Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Supremely awful decisions

I THINK I want to move from Ireland. Until now I haven't been able to post about the recent Supreme Court judgement on statuory rape because it feels like an awful throw back to the bad old days.

It only took a week for the consequences to hit home. Here we are with a man Mr A who admitted knowingly raping a child of 12 (and let us be clear she was not a young woman, she was a child) walking free. I've tried to look at it all, to somehow take it in and I am enraged. The whole thing is too awful to actually contemplate and yet one family is now living with the consequences and I am devastated for that.

Mr A 4
Pic by Garrett White / Collins

Last week, the Supreme Court struck down Section 1.1 of the Criminal Law Act, 1935 in its entirety with the effect that that section ceased to have legislative existence when created in 1937. This has meant that there is no statutory offence of unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 15.

Seriously; so now we have a situation where a man who has admitted knowingly raping a girl of 12 is free because of this. As a feminist and as a mother this leaves me speechless to say the least.

One of the worst things is the family dealing with the aftermath of Mr A's release. They brought a case to court which must be hard to do, to subject your daughter and family to that for justice. It's a tough decision and a brave one. And after the trauma of all the preceeding events, the family is left with justice working for the offender. What is going on?

We have heard over the last week how alleged rapists can now claim they thought the young woman/child they raped/had sex with were above the age of consent. Jesus where do you begin with that?

Another thing that has pissed me off is the media calling our children young women. I can use that with my daughter but it more about acknowledging the young woman she is turning into, at times, most times she is very much the child, very much. She is 14, what abomination has taken place where an admitted rapist of a 12-year-old walks free and could even receive damages for being unlawfully incarcerated. I was also astounded by some of the comments in Irish Blogs welcoming this, are these people mad?

I remember following the most awful sexual assault cases where the arguments for the alleged rapist included phrases like she was a sexually provocative three-year-old or the case where a rapist broke a woman's back and tried to claim he thought she was enjoying herself. This feels like that, that somehow women/girls are somehow to blame for the violence inflicted on them by a man. Will we ever learn, or should I say will our judges ever learn. (I realise the judge yesterday had her hands tied by the Supreme Court.)

And before anyone begins with the argument of once chatting up someone and not realising their age, wise up. That is not an argument that is just a nonsense excuse. Really it is. As a man you have to be careful of who you chat up, get over it. Oh I nearly forgot there, the courts are protecting those who are inclined to to perv on young girls. You know when someone is young and if there is any doubt run away. As far as I am concerned that is the bottom line.

The whole argument of poor men being duped in nightclubs by a young wan who looks/acts older is nonsense. I did it myself, there was f*ck all to do in Belfast as a teenager in the 1980s, of course I tried, unsuccessfully, to look older. Was I somehow allowing bad things to happen, possibly by my deception? That behaviour is a rite of passage and now our courts have given carte blanche to those who will want to exploit that.

News Links: The Irish Independent, Irish Times (sub required) and RTE.

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James said...

"I was also astounded by some of the comments in Irish Blogs welcoming this, are these people mad?"
Out of curiosity - what blogs/comments? I would have thought we'd all agree on this issue.

tawdreyaudrey said...

A 48 yr old man has sex with a child and walks free.
My whole being is shook to the foundations with this story. I am so angry with this Redmum. Where the fuck does a 12 yr old become a young woman . European law states a young woman is 14 and even then that is arbituary.Let us not excuse a man being fooled by an under 16 and deal with the public being duped by paeodophiles.

Red Mum said...

I didn't copy links and maybe I should have.

The comments I referred to concerned chatting up 'young women' in nightclubs or bars and not realising they were as young as they were. That kind of thing.

I have rejigged this post for my column this week just now and I have expanded on that because there more entries this week relating to the Mr A case with people resoundingly being shocked.

cc said...

I thought I had woken up on another planet when I heard of this horrendous decision! It is absurd, unjust and totally indefensible. My heart goes out to the victims of the evil men who will be freed as a result of this terrible error by the Supreme Court.

Up here in the north yesterday a man was given a paltry 15 years for raping and brutalising a young woman and battering her to death. he'll be in his early 30s when he gets out. Victims don't seem to get any justice in either jurisdiction.

Keep up the good work Redmum.