Samantha Geimer, 49, has lived the past 36 years of her life in the shadow of one of the biggest sexual assault cases of the 20th century. In 1977, Geimer (née Gailey) — then only 13 — was at a party where she was given champagne and quaaludes and was then sexually assaulted by famous director Roman Polanski. Polanski would go on to flee the country to avoid being sentenced for his heinous crime. Geimer would be left to deal with the fall-out.
For nearly four decades, Geimer has avoided media attention and lived in fear of the moments when Polanski would appear in the news — not because she'd have to see or hear about her rapist, but because it meant an onslaught of reporters camped outside her home, badgering her and her family. Now, for the first time since her assault, Geimer has taken control of the media attention and released a book — "The Girl" — to give her own account of her rape and traumatic events that followed.
To promote the memoir, Geimer appeared on The Today Show this morning where, speaking to Savannah Guthrie, she demonstrated a strong ambivalence.
When asked how she feels about Polanski and the rape now, Geimer replied, "How do I feel about him? I hope he's well. I was 13. That makes it rape, but I didn't experience it that way. In my mind, I didn't know that was illegal. I didn't understand he could go to jail for it. I was young."
But does she feel taken advantage of?
"Oh, yes," Geimer told Today. "It was a bad thing to do and [Polanski] knows that."
Her feelings are understandably complex and a good reminder of how important it is that we don't forget the well-being of the victim when pursuing the culprit.