By now you’ve heard everyone rant away over Whoopi Cushion-Goldberg’s idiotic claim that Roman Polanski’s crime wasn’t “rape-rape,” a claim which is technically true in the sense that the indictment described Mr. Polanski’s crime merely as “rape,” and not as “rape-rape,” a phrase appearing nowhere in the California Penal Code. However, I think the worst part of Whoopi’s quote was not so much that as what came afterward:
What we were talking about was what he did, and that’s what I wanted to clear up, and that’s all I wanted to clear up. ‘Cause I don’t like it when we’re passionate about something and we don’t have all the facts…
Bzzzt. Wrong answer. In my view, it would actually have been defensible to say that what Polanski pleaded guilty to, as opposed to what he did, wasn’t “rape-rape.” Sure he drugged his victim, refused to take her home when she asked him to, and repeatedly forced himself on her even after she told him to stop. All horrible stuff, all make a strong case for “rape-rape.” None of these facts, however, are elements of statutory “rape.” The sex could have been 100% consensual, and it would still have been considered “rape” on the theory that consent by a minor doesn’t count. Sure, he was 44 and she was 13, a gross difference in age that would have called into serious question how “consensual” even in fact (let alone law) any sex act between the two could possibly have been under any circumstances. That’s not an element of statutory “rape,” either; as far as that law is concerned his might as well have happened on his 18th birthday with a steady girlfriend who had been born the day after he was. So it’s not inherently unreasonable to say that the crime Polanski pleaded guilty to, rather than what he did, was less than “rape-rape.” But Whoopi didn’t say that, did she? Nope, she said that “what we are talking about is what he did.” Well, what he did was refuse to drive a young girl home when she asked him to, drug and liquor her up to get her to stop resisting, and force himself upon her both ways. If those acts don’t constitute Whoopi’s idea of “rape-rape,” then what the frickin’ frack ever could?
We’re a different kind of society. We see things differently. The world sees 13 year olds and 14 year olds in the rest of Europe… not everybody agrees with the way we see things…
This from the same geopolitical genius who describes the Commonwealth of Virginia as the “Deep South,” notwithstanding nothing north of it has been considered part of the South at all since the Civil War (or should I say the “War of Primarily Yankee, but Also Southern Aggression?”). One side of me wants to say “This crime occurred on U.S. soil, and the victim was American, so with all due respect to the Europe and the world, who the frickin’ frack cares?” The other wants to call B.S. where B.S. is found. Per Wikipedia, only Spain allows sex with a 13 year old, and presumably even they don’t allow you to drug and force yourself on the victim (nor would they allow you to plea bargain down to the non-crime of lawful consensual sex if you did). The two European countries making the biggest stink over Polanski’s arrest, France and Poland, both set the age of consent at 15, and Poland is poised to impose mandatory castration on anyone convicted of having purely consensual sex with anyone under 15 (or at least, any such person who isn’t super famous and didn’t commit that crime against a Pole or on Polish soil).
Then again, Switzerland’s age of consent is 16, which may explain why they’re a bit harder than France or Poland is on 44 year olds who sequester, drug and forcibly rape and sodomize 13 year olds than France or Poland is.
UPDATE: Another lawyer named Xrlq makes some similar points.