Trigger warning: This post references child sexual abuse, victim-blaming.

Here’s your dose of bad news in victim-blaming of the day:

A trial involving a 13-year-old girl and the 41-year-old man who had sex with her ended a few days ago amid outcry over the man’s suspended sentence - and the child’s having been called a “sexual predator” by Judge Nigel Peters.

Writer Caroline Criado-Perez, who spearheaded the campaign to put Jane Austen on the British 10 pound note (only to receive thousands of online rape- and death-threats – who knew people cared that much about the tenner?), spoke out against the ruling and the toxic portrayal of the victim, a child not yet out of middle school. She said that this incident “is the very front line of the sexism that still pervades UK society. For two weeks, Twitter has been awash [with] rape and death threats against women who dare to speak out against abuse. The women are accused [of] ‘provoking’ [their abusers].

“Now we have seen where this kind of attitude ends up: with what looks like a judge calling a 13-year-old girl a ‘sexual predator’ and letting her abuser off with a suspended sentence.”

The argument for the defense of Neil Wilson, who is roughly three times as old as the victim, lay in painting a picture of the child as complicit in her abuse, promiscuous, and looking older” than she was, which, unbelievably, served to mitigate the judge’s sentencing.

Wilson, who stands guilty of having sex with a legal child, received an 8-month suspended sentence.

Everyone and their mother, it seems, is properly enraged about the absurdity of the trial’s results. The English and Welsh group Rape Crisis said it was “appalled and bitterly disappointed” at what it called “shocking and entirely unacceptable treatment of a 13-year-old sexual violence victim in court.”

The use of character slander in cases such as these hinders the process of justice, puts undue culpability on victims of sexual abuse (which, like, hello, is bad for innumerable reasons) and, in this case especially, can serve to mitigate the sentences of admitted abusers of literal children.

The consent laws protecting children from adult sexual abusers, who really should know better by now, should not be party to these character defamations that make reporting and prosecuting one’s rapist a legal nightmare, even in so-called progressive countries like the U.S. and U.K. (Not to even mention the hellish rape news that comes out of India, the Congo, et al.)

Is anyone else thoroughly bummed yet? So is this pug:

 

Have a good Thursday, y'all.

Thanks to the Independent for reporting

Photo via the Independent

 

Tagged in: victim-blaming, underage girls, trial, total bummer, sexual predator, sexual abuse, rape, pug, England, abuse   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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