Samantha Geimer has twice been a victim in her life.
At age 13, the aspiring model and actress was raped by director Roman Polanski, who took her to Jack Nicholson’s home and plied her with drugs and alcohol before forcing himself on her.
But Geimer says in a new memoir that her exploitation didn’t end there. Instead she became caught up in what she calls the “victim industry,” those people who have sensationalized her cast to further their own interests.
“You shouldn’t be able to make what happened to me worse so it’s more interesting,” Geimer said. “You’re put upon to feel bad and be a victim so other people can use you as they see fit.”
After more than four decades since the 1977 rape, Samantha Geimer said she has come to gain perspective on the incident. In 2009, when The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg referred to the incident as not “rape-rape,” Geimer found the incident amusing.
“I laughed so hard,” Geimer said. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, she did not just say that.’ These days, you can’t say that. Everyone’s gonna be all over you.”
Now 50 and the mother of three grown sons, Geimer has opened up about the rape in a new memoir, The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski. In an interview to support the book’s release, Geimer said time has eased her pain of the rape.
“I think you can joke about anything,” she said later. “I’m all right. I was not all right the year after it happened… but I’m OK now. And when you start talking about 1977, there’s a lot of things that are funny.”
The rape had a profound effect not only on Samantha Geimer, but Roman Polanski as well. After pleading guilty, he fled the country to avoid going to jail when a judge change the terms of his plea bargain. He has remained outside the United States while he continued his directing career, become one of the most influential men not in Hollywood.