Samantha Geimer, the woman who Roman Polanski raped when she was a 13 year old girl, has asked for the charges against the film director to be dropped.

Geimer’s decision came after the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office provided explicit details of her assault in a motion filed last week. The testimony from grand jury transcripts had already been posted on the Internet in 2003, but this was apparently the first time they’d been published in legal documents.

Explaining why, after 30 years, she thinks it’s now time to bring an end to the case against Polanski, Geimer said:

“True as they may be, the continued publication of those details causes harm to me, my beloved husband, my three children and my mother. I have become a victim of the actions of the district attorney.”

She went on to say:

“My views as a victim, my feelings as a victim, or my desires as a victim were never considered or even inquired into by the district attorney prior to the filing. It is clear to me that because the district attorney’s office has been accused of wrongdoing, it has recited the lurid details of the case to distract attention from the wrongful conduct of the district attorney’s office as well as the judge who was then assigned to the case.”

Whatever was behind the decision to go public with these details, it’s evident that this is yet another case of a rape victim being re-victimised by the legal process, a process that supposedly exists to protect and to provide justice to victims of crime, but which continues to let them down time and time again.  Unfortunately for Geimer, it doesn’t look as though she’s going to get her way anyway: the LA county district attorneys’ office seems determined to pursue Polanski, no matter what her wishes or her feelings about it all, and no matter how many more years the case is going to drag on for.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to make a case for Polanski to be exonerated or let off the hook in any way here: I don’t buy into any of that “tortured artist” “forget the crime, the guy’s a genius” shit (I wouldn’t know {or care} if he is or not: in fact I think the only film I’ve ever actually seen of his is Rosemary’s Baby). No, a rapist is a rapist is a rapist in my book, and in an ideal world every rapist would be caught, brought to justice and punished for their crimes. But this isn’t an ideal world, and in both this country and in the US where this case has been going on for what seems like forever, it’s a far from ideal judicial system: particularly for the victims of sex crimes.

I don’t blame any woman who chooses to opt out of all this, who refuses to stand up in the dock and have the most intimate details of her life examined and cross examined in a process that still places more onus on the victim to prove her innocence than it does on the perpetrator to prove his.

And I don’t think it’s at all surprising that so many women do opt out: just one look at the rape conviction rates in both the UK and the US makes it easy to see why someone would choose not to put themselves through the wringer (again) just to see their perpetrator walk free at the other end.

Unlike the vast majority of sex crime victims, Geimer isn’t even allowed the “luxury” of anonymity, so when the details of her assault get constantly published and redistributed online, her family, her children, her neighbours and uncle Tom Cobley and all get to read all about exactly what her 13 year old self was subjected to.

No. It’s wrong. End of.

No matter how high profile a case this is, and no matter how much the authorities want to see Polanski pay for what he did, there’s no excuse for forcing this woman to spend her entire life reliving these traumatic events.

As Geimer says:

“I have survived, indeed prevailed, against whatever harm Mr. Polanski may have caused me as a child,”

Then let her put all this behind her, it’s time to let Samantha Geimer get on with her life.

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