This is a blog for the Mental Health Policy Class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

September 29, 2009

Should Roman Polanski Stand Trial for Rape?

Please come to class prepared to discuss this case.
. . . .

Great Men - and other men - sometimes do find pliant, young flesh irresistible. Geniuses are usually forgiven for it. It's a good bet Woody Allen won't be signing Henri-Levy's petition, but he could offer Roman some comfort in a jailhouse visit in Zurich about now. The Woodman's story has a happy ending. So do the sagas of the millions of wrinkled, calloused, old smelly geezers in places like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Africa, where marriage of men 40 and older to girls at puberty is only just beginning to be considered locally - and only by a very, very few - to be, perhaps, not so healthy.
In the end, that is precisely why the arrest of Roman Polanski is a good idea, and should stand. It doesn't matter whether he is a genius. The world will have to live without his lifetime tribute ceremony, at least for a few months more. It doesn't matter whether his victim - 30-odd years on and handsomely paid off - forgives and wants to forget.
What matters is that the rape of a 13-year old girl, in a nation of laws, in a nation where women are striving for equality with men, in world where we are hundreds of years away from that right and good goal, be discouraged, by example if necessary.
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