Girl 27

11 Jul

MGM wanted to wine and dine their sales associates.  Invited them to L.A. and Mr. Mayer is quoted as saying “Anything you want.”  They got extras to a ranch under false pretenses–a movie call requiring western wear.  It turned out to be a party for the sales people.  With something like 1.5 cases of scotch per person.  This was a very thought-provoking documentary about a 17 year old extra (dancer), Patricia Douglas, who accused an MGM sales-rep at the party of raping her.  She had been a virgin.  Not that it would have been any less terrible (or true) if she had been sexually active.

In the 1930’s (and before) there was no sex education from parents or school.  No one talked about sex, pregnancy, or especially rape.  Rape was never even mentioned in the movies–it was avoided.  As such, rape could not occur.  When women accused it, they were stigmatized (as they are today) There was also no recourse or help when it did occur.  Like the “perfect” 1950’s, which I’ve discussed on my blog before, where things aren’t discussed, it doesn’t mean the perfect image portrayed is a true one.  The unpretty is just hidden.  And keeping secrets makes ugly, problems.  People can’t keep those sorts of things under wraps without facing consequences at some point or withering away internally.  Not talking about sex or rape, doesn’t mean sex won’t occur and rape won’t happen.  It just leaves people ignorant about sexuality and sweeps rape under the closet door with everything else unpleasant.

Along with ignorance and secrets so prevalent in that era, the institutionalized cover-up contributed to Douglas’ misery and decline.  It was the studio movie era so MGM was king.  MGM was the biggest employer in L.A.  This means they controlled police, politicians, and the majority of the public.  To cover the bad publicity, they got the doctor to give Douglas a douche PRIOR to an examination–essientially erasing all evidence.  The one witness changed his story–then got a lifetime (nicer) job at MGM.  When the case went federal, Douglas’ lawyer didn’t show up (3x) to the landmark–1st–federal trial.  Suddenly, Douglas’ mother, the minor’s custodian, came into money.  She had furs, a stable of horses, and cash–and dropped her daughter’s case.  Makes you wonder. . .

The film covers the subsequent trial (then lack of one), cover-up, and lifelong ramifications.  It is true, abuse and mal-adaptive behavior continues from one generation to the next.  Though she lived into her 80’s Douglas had died long before that.  Long term affects of the rape and the cover-up of it:  Douglas could not love or trust men, and became, in her own words, “frigid” sexually.  She never mentioned any of this to her daughter or grandchildren, but was cold toward them.  Douglas became home-bound and obese.  The only things she ever did were watch MTV all night and sleep all day.  Douglas lived with her mother, but treated her poorly.  The rift, ignorance, and pattern of abuse spans generations.

What else can you say, but rape ruins lives?  The documentary will stay with me.  I suggest you watch it too.

PS: Greta vanSustern is a total lesbian–married to a man or not.

P.S.S:  Film based on, “It Happened One Night. . . At MGM.

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