Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Cost of a Childhood Stolen

Yesterday I felt compelled to write about Roman Polanski and the little girl he plied with drugs and drink and raped. I'm as shocked by his defenders as I am his own behavior. I think of him as a sexual predator who preys on children. The thirteen year old girl was not his only child victim. Jang-chub Ozer pointed out to me in a comment to that post yesterday, his next little girl was Nastassja Kinsky. At fifteen Kinsky was Polanski's sexual partner. Did he drug and rape her? I have no idea, but no matter the how and why of that relationship, it did lead to a Golden Globe Award for her role as Tess in Polanski's adaptation Tess of the d' Urbervilles the marvelous novel by Thomas Hardy. It was at the urging of her parents, that Polanski was prodded into helping her career along, perhaps keeping promises made. Two more parents who should have remained childless. A movie career doesn't make up for a childhood stolen. And who are all the people in Polanski's social circle who have no qualms about a middle aged man and his child lovers?

This is a topic I know a thing or two about. I was raised by a pedophile who used me sexually until I was too old for him at eleven. I was six when he started. My father was a psychologist and I was not his first child, I'm sure. But he knew very well how to gain my love and trust and how to keep me a compliant and willing victim. And it was my willingness that he used against me to keep me silent long after the sexual abuse had ended. It was his skill as a psychologist that transfered his guilt to me. I seduced him. I was a very provocative little girl. I begged for it. I never protested. I never told anyone. But I didn't need to tell anyone. Everybody knew. My mother knew. My grandparents (father's parents) knew. Family friends knew. Neighbors knew. No one intervened. No one tried to stop him. My menses was the event that made me too old for him. He liked his little girls very young. I sure I 'm not the only one who spent all her money on therapy. I'm sure I'm not the only one who tried to kill herself over and over. I'm sure I'm not the only one who failed at every relationship she ever had with a man. I'm sure I'm not the only one only feels safe alone.

23 comments:

Liberality said...

I have a petition on my blog to counter the petition put forth by his good friends and other rape apologists/misogynists. I encourage you to sign it.

And right on! But how some are made so uncomfortable...tisk, tisk--shame on the lot of them for not defending this girl's human rights. Women do have human rights, right?

Jane said...

I hear you I hear you I hear you! I am actually more appalled at the support he's gotten than by the rape. I know one man can be sleazy and criminal...but hundreds. including women? Stunning.

Fran said...

So sorry you had to live through that trauma
Those who knew & turned a blind eye are just a guilty, because to let him get away with is was nothing more than giving him permission.
They were accomplices to the crime.

Jaliya said...

(((heart))) for you, Utah.

anita said...

Utah, I admire your strength in writing about your experiences at this time, in light of is going on regarding this loathsome issue and this loathsome man and his loathsome "friends."

As someone else said here on this post or your previous post, one can be a "genius" at one thing or another and still be a guilty of a gruesome crime (think of Phil Spector as well).

I believe this "Hollywood Community" is just so lacking in basic, fundamental moral bearings. Yet, at the same time, recall the Elia Kazan issue. A "crime" of a different sort of course, or rather not a crime but a betrayal. But the lobbying not to give him a lifetime achievement award at the Oscars was large, and when he went up to receive it, most of the audience remained seated and did not clap. The question I ask, which "crime" was worse?

I'm not saying what Elia Kazan did was correct, but it shows you how tight-knit the Hollywood community is ... they will gather around their own in certain circumstances, but in others, no. It confounds me, honestly.

I hope you continue to sign petitions, write letters and continue to speak up and speak truth to power on this issue.

PENolan said...

I tell you what, Utah, there's serious bullshit flying every which way.

Love and Light

The Peach Tart said...

Thanks for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you. I too am an incest survivor having been repeatedly molested by my Baptist preacher grandfather. There's not enough therapy to take the pain away.

Gail said...

Hi Utah-

I am SO enraged by the injustice of it all. And about what happened to you, and me, and SO many others. ANd you know, so well, parts of my truth. sigh..............

Love and hope
Gail
peace......

Me1956 said...

My abuser was my Mother. My story is like yours, with the exception that I blocked it all out untill I was 30, and by that time she was dead. You are strong! You are beautiful!

bridget said...

I am a deaf fighter. I have been
chased...by teachers who tried to
lower my grade for not cooperating.
I was dropped as a candidate for the
masters program for not allowing the
dean to force his tongue into my mouth after pinning me in his office...I divorced my husband for taking photos of nude minors of the school of american ballet even after his own twin brother was the victim of sodomy at Bennington College and his father died not knowing...
I have spent a life running
...trying to stay out of harms way..
starting from childhood w/ a grandfather who was a sexual abuser.
He never got me but he got my aunt
and she had a child ... this Polanski issue should be revealed by
as many of us out there as can suffer the truth victoriously...
we cannot shed light on the violence
that occurs when the spirit of innocence has been maimed without our voices our words ...raising
awareness is the duty of civilization

Just My 2 Cents said...

How anyone can condone what this monster did is beyond me. Child abusers are the scum of the earth.

CDP said...

I'm so sorry about what you went through. You know, I don't know a single woman, not one, who didn't have SOME shit happen to her. Anything from the man who walked up behind me when I was 11, stuck his hand between my legs and said "can I f*** you" all the way to the horror you suffered. Thank you for your righteous outrage on behalf of Polanski's victim. I heard that she said that she's forgiven him. And good for her, she's probably better for it. But that doesn't mean that the law should forgive him.

Utah Savage said...

Lib, I'm so glad you've done this. I signed. I hope all the people here in this comment thread will also sign. I hope you twitter the link to your post and petition. Twitter is a powerful tool for spreading information that most people don't have access to. I encourage everyone to tweet the really important things. For me, that's a public option for healthcare and to counter the voices of racism and violent hatred of the other. And when it becomes something people are talking about, I twitter about the violence done to the souls of children and the long term human costs.

To those of you who have also experienced child sexual abuse I urge you to blog and twitter about it. There is nothing better than shining a very bright public light on the darkest secrets to facilitate changes in attitudes. Be bold and honest in your writing about this issue.

And thank you for sharing your stories here with me. I feel so privileged to and honored that you feel safe with me.

Kate said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share this...

Cat said...

I apprecaite your sharing your own personal story here...

The guy needs to meet justice finally - its been too long...all of the hollywood stuff is just aggrivating an already irritated situation...

sunshine said...

First of all..(((Hugs)))
Like CDP said, I don't know anyone that hasn't had some shit happen to her. And I'm not saying that to take away from what happened to you. It just seems that so many of us experienced it.
It makes me sick to think of someone doing those kinds of things to my children. I can't even go there quite frankly.

Anyhow.. I've had a tres stressful day so I really don't have anything intelligent to add to what anyone else has said. They all say it much better than I ever could anyhow. :)
I just wanted you to know that .. I'm sorry you had that happen and I do care. The fact that we never actually get "over it" in our lifetimes, speaks volumes about how horrible it is.

((Hugs)) and thinking of you...
Laura

susan said...

I know such things happen to little boys too but not nearly with the frequency it does with girls. I'm glad my mother taught me to kick and where. I'm sorry that you were abused by someone in such a position of power over you. It's wrong to abuse trust and even more wrong to abuse children who trust you.

Liberality said...

As for the comment that most women, or every woman you know, has been sexually abused in some way--that is the truth and then some! I do know of a few women who tell me that they were not abused and that amazes me more so than the reverse which just tells you how sick our society is.

P.S. I tweeted the petition and I do hope a lot of people sign it and also tweet or link their blog to it.

Randal Graves said...

It's easy to hide flaws in a dazzling brilliance. Worked for Polanski, Wagner, Picasso, uncounted others.

Suzan said...

Utah, soulfriend, I can only add my voice to what has already been said here.

I wish peace for you and all those other victims of this violence-drenched culture.

Wouldn't it be amazing if we were able to use this connected moment in time as a teaching occasion in order to change the way of the world in its historical presumption of viewing women as the requisite victims of predators?

Now that would be a tweet for world history!

S

kathleenmaher said...

This should appear word for word in every public venue I can think of.
If your writing were ubiquitous, maybe more of those silent "knowers" would wake up and save the child from the fire.

Utah Savage said...

Kathleen, thank you so much for saying that. Truth is, if every woman who was sexually abused as a child wrote about the experienced and tweeted it, we'd have the making of an uprising. So many of you share my experience in one version or another often with details far more horrifying than my own. We all need to own our own history, tell all our secrets. Speak up and out and sing it loud.

Utah Savage said...

And it isn't just women who have been so scared by sexually abusive families. I don't want to exclude men, for whom it's harder to say, given male culture.