Australian Judge rules that an act of rape of a 9 yr old did was not a violent act. (content note)
This is a response to an article in the Queensland Times “Ipswich man jailed after filming himself raping daughter”
As Ending Victim Blaming recently published in “Victim blaming by legal professionals; why the English courtroom is unfit for women and children” Judges are not giving rulings and sentences that reflect the severity of the offenses.
There are often those in the legal profession in many countries, not just England including judges who do not seem to understand the inherent nature of rape and sexual assault and that the very act of coercion is traumatic and violent in itself. Crown prosecutor Deborah Holliday said the man had filmed himself committing various sex acts, including penile rape, against his daughter while she lay on a bed.
Speaking as a rape survivor who was a similar age to her I fully understand the psychological violence that got her to submit. That it was her own father is even more sickening. Even as an adult sex can be painful, as a 9 yr old you are not prepared for it, or indeed capable of understanding or indeed from my own experience processing it. It was by its nature a violent act, a sickening act, and one that I believe would prove to be even more traumatic than being punched in the face. I remember vividly the first period when I was being raped and abused years later and it is still raw and numbing, the taste, feel, smell, other actions of violence against me are less real in the memory. I still to this day wonder if I should or could have done more and despite wishing to end victim blaming, blame myself in my own head.
The Australian Judge Michael Rackemann “sentenced the man to seven years and three months behind bars and said it would have been much higher had there been any violence towards the girl”. I find giving him a lesser sentence to him for raping a girl who clearly would not have wanted it to happen, and he should have been protecting totally appalling. It will be in her head for the rest of her life.
This also sends a message to those facing rape that unless they fight back their offenders will get a lesser sentence, you may freeze when being raped, you may be further beaten or even killed if you fight back, people respond in different ways but it’s always your attacker who is to blame. Rape should not happen to anyone and if in Australia the crown prosecutor can appeal a sentence to get the tariff raised then the crown should and must do that. It is not just her age, or that it was her own father, but that an act of Rape or sexual assault is an act of violence and the Judiciary Must recognise that.
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I think women, children and men who suffered rape and sexually abuse while giving evidence in court should be treated respectfully. They shouldn’t be put down and blamed for what has happened to them and their should be much more training in how to deal with survivors of abuse, and the long term effects this has on a survivors overall wellbeing. The negative view point in a court of law should be stopped and more training about Rape and how it is to do with power and control over another human being and how violent an act this is.
Thank you so much for such a personal and important article. We need to do much more to alter attitudes within the legal system, and society generally, around the subject of rape and sexual assault. This type of discussion is critical to that change. It’s so moving to hear others share their stories, within the context of a media story, and in doing so educate and empower others to take a stand and make #timeforchange a reality.
[…] Australian judge rules that the rape of a nine-year-old girl was not a violent act. […]