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It Looks Like a Duck, Walks Like a Duck...

Jan 12, 2010 — Categories: ,

It seems that we have a really difficult time in our culture calling rape “rape.” Plus we are inclined to give celebrities a free pass when it comes to sexual assault.

It seems that we have a really difficult time in our culture calling rape “rape.” Plus we are inclined to give celebrities a free pass when it comes to sexual assault.

In a recent reference to Kobe Bryant:

"No one mentions Kobe Bryant's little transgression anymore as long as he's playing some fierce ball. 'Kobe Bryant had sex with another woman [italics mine]. He held a press conference with his wife next to him (sporting a new diamond ring). . . ' says Justin Herndon, director of publicity and news for The Publicity Agency."

Bryant was prosecuted for rape. The charges were dismissed when the victim decided not to testify.  But at his press conference, he apologized to the woman acknowledged that she was not consenting. That is rape.

Roman Polanski is facing extradition from France back to the U.S. to be prosecuted for rape. Much to my disappointment, many celebrities are supporting him; Whoopi Goldberg says it isn’t “rape rape.” Does she mean “real rape”?

Polanski admitted drugging the teenager and sodomizing her. At any age, with either gender, this is rape. Then he ran to avoid incarceration. There don’t seem to be too many disputed facts here.

Yet in response to the arrest of Polanski, some men and women are saying that he should not have to face the legal consequences for his rape of a 13 year old because. . .

  • He is a great film director.
  • His mother was murdered at Auschwitz.
  • His wife was murdered by Charles Manson.
  • He’s old.
  • He’s very happy living in Europe.
  • His victim has moved on.

None of these facts has anything to do with whether he raped the girl. And if this isn’t “real rape” I’m not sure what is.

The U.S. government is proceeding with his extradition. To not do so would be a mockery of the Violence Against Women Act and all that we have worked for the past 30 years.

I hope that faith leaders can use this opportunity of media coverage of the Polanski situation to talk about “real rape” and the importance of accountability for those who rape. There are survivors in your congregation waiting to hear from you.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute

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