Global Media Violence Against Women

Director Roman Polanski Accused of 1975 Rape by French Actress

Valentine Monnier, a 62 year old French actress, revealed in an interview with Le Parisien that director Roman Polanski violently raped her in 1975 at his skiing chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. At the time, Monnier was 18 years old while Polanski was 42. She told Le Parisien that she went to Polanski’s skiing chalet with a group of friends, even though she did not know him personally.

Polanski had made sexual advances towards her while they were seated together on a ski lift. Even though Monnier had expressed her disinterest, he asked her for a private moment alone with her after dinner. “Life had not yet taught me to be suspicious,” she explained to the paper. Polanski then emerged fully nude and raped her.

Monnier is the sixth woman to accuse Polanski of rape. His other accusers all allege that he sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers or younger, the youngest having been 10 years old when he is said to have molested her. Perhaps the most recognizable case is that of Samantha Geimer (née Gailey), who, in 1977, accused him of drugging her and raping her after taking photographs of her for the magazine Vogue Hommes. He was commissioned to take a series of photos of adolescent girls, and later said that he wanted to depict them as “sexy, pert, and thoroughly human.”

Polanski was indicted on six criminal counts, including sodomy, sexual intercourse with a minor, and rape by the use of drugs. He then fled to France in 1978 to avoid being charged, and has been living there ever since. Prosecutors in Los Angeles have tried for years to bring Polanski back to the United States to resolve the case, but the French government has refused to extradite him.

In Monnier’s case, the statute of limitations for rape in France is 20 years, meaning that there is no way for Polanski to face charges. She said that she decided to come forward with her story because the publicity surrounding Polanski’s new film, “J’Accuse” (named “An Officer and a Spy” in English) has revived traumatic memories for her. The film is about Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French-Jewish officer who was wrongly accused of spying for Germany in the 1890’s. Polanski has said in interviews that he feels he can relate to Dreyfus’s story because he has also been repeatedly targeted by these accusations.

“Is this tenable, under the pretext of a film, the cover of history to hear ‘I accuse’ from the man who marked you like with iron when it is forbidden for you, the victim, to accuse him?” Monnier said to Le Parisien. Before publicly coming forward, she had written to both French first lady, Brigitte Macron and the junior minister for gender equality, Marlène Schiappa, in 2018. Schiappa wrote back to Monnier, admiring her for “breaking a 42 year long silence.”

Sources: the New York Times 11/9/19; Le Parisien 11/8/19; the Independent 10/5/08; Rolling Stone 10/5/17; Variety 11/8/19; CBS News 11/8/19

Support eh ERA banner