Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

A master class in how not to write about the sexual abuse of a child by Bath Chronicle

The Bath Chronicle's new article on a 21 year old man who is on trial for 'having sex' with a 14 year old is a master class in how not to write about sexual abuse:

Man admits two-day sex sessions with girlfriend teenager, says age of consent law is "ridiculous"

Harrasin-Worgan can claim the age of consent is 'ridiculous' as many times as he wants. It doesn't change the fact that the law was created to protect teenage girls from adult men. It doesn't change the fact that he committed a crime. It doesn't change the fact that he pled guilty to "three charges of having sexual activity with a child and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity".

It is absolutely disgraceful that the Bath Chronicle suggested that an adult man could have a "two-day sex romp with (a) teenage girl". The sexual abuse of a teenage girl by an adult is NEVER a 'sex-romp'. That language is dismissive, inflammatory and completely erases the experiences of teenage girls. This article implies that the sexual abuse of teenage girls is completely irrelevant and presumes that the sexual desires of men must always take precedence to the safety and health of teenage girls.

There is a suggestion within the article, via probation officer Jane Middleton, that the defendant has a cognitive delay. If this is true, it will have an impact on sentencing, however it does not make Harrasin-Worgan less of a risk to teenage girls but shows that there is needs to be more involvement with him to prevent further incidents of sexual abuse. There is also a suggestion that this case came to light due to concerns about the girls welfare and the fact that she has gone missing on numerous previous occasions, all of which make it clear how grossly inappropriate the Bath Chronicle's coverage is.

This article is biased and misrepresents the Sexual Offences act by minimising the sexual exploitation and abuse of teenage girls. We campaign to have mandatory specialist training for journalists. This is why.


ADMIN: Bath Chronicle have taken down the term "sex romp". We have asked for clarification on how the term came to be included and how they will prevent similar misuse of language from occurring.



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3 thoughts on “A master class in how not to write about the sexual abuse of a child by Bath Chronicle

  • Bronwen Davies says:

    I’m not sure what is meant by the term cognitive “delay”. Is it a typographical error and was it meant to read “deficit” or “damage”? I absolutely take the central point, that this might be grounds mitigation in sentencing but might also indicate that this man will not understand his criminality and will remain a risk to children.

    • Admin says:

      Delay simply means they have not developed at what is considered “neurotypical” standards. It does constitute a mitigating circumstance but does not render the person less of a risk.

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