Polanski’s Wife: It Wasn’t Rape, It Was ’70s Sex


Roman Polanski’s wife wants you to know the truth about her husband.  You’ll find that “truth” printed in thousands of articles, a handful with unfortunate headlines like these:

Roman Polanski’s Wife Talks About Sex Case

Wife Understands Women’s Shock at Polanski Sex Case but Says Today Is Not Permissive 1970s

The phrase “sex case” has been used in the American media to describe everything from child rape to Senator John Ensign’s extramarital affair.  In the headlines cited above, it’s an attempt to obfuscate and even minimize the barbarous nature of Polanski’s crime.

But let’s not forget: Roman Polanski raped a child. He continued to rape her after she begged him to stop.  Would it really be so gauche, so unsophisticated to call Polanski’s crime a sexual assault, unlawful sex, or heaven forfend, rape?  Polanski’s wife certainly thinks so.

“My personal truth is that Roman is a marvelous husband and man,” said actress Emmanuelle Seigner, 43. “He is an impeccable man and I have nothing to reproach him for.”

“Personal truth.” I think I need a rape apologist to English translation. Is that the truth, or the truth-truth?

The director’s wife said the 1970s were a “crazy time.”

Ah, yes, the 1970s, when California was a lawless free-for-all.  That “crazy time” when drugging 13-year-old girls into dazed compliance was plain vanilla foreplay. It wasn’t rape, it was just run-of-the-mill seventies sex.

“The relationship to drugs wasn’t the same, the relationship to sexual liberty and permissiveness neither,” she said. “Today, public opinion has considerably evolved on the subjects.”

Really? Did the 1970s climate of sexual liberty and permissiveness grant Hollywood directors an all-you-can-rape card that magically turned every “no” into an enthusiastic “yes”?

Of course not. If any of Emmanuelle Seigner’s delusions about her husband were true, we wouldn’t be discussing the Roman Polanski rape case today.  Charges of rape by use of drugs, sodomy, and child molestation would not have been filed in the mythical 1977 Seigner imagines.  And Roman Polanski could have spent the last three decades in America, flitting from teenager to teenager without fear of repercussions.

Instead, Polanski hopped a flight to Europe and proceeded to live a charmed life, fawned over by rape apologists in Hollywood, the media, and his family, and insulated from those of us who won’t pretend that a child rapist is beyond reproach.

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Follow Jenn Q. Public on Twitter and read more of her work at JennQPublic.com.

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