive their attackers on behalf of society and that Polanski should be jailed whether you like it or not.

How do you respond to this argument? SG: Forgiveness is a strength that helps the victim. It frees you from hatred and regret. Roman returned to the US, he served his sentence, and he was treated unjustly by a corrupt judge. Q: Finally, do you think Polanski will ever be allowed to return to the United States? Or are all parties to the case now resigned to its insolubility, particularly in the current climate?

SG: No. When there is no benefit to doing the right thing, good luck finding a Judge or DA in Los Angles that will do their job. We are not human beings in the eyes of the court, just a witness and a defendant measured by our value to the careers of others.

Samantha Geimer has lived in Hawaii for most of the past 30 years. She is the married mother of 3 adult sons, and grandmother to a 2-year-old girl. You can follow her on Twitter sjgeimer. Of course she is a victim. That she forgives Roman Polanski lessens the hideousness of his crime not a whit.

And this should be, like, empowering??? If people want to get on with their lives and refuse to let these negative experiences define their whole past, presence and future, then our society will be there to remind them that they should better be victims or victors or else they will be labeled as having a stockholm syndrome, sell outs or rape apologists. Geimer had. Thank you for this. I also know that sexual contact, in and of itself, is not damaging or ruinous. I do not feel this way easily or often. What a remarkable person!

Wow, an intelligent, articulate, emotionally mature person commenting on the MeToo movement. Girls are maturing physically earler than they did in the past, but they are not maturing earlier psychologically. I think that this renders them even more vulnerable to predatory boys and men. Adults should protect impressionable young girls from predators, regardless of what Geimer thinks about her experience. This not about her. The age of 12 and in some cases up to18, for girls or boys is psychologically too young to emotional handle. The point of is that she was raped not that she had sex.

Your view is pedophelic at best. Oh, really? And what is it about? Is this story your story and your experience? So much for respecting people. Give me a break! This is all about her, Polanski and the legal system that judges them. How could the criminal justice system have failed all the parties concerned in such a spectacular fashion? Samantha, as much as Polanski, has been a fugitive since the events of that night more than thirty years ago.

Taking us far beyond the headlines, The Girl reveals a thirteen-year-old who was simultaneously wise beyond her years and yet terribly vulnerable. By telling her story in full for the first time, Samantha reclaims her identity, and indelibly proves that it is possible to move forward from victim to survivor, from confusion to certainty, from shame to strength. About the Author Samantha Geimer is married and has three sons. She divides her time between Hawaii and Nevada.

Her voice is strong. Witty, snarky -- but also precise and thoughtfully observant not only about herself but also the mores and culture of a very different time -- Samantha Geimer is a reflective guide as she humanely tells of a complex violation that hurt but didn't defeat her.

The memoir, which winds its way through the painful vilification of her mother by the press, and a spectacular failure of the legal system, is masterfully clear-eyed.