Thursday, July 15, 2010

Becoming the property of others

The girl who was attacked by that Polish film director wants the whole situation to go away. So I haven't named her as a gesture of support. I haven't named him either (in this post) as his notoriety is becoming interwoven with plaudits for his movies and I don't want to support that.

That she has asked for the fuss to die down could be for multiple reasons, but she has not, as far as I have read, asked for the 'case to be dropped', 'charges dismissed', 'conviction quashed'. The first two aren't possible as the trial was over; he pleaded guilty in a deal to ensure no more jail time (according to what I've read). The latter is only possible if new information is provided or a mistrial is ruled. This is only possible if the absconded criminal returns to the law court in USA. There he will either face new charges for fleeing the country, get the time already spent in psychiatric evaluation and Swizz house-arrest counted, or a retrial will be requested (if they can prove coercion, etc.).

The victim has asked the the fuss go away, not that he does not deserve punishment, that the incident never happened or that she has forgiven him. She wants her life to be about her and her family. Not the memory of an event and the subsequent newsworthy legal wranglings.

In fact, she probably wants her history and her body back, because from where I am sitting both of these parts of her person have been taken from her by media pundits, legal advisors, random internet commentators [like myself  :(  ] and anyone with a prurient interest in what happened that night in Jack Nicholson's house (along with whatever pertinent events happened in the run-up). For the sake of argument, I am going to assume that the facts that have been presented are the truth, but I wasn't there, so I don't know for sure.
  • The fact that she had a pushy, neglectful mother has been made public: driving your daughter to an unchaperoned photoshoot - despicable. I don't care that it was the 1970s with looser societal definitions of morality or a freer understanding of how to be a sexual being. It was disgusting and wrong. If I'd been the district attorney, I'd have charged the mother with aiding and abetting child cruelty, or whatever else was possible.
  • The fact that this sexual encounter was not her first at the age of 13 has been made public. Do we really need to know about the immature explorations of a young girl's sexuality? No, we don't.
  • The fact that this sexual encounter was brutal, forced, frightening and a result of drugging and emotional/mental manipulation has been made public.
  • The fact that this sexual encounter involved very specific and degrading acts has been made public.
This poor woman has the most intimate aspects of her person revealed to the general populous for their fetid imaginations to ruminate over and for opinioned columnists to pull-apart as to their accuracy and legal significance.

She needs to have control over her body, including information about her body. Thank God, no-one released photographs of her injuries. All victims of assault or abuse need to feel in control, because that is what was taken from them. An attacker wants power over another human being. The media continue this lack of autonomy and agency by regurgitating details of the incident and her history.

Her story is no longer her own. Sooner or later some fool will want to make a TV special about it. I hope she has the strength and support to resist these terrible intrusions.

...and that is the last I'm going to say on the matter.

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