The Brutality Of Sexual Crime
Wednesday - October 07, 2009
Former television star Mackenzie Phillips recently revealed she was a victim of incestuous rape by her father, recording artist John Phillips of the ‘60s band The Mamas and The Papas. She further shocked the senses with the revelation that the physical relationship with her father continued, with her consent, for years. Her family is splintered, with sides forming based on the belief of her allegations. Regardless, Phillips is adamant about the veracity of her story, and her account seems entirely believable.
Roman Polanski, famed movie director, was arrested in Europe on decades-old charge of statutory rape committed in the United States. Prosecuted and found guilty, Polanski fled the country and has lived and traveled abroad for more than 40 years. He has avoided the states since an outstanding warrant would be invoked and he would face immediate arrest. His 13-year-old victim, now a resident of Kauai, was reportedly plied with alcohol and narcotic drugs and forced to have sex with Polanski, who was 44 at the time. He is being held in Switzerland pending extradition.
Phillip Garrido and his wife were arrested after abducting an 11-year-old girl and holding her a sexual prisoner for 18 years. Jacee Lee Dugard has been reunited with her family, along with a family of her own. During her captivity, her rapist fathered two children with her. We have not learned much of her life thus far, but the Garridos may be facing additional charges of murder as cadaver dogs have canvassed their property in Northern California searching for the remains of other possible victims.
Here at home, two men were sentenced recently for brutal crimes against women. One kidnapped two prostitutes, raped and beat them. The other preyed on two girls, ages 13 and 15, raping one and assaulting the other. Earlier this month, a man was arrested for attempting to abduct one girl in Mililani who subsequently escaped. He ensnared another young girl, whom he sexually assaulted for hours before she was freed.
Each of these stories is an example of the sheer brutality of sexual crime.
There is no other crime that physically ravages and debases its victim. Those who survive lead lives that are forever changed because of the life sentence of their memories.
What is disconcerting is the seemingly cavalier attitude many have toward sexual crime. While listening to conversation about the Polanski case, I heard comments from Whoopi Goldberg speculating that what happened to Polanski’s victim may not have been subjected to “RAPE rape.” The implication is that it wasn’t that bad. Callers to a radio talk show believed too much time had passed and that he shouldn’t be prosecuted. One was audacious enough to say if it was his daughter who was raped, he would talk about how she felt and then “take if from there.” I am still aghast at this kind of response from a father toward his own daughter.
Our collective attitude regarding sexual assault cannot be relegated to a “wink and a nod” or believed to be a crime where the victim shares some responsibility. The prurient and sensational details of these heinous crimes must not desensitize us to the reality of sexual violation.
Rape is a devastating crime of violence against women and children. Our perspective and adjudication of such cases is a direct reflection of our society’s tolerances. We must battle against the mentality that believes it to be less.
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