I have been pondering the news over the past week and am disturbed by what is going on in the world. Not only have we had alarming incidences of violence in nature, we have also heard from Mackenzie Phillips and Roman Polanski. Perhaps these two names might not be connected in some reader’s eyes, but to me there is a deep connection: the connection of abuse. Mackenzie Phillips chose to reveal the details of her childhood abuse by her father. She recounted a story of sexual abuse by her father including drug use and abuse. She describes her father as saying he wanted to move to a country where their “relationship” would be accepted. She grew up believing that sex with her father was all right.
Roman Polanski has evidently moved to a country where his admitted rape and sodomy of a 13-year-old is accepted and forgiven. There are editorials in the news from people in the film business stating Polanski should be released and has paid for his crime. Polanski should be forgiven for supplying alcohol laced with Qualudes to a thirteen year old and then raping her. As if raping her was not enough, he subjected this young girl to sodomy for his own twisted pleasure. The girl ,who is now a woman, states she has forgiven him. What other choice does she have in a culture of forgiveness? There should be no forgiveness for sexual abuse, no tolerance for taking advantage of the innocence of children and no acceptance for any behavior where people are abused or tormented.
I find these two cases alarming examples of what can happen in a culture of forgiveness. I think there should be no forgiveness for crimes like these. I think Polanski should go to prison for the remainder of his days. I think Mackenzie Phillips is a genuine hero and should be treated as such. Bringing out into the light stories of abuse is a good thing for all of us. It reminds us of what can happen if there is no one paying attention to the lives of our children. It reminds us to pay attention to the forces of power in our lives and to watch diligently the lives of our children to ensure there is no possibility of abuse of any kind. If the parents of Polanski’s victim had paid more attention perhaps this terrible thing would not have happened to her. If someone had listened to Mackenzie’s thoughts as a child perhaps she might have had a voice to cry out with. To say, “Stop! You cannot do this to me.”
A bully will keep on bullying until he or she is stopped. We need to focus on developing a strong voice in our children of what is right and what is wrong by ensuring we set an example of engaged parenting and examples of boundaries being set. Every child deserves to have parents who respect their physical and emotional boundaries and encourages children to learn to respect themselves. Forgiving Roman Polanski or John Phillips is not acceptable. Both of these men are criminals and one is alive and should be punished. Lets start setting better examples now by condemning acts of abuse and punishing them even if years have passed. The crime will never be forgotten in the minds of these two women.