Around the world we struggle with the concept that not all women are naturally nurturing and caring. It is outside most peoples psyche to accept that women are just as capable of despicable and vile acts such as murder, rape, violence and abuse and we treat them differently because of that. The double standards do nothing to support their victims, and often they are very detrimental to the healing of those who have been harmed.
Society has become so quick to dismiss female perpetrators that even when they have committed abhorrent crimes, our law makers and media find a way to frame the story so women will not be so harshly judged.
I don’t imagine that anyone wants to see the terms of reference for men changed to suit societies protection of women. It would be morally wrong to dumb down criminal acts because we find them hard to hear. However all women and men should be spoken about and treated equally for the same crime. It is the criminal act, not the gender that should be the point of reference.
The gender bias, afforded only to women, is evident in a news report today of a statutory rape case in Victoria, Australia. The story highlights how delicately we speak about female perpetrators when they commit sex crimes against men and boys. The headline in the The Age reads:
Woman who gave birth to 12-year-old boy’s daughter, jailed for 6 years for sexual abuse
When a victim of sexual abuse is under the age of consent (16 years, in Australia) it is considered Statutory Rape. Children are not deemed able to consent to sex because they are not capable of making what is an adult decision.
In this case, a woman aged 36 has committed statutory rape of a 12 year old boy. That rape went on over a period of 2 years and produced a child. The boy is now a parent at 14 years of age.
Had this been gender reversed, we would be reading a headline that said “Pedophile jailed for rape of a 12-year-old girl” and media would quite rightly speak the ugly truth of this story.
As this boy matures into adulthood, it will not be lost on him that our society demonises men who are rapists and pedophiles and yet his perpetrator was spoken about in kinder and more gentle terms. He will also be aware that the his rapist was not dealt with the same measure of the law.
the Department of Human Services is expected to take her for weekly prison visits to see the woman.
It takes a fair bit to surprise me these days, but I will be truly shocked if anyone can provide me with a resource that shows where a male rapist of a juvenile girl is given access visits in prison of their child produced from that rape. In fact, in the USA he would be made to pay child support.
The story continues to unfold the life of the woman, married with 3 children and kindly mentions that she was separated so as to not confuse her with being a cheat at the time of her crime.
She told psychologist Professor James Ogloff she was sexually naive and did not realise the boy was old enough to father a child.
Let’s just absorb that for a moment. A 36 year old woman didn’t realise that the 12 year old boy she was raping was old enough to father a child. Right.
The woman said she was attracted to the boy because he was sexually maturing but denied being attracted to children.
She was attracted to a 12 year old boy, not even considered a teenager, but she was not attracted to children? Right.
What we are dealing with here is a cognitive dissonance. A justification of beliefs about women in order to attach them to the societally acceptable ideals of nurturing and caring.
Professor Ogloff found the woman had not been acting in a predatory way or been driven by a deviant sexual desire, but instead had allowed her feelings of care and nurturing for the boy to develop into a sexual relationship.
And there it is again. Men are pedophiles who groom their prey, the scourge of our society but women do it out of love and their innate ability to care. Let’s try for an honest approach here: Any man or woman who takes away a child’s sexual innocence, a child’s right to explore their sexual desires in their own place and time is a sexual predator and they should all be spoken about and be treated equally by the law.
The psychologist said the woman had been a supportive and caring parent with no prior convictions who failed to recognise her feelings for the boy were completely inappropriate.
Professor Ogloff did not believe the woman suffered from a paedophilic disorder and was unlikely to reoffend.
She was a 36 year old woman and she took away the rights of this child to be protected. She also altered the course of the rest of his life by allowing herself to fall pregnant to him.
Men who require support are welcome to join my group page Relating To Men
You can read the full article on The Age Here
Image courtesy of Walt Stoneburner Flickr