Offensive sign reading On a day when it turns out that Boris Johnson, having been persuaded to give money to charity, announces, “It’s outrageous! I’ve been raped! I’ve been raped!“, and someone spots this sign in a front window in Leeds, it becomes clear how two men who filmed themselves raping an 11 year old girl get only 40 months in jail, with the Judge saying, “Despite her age it is accepted that she was a willing participant”*, while reporters in two papers describe the men has having ‘had sex with’ her, rather than ‘raped’ her.

When the word rape is downplayed by people like Boris, and when getting away with sexual assault is something that is advertised in the window of someone’s home, then it almost doesn’t matter that the Judge went on to state, “but the law is there to protect young girls from this type of behaviour and to protect them from themselves. The girl had clearly been subjected to systematic sexual exploitation and you willingly used her for your own sexual gratification”.

The more there are rape jokes, the harder it is to express what rape actually is. The more the word is used to mean entirely unrelated things, like someone posting on your Facebook account, or giving money away, the harder it is for rape victims to be taken seriously. And the more I see stories such as these, the harder it is to keep fighting.

*I can only find reporting of this story so far in The Sun and The Daily Mail. While I don’t relish providing traffic to either site, if you want to see them, they are here and here.

[The image is a photograph of an offensive sign reading “Notice: Sexual harassment in this area will not be reported. However, it will be “graded””. It was taken by Dominic Okey and is used with permission]

Comments From You

Shadow // Posted 21 February 2012 at 8:11 pm

Mainstream media has for years now re-interpreted male sexual violence committed against women and girls as supposedly ‘female(s) having sex’ because it is essential reality so many, many men do commit rape and sexual violence against women and girls must be minimalised/distorted and/or blatantly denied. Feminists campaigned for decades and decades on the issue of how the male supremacist criminal legal system and mainstream media consistently denied/trivialised systemic male sexual violence against women and girls. For a few years feminists believed that at long last men and the male supremacist legal system had finally accepted male sexual violence against women and girls is not ‘just sex’ but rape. Now this is swiftly being eroded and we are back once more to claims that male sexual violence against women and girls rarely happens because according to malestream media and male judges ‘it is just sex!’

The law is very clear as regards males who rape females under the age of 13 in that no child under the age of 13 is presumed in law to be incapable of ‘giving consent’ to sexual activity. However any female of any age can be and is coerced into submitting to male(s) gaining sexual access to her body and that is rape – not ‘consent.’ Therefore these two men were found guilty of group raping an 11 year old girl. Judge Farrar overstepped his position of power when he echoed these male rapists’ claims that the female child looked ’14 years old.’ Ignorance is no excuse under the law and if we accept these men’s lies are ‘truths’ how long before male sexual predators will claim a female baby looked at least 5 years old and the child’s sexually provocative behaviour led them to enact inappropriate sexual behaviour which is of course a euphemisim for male sexual violence. Men commonly lie and attempt to deny their accountability because they obviously do not want their actions and behaviour to be subjected to minute scrutiny.

Judge Farrar also attempted to hold female children accountable for men’s sexual violence committed against females when he claimed the law was in place to protect children from their own behaviour. He was of course, inferring the law exists to protect supposedly ‘sexually provocative female children’ from seducing (sic) innocent, respectable adult men.

Judge Farrar is wrong – the law exists to protect female and male children from male sexual predators and that is why it is rape when an older male and/or an adult male targets a female/male child under the age of 13 in order to rape/and or to sexually exploit them. Judge Farrar was of course referring to the male created lie that female children are all supposedly ‘sexually provocative and commonly entrap innocent adult men into sexual relationships.’ But the law is not concerned with blaming or holding victims accountable for crimes committed against them, rather it was created to protect victims and/or to prosecute those individuals charged with having committed a crime. If a defendant is found guilty by a jury he is then sentenced for his crime not told as Judge Farrar did ‘that I too believe the victim looked older than her real age.’

Currently another criminal case is being heard wherein 11 men have allegedly engaged in subjecting a number of teen underage girls to systemic group rape; male sexual violence and selling these girls to other men who have also allegedly group raped them for their own sexual pleasure. However, mainstream media once again is downplaying the facts and instead reporting the ‘girls engaged in sex with innumerable men because the girls were drunk.’ It would appear mere fact these girls were ‘drunk’ means they are somehow responsible for ‘allowing innumerable men to use them as disposable masturbatory aids’ rather than being subjected to allegedly serial male sexual violence and group rape.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-17117530

lil1 // Posted 22 February 2012 at 1:54 pm

Argh. Disgusting disgusting disgusting. Although I don’t agree with a perceived need to save girls ‘from themselves’ – when does that ever need doing here and in fact why is that concept actually relevant at all? It’s my view that an 11 year old hypothetically COULD seek to have sex with multiple older males, that would never exonerate the men – just because you want sex it does not mean you consent to being exploited. If at any point their behaviour becomes disrespectful, exploitative or the motive all along is of utilising power inequalities to gratify and empower themselves, they absolutely MUST be punished.

If that’s the principle of that judge, it’s sure as hell not reflected in the sentence like it oh so much needs to be.

Deborah // Posted 22 February 2012 at 7:58 pm

My specialist research area is sexual violence. In the past I’ve studied victim blaming and currently I’m interested in cognitive distortions in sex offenders. What strikes me as really worrying about this Judge’s rationale is that he seems to be accepting that a child is or can be a sexual being, which is an extremely prevalent cognitive distortion found in child sex offenders. I can’t believe a person in such a high position of power is explicitly endorsing this idea that children are sexual, that they actually want sex and can be willing; especially when psychologists up and down the country are attempting to re-script this exact way of thinking in convicted child sex offenders. The message this sends out is incredibly dangerous.

Justine Ossum // Posted 22 February 2012 at 8:46 pm

This is only tangentially related, but it just came to mind.

A couple of months back, I was mooching around the Glitch forums, Glitch being a browser-based MMO that sells itself as being ‘nicer’ and significantly less violent than other games, MMOs especially. The community there is generally decent, one might even say feminist-friendly. Most of the time.

As you might expect on an online forum, the debate about ‘rape’ as a word surfaces from time to time. As I recall, most of the responding members attacked the usage of it to mean anything other than the criminal act. Except one person who expressed the belief that it was just fine to use it; the ‘sexual’ connotations are the new addition. Someone else very calmly laid the smackdown on him (it was a male-identified user) but looking at how the word is tossed around and how the criminal act (when it makes it to court) is described by most media outlets, I can sort-of-almost understand why someone might believe that. Not that that’s in any way acceptable.

Adric // Posted 22 February 2012 at 10:34 pm

An 11-year-old is incapable of consenting, legally, emotionally or intellectually, under any circumstances; any / every adult should know that. There’s no room for interpretation on that. Therefore it’s always rape and should always carry the maximum penalty.

Very troubling from the judge indeed

JericaLily // Posted 7 December 2012 at 2:51 pm

How utterly ridiculous that the rapists involved even tried to pass the blame to the child for “looking” older. But isn’t it the rapists fault for not judging her age correctly based on her looks? Or for basing the idea of “consent” on “looking” a certain age? Because you can tell just by looking at someone that they’re able to give consent, right? That they even TRIED this is beyond me and the judge is even more disturbing. They were actually arguing about a child being responsible for men attacking her. The idea here wasn’t focused on the criminals but trying to ascertain just how much of the blame should be placed on the CHILD. CHILD!

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds