Samantha Geimer on Cultural Conceptions of Rape

Link to "'The Girl' Reflects on Roman, Rape, and Media"
Link to “‘The Girl’ Reflects on Roman, Rape, and Media”

Sarah Mirk writes:

The title of Samantha Geimer’s memoir The Girl feels both cynical and right. For the past 35 years, we’ve known Geimer as “the girl” in the internationally infamous Roman Polanski rape case. She was “the girl” the film director got drunk and assaulted when she was 13, “the girl” who was alternately shamed in headlines for being promiscuous or held up as a powerless victim. Finally, decades after the 1977 assault, Geimer has published her own take on the incident and ensuing media and legal firestorm.

Rather than being a salacious retelling of events or a crass attempt to turn infamy into a book deal—as some critics will certainly allege—The Girl is a genuine and astute look at cultural conceptions of rape and victimhood from Geimer’s intimate viewpoint. She explains her decision to finally write her side of the story in the book’s introduction:

We have what I like to think of as a Victim Industry in this country, an industry populated by Nancy Grace and Dr. Phil and Gloria Allred and all those who make money by manufacturing outrage. I’ve been a part of it. If you spent years reading about yourself in the papers with the moniker “Sex Victim Girl,” you’d have a lot to say about this issue, too.

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