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Culture

Polanski sex assault victim publishes tell-all memoir

© "The Girl: A Life Lived in the Shadow of Roman Polanski"

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-18

Samantha Geimer, the American woman sexually assaulted by Franco-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski when she was 13, has published a memoir describing the 1977 incident, the media storm that followed and her decision to forgive her attacker.

The American woman sexually assaulted by famous Franco-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski 36 years ago, at age 13, has published her memoir, saying it is time to “take back ownership of my own story”.

In “The Girl: A Life Lived in the Shadow of Roman Polanski,” Samantha Geimer, now 50, details her account of the events of March 10, 1977, for which Polanski was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy, before pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.

The book, accompanied by several black-and-white photos taken of Geimer in 1977 by Polanski, went on sale in the US on Tuesday, September 17.

It is set for release in France on October 3.

Time Magazine praised the book, which was co-written by Geimer’s lawyer, Lawrence Silver, calling it “at once a tabloidy page-turner, and a thoughtful memoir”.

In the book, Geimer describes how Polanski had her pose for photos, plied her with wine and drugs, and then had sex with her in Jack Nicholson’s Hollywood home.

Under the effects of the alcohol and the drug, and overwhelmed by what she perceived as the power of the older director, Geimer did not try to fight him off.

“Why fight?” she writes in the book. “I’ll do pretty much anything to get this over with.”

She describes her tears later in the car as Polanski drove her home, asked her if she was okay and told her not to tell her mother.

When Geimer pressed charges, she became the focus of a media and police storm, which prompted her, she wrote, to regret speaking up about what had happened.

“I ran into the two-headed monster of the California criminal justice system and its corrupt players, whose lust for publicity overwhelmed their concern with justice,” she writes.

Forgiving Polanski

Now a mother of three, Geimer says she harbors no hate or rage for her attacker, who went on to win both the Palme d’Or at Cannes and an Oscar for his 2002 Holocaust drama “The Pianist”.

Geimer’s memoir explains that she ultimately forgave Polanski – not for him, but as a way to move beyond the “victim” stigma she no longer wanted attached to her.

The book also includes a letter Polanski sent her in 2009, in which the fugitive filmmaker wrote that he wanted her “to know how sorry I am for having so affected your life”.

After pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, Polanski underwent a 42-day psychiatric evaluation.

But the director, now 80, fled the US on the eve of his 1978 sentencing amid fears the judge would go back on a previously agreed deal.

In 2009, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland as the US sought extradition.

But he was ultimately freed by Swiss authorities, who said the US justice department failed to provide records of a hearing in which Polanski claimed his case had been settled.

(France 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-09-18

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