It’s unfortunate that the Oct. 7, 2016, release of the secret audio recording of the then soon-to-be-president of the United States Donald J. Trump’s own confession of “moved on her like a bitch” and “grabbed ’em by the pussy” didn’t start a similar #metoo movement. It did, however, spawn the Women’s March, which culminated on Jan. 21 and brought out millions of people worldwide to protest Trump’s election and inauguration.
While too many people brushed away that candid look into Trump’s personal life as simply “locker room talk” or, even worse, “If I could, I would do that too” ideology, with the recent revelation of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s status quo of doing business by shady, perverted means and threatening retaliation for failure to comply sexually, #metoo has now taken social media by storm. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, on Facebook, there were over 650,000 hashtag posts, Instagram had 435,776 tags and there were reportedly hundreds of thousands of tags on Twitter. Locally, numerous Facebook friend posts weren’t simply an ambiguous two-word message. Women have taken the movement to a surreal level, sharing stories from childhood trauma and into adulthood. And although both men and women suffer from harassment and assault, Weinstein’s abusive behavior toward women proved to be the true catalyst for women finally speaking freely about their suffering. It is important to note that these sorts of testimonies are not new. Recall the story of Samantha Geimer, then 13, raped and sodomized by film director Roman Polanksi in 1977.
“We did photos with me drinking champagne. He was friendly and then, right toward the end, it got a little scary, and I realized, you know, he had some other intentions, and then I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn’t quite know how to get myself out of there…. ‘No, keep away’ … ‘Come on, let’s go home.’ … [He] went down and he started performing cuddliness (sic). … he placed his mouth on my vagina. … I was ready to cry. … I was going, ‘No. Come on. Stop it.’ “
Polanski then proceeded to sodomize Geimer despite her protests.
While Polanski pled guilty to raping Geimer, what presiding Judge Laurence J. Rittenband wrote about Geimer is sickening:
The probation report discloses that although just short of her 14th birthday at the time of the offense, the prosecutrix was a well developed young girl who looked older than her years; and regrettably not unschooled in sexual matters. She has a 17-year-old boyfriend, with whom she had sexual intercourse at least twice prior to the offense involved. The probation report further reveals that the prosecutrix was not unfamiliar with the drug quaalude, she having experimented with it as early as her tenth or eleventh year.
As if Geimer was asking for it, deserved it for looking the way she did or behaving in any manner other than trying to fight her predator or all sexual advances by her boyfriend that the judge noted could apparently serve as reasonable excuses to justify Polanski’s criminal offenses. It’s no wonder women have suffered in silence and may even be uncertain just what, exactly, harassment or assault is in order to report it. Polanski fled the country before his sentencing in 1978 but went on to make movies, win an Academy Award in 2003 and is still a member of the Screen Actors Guild. But the culture of minimizing sexual harassment, assault and rape complaints has remained strong for decades until, perhaps, this week.
Given the passion seen on social media, we encourage our readers to share their own stories so that others may be able to clearly identify predatory behavior so we can confront perpetrators and because the stories live on in perpetuity in printed word. If you want to share your personal stories, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who feel social media is enough, we understand.