What Roman Polanski (And His Defenders) Has Wrought

European and American elites are falling over themselves to defend confessed child rapist Roman Polanski.  Their reactions reinforce just how out of touch western cultural elites are with mainstream western values.  But they also are a visible sign of something much more ominous: the increasing acceptance of the sexualization of children.

The Oscar-winning film director was arrested in Switzerland last weekend on a warrant for fleeing the U.S. after pleading guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1978.  Since then, Polanski has lived in France, where he has continued to make films and live a luxurious life.  

France’s politicians have rushed to his defense.  French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner described Polanski’s detention as “sinister.”  Dominique Paille, spokesman for French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, said, “The U.S. is always portrayed as a great democracy and a role model….Today we discover there is no limit on crimes and misdemeanors in that country….Remission for good behavior does not exist.”  

Such statements can be ascribed to France’s willingness to excuse bad behavior in their political and cultural elites, but the U.S. is really no different.  How many American politicians and celebrities commit hideous crimes with impunity?

This week, more than 100 Hollywood actors signed a petition in which they “demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.”  Polanski’s defenders note that his victim has forgiven him (she and the millionaire filmmaker settled for an undisclosed sum after she sued him in civil court); that he has already suffered much (Polanski was born into the Holocaust and his first wife and unborn child were slaughtered by the Manson family); and that his cultural contributions compensate for his personal mistakes.

Some even attempt to downplay the severity of his crime.  As Whoopi Goldberg said this week, “I know it wasn’t rape-rape.”

Cultural liberals have always regarded certain kinds of child rape as no big deal.  But their political allies feel the same way.  Sure congressional liberals went apoplectic when they discovered that former Congressman Mark Foley had sent sexually suggestive text messages to under-age male congressional pages.  Liberals rightly demanded his ouster.  

But Foley was a Republican.  Democrat Gerry Studds had an affair with an under-aged male congressional page and was reelected to his Massachusetts congressional seat for more than a decade.

Two of the political Left’s largest organizations — ACORN and Planned Parenthood — have been exposed for aiding and abetting statutory rape.

And this week an Obama administration official made news for, among other misdeeds, failing to report a case of statutory rape.  Kevin Jennings, the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, was a high school teacher in the late 1980s when a 15-year-old boy confessed to having had sex with a man he had met in a bus station bathroom.  Jennings told the boy, “I hope you knew to use a condom.”  Obama recently made Jennings his administration’s “safe school czar.”

The Jennings appointment once again highlights the Obama administration’s poor vetting process.  Even more, it highlights a broader culture that does not protect children from sexual predators.  

Television, the internet, video games, music and magazines are awash in sexually suggestive content aimed at children.  Parents complain about having a hard time finding modest clothes for their daughters.  Song lyrics objectifying women are no longer relegated to the fringe, and revealing photos of underage starlets appear on the covers of major magazines, and everywhere the tabloid media reports on the antics of sports, music and acting celebrity men treating the women in their lives with disrespect and unkindness.    

Mary Leary of the Catholic University of America notes in a recent paper that legal opinions are increasingly referring to child pornography as “child erotica,” a disturbing trend that normalizes the sexual objectification of children.  

The effects are devastating, especially for our girls. The children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., reports that it sees patients as young as six years old with eating disorders, depression and low self esteem as young girls obsess about their weight and physical appearance, expressing increasing dissatisfaction with their bodies at a younger age than ever before.

Meanwhile, the FBI estimates that 100,000 (mainly female) minors in America now live in forced prostitution.

The Left emerged from the sexual revolution as the self-declared champion of women’s rights.  But it’s been a sham.  Feminists started out being concerned with unequal power relationships.  But when it comes to the most unequal of power relationships — girls targeted by prominent older men — they often fall silent.  It happened with Bill Clinton, and it’s happening with Roman Polanski.

Girls are increasingly becoming targets of older men.  Studies show that about 15 percent of girls aged 15 or younger have their first sexual experience with an adult male, and also that such experiences are linked with subsequent high risk behavior, such as drug use, as well as poor self esteem.

Part of feminism’s promise was founded on the liberating power of legal abortion.  But the unspoken truth is that abortion is the greatest gift irresponsible men were ever given.      

While the number of abortions has dropped, a quarter of pregnancies still end in abortion.  And about a quarter of all abortions are performed on girls 19 years old or younger.  The saddest development is the number of women who have had multiple abortions.  In 2001, the last year for which reliable data are available, 195,000 women who had abortions had already had at least three previous abortions.  

In her forthcoming book Impossible Motherhood, author Irene Vilar reveals that she has had 16 abortions, describing what she calls an “abortion addiction.”  She told ABC News that she hopes her abortion story will spark a new feminist movement in which women will see “procreation as power.”  More and more evidence is emerging that reinforces the idea that many women who abort subsequently suffer profound emotional trauma.

After Polanski’s arrest, famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein said, “Whatever you think of the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.”  

Wrong.  Polanski spent only 42 days in prison before cowardly fleeing to Europe to live a posh life as a martyr for sexual “liberation.”  In reality, Polanski and the purveyors of the sexual revolution did the crime.  It is our children — especially our girls — who are serving the time.