Does the Brotherhood of Fame Endow You With a Lifetime Exemption From Accountability? (September 2009)

When I saw the petition protesting the recent arrest of Roman Polanski in Switzerland was signed by some of my most cherished artists — the likes of Pedro Almodovar, Ariel Dorfman, Costa Gavras, Jonathan Demme, Sam Mendes — men who I believed to be champions of women’s and human rights, frankly, I was shocked. It made it distressingly clear to me that all our years of work have not yet penetrated or changed the culture so that it understands that rape is a legal crime and a crime against the soul. As a survivor, I can attest to the fact that rape forever changes your life, robbing you of dignity, self-worth, agency over your body, and comfortability with intimacy and trust, while also escalating a pervasive sense of isolation and shame.

After 11 years of traveling the world and meeting with rape survivors across the planet I can say that the long-term consequences are multiple and far-reaching, ranging from homelessness, drug abuse, and eating disorders, to imprisonment, suicide, and early death.