Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Judge says child victim is “not the victim she claims to be”

I know from personal experience how challenging it is for women who attempt to have the abusers held accountable through the courts. The odds are stacked against us from the very beginning. The first step in the legal process is in reporting the crimes against us to the police, and as we know, most (estimated up to 85%) never do this, for a whole host of reasons, many centred around the way our culture regards and even punishes victims.

For those of us that made it to this point, we must endure the traumatic procedure of questioning by police, giving a statement and answering questions in what can be an openly hostile environment- you are lying until proven honest. Again, most of us who report will never get to the next stage- seeing perpetrators charged for their violence against us- because the burden of evidence is so high, and short of someone walking in during, or footage of the assault, there is not enough evidence to move forward.

For a few survivors, there will be sufficient evidence to charge the perpetrator and to proceed to a trial. I don’t have to tell you again that the chances of a guilty verdict are poor. But sometimes, the rapist will confess.

This is what happened in Texas (link below), when Sir Young pleaded guilty to raping a fourteen year old high school student two years ago when he was eighteen. She reportedly told him ‘No!’ and ‘Stop!’ At fourteen, she was a child, legally unable to consent. Young also confessed to raping this child.

So why did Judge Jeanine Howard sentence a confessed child rapist to probation? Why did she fail to order any sex offender restrictions, like staying away from children, attending treatment, undergoing an evaluation or refraining from pornography use?

Judge Jeanine Howard said the victim “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be”. She said this because the victim in the case had had sex before. The judge implied the child victim was promiscuous. This is the same girl who is legally a child, fourteen years of age, and unable to consent to sex. Perhaps the first relevant question is, given that she cannot consent but is not a virgin, has this girl been victimised before?

This verdict tells women (and men):

-Men have the right to sexual access to women’s bodies is they perceive women are promiscuous
-Even children are ‘asking for it’
-If women are not virgins, they have no right to refuse men’s sexual advances, because let’s face it, they are obviously sluts…
-Women and girls (and men and boys) who are raped need not bother to report their crimes, because victims are not valued, and if they dare to speak about the violence that was done to them they will be punished, blamed and further traumatised by a so called ‘justice’ system that protects rapists but not children.
-Men who rape will likely get away with it.

My heart breaks for this poor girl who has been the victim of multiple abuses- from this man and from the state. This is just one more story of a girl being preyed on and sexually assaulted by a grown man and the legal system tolerating, if not condoning, her abuse. Except it’s not a story, it’s a real person, who has to find the strength to survive in a world that tells her being raped wasn’t that big a deal.


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One thought on “Judge says child victim is “not the victim she claims to be”

  • Hecuba says:

    Men have always used the excuse that unless a woman/girl is ‘virginal and pure’ then she cannot possibly be subjected to male sexual violence. This is why Judge Jeanine Howard excused/justified that male sexual predator because Judge Howard accepts and promotes mens’ lie that only those women and girls who are viewed by men as ‘sexually pure’ deserve legal protection. This means males have the (pseudo) sex right to sexually prey on any female who is perceived by the male sexual predator as ‘sexually immoral!’

    Not surprising therefore that innumerable male sexual predators continue not to be charged let alone convicted, given a woman’s/girl’s creditability lies in her sexual history whereas the male perpetrator’s creditability depends on his public respectable personae not his sexual proclivities.