Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Child Rapists are not “effective” parents

A 52 year old man has received a suspended sentence after being convicted of raping a 14 year old girl twice and indecently assaulting her twice.

The 14 year old girl is his wife's sister. At the time of the attack, the rapist was 24 years old.

A 25 year old man raped a 14 year old girl twice and has received a suspended sentence for his crime.

A man who raped his wife’s 14-year-old sister has been given a suspended jail sentence after a judge, Garrett Sheehan, ruled that "imprisonment would impose extreme hardship on the rapist’s family". Judge Sheehan also stated that:

“The evidence in this case disclosed that the defendant not only has the capacity to remain an effective parent but also that it is in his family’s interest as well as society’s interest that the family unit in this particular case be preserved and supported.”

How is it in society's best interest to have a convicted child rapist loose on the streets?

Yes, the rapist now has three children: two of whom are autistic and a third child who has several medical conditions. It will cause considerable hardship to his family for him to serve time in prison. But, that is his fault. He chose to rape a child. The fact that he now has three children requiring full-time care does not negate his actions.

This man should be in prison.

Having caring duties for the children requiring extra support does not negate the fact that this man chose to rape a child.

These are precisely the reasons why we need a real social welfare state. The three children, and their mother, should be receiving extra support from the state in terms of money and care-workers. They should not be dependent on a child rapist for support.

Rapists are not "effective" parents. They are violent men and should be treated as such. Frankly, I'm not entirely convinced at the safety of the three children who are living in a house with a convicted rapist. I don't know what Judge Sheehan thinks is a bad father but this minimisation of male responsibility for the violence they cause because they happen to have children is the very essence of patriarchal victim-blaming.

The judge has basically stated that the life of the victim of child-rape is not as important as the family of her rapist. The judge has stated that child rape lays

"at the top end of the midrange of the scale and, in the absence of any mitigating factors, seven years was the appropriate sentence. He said the absence of any other convictions and the fact that the defendant had “self-rehabilitated” since the offences were committed 27 years ago were significant mitigating factors."

How do we know the defendant has "self-rehabilitated"? How do we know that he has not raped other children who have been too afraid to come forward? How do we know that he won't rape another child? Since when does committing a crime 27 years ago constitute a mitigating factor? Is the judge really suggesting that the longer a rapist gets away with committing rape means that they aren't really rapists?

I have all the sympathy in the world for the family of this convicted rapists, but keeping him out of prison isn't the answer.

He should be serving the seven years in prison [and I won't even start on how pathetic that sentence is without it being suspended]. His family should be receiving extra support from the state.

Really, what this case implies is that the 14 year old victim of child rape is responsible for ruining her sister's family by reporting her rapist.

This is victim-blaming

This is rape culture.

The original article is here.

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