It’s been a while since I was a teenage girl but I can remember how I used to feel. I am one of an identical set of twins. Identical, but different still. I was the quiet studious one, she was the pretty one all the boys wanted. Identical remember? I was a few pounds heavier so this made me the fat one. Pounds, not kilos or stones. They said I had a bigger nose even though most people couldn’t tell us apart at first glance. I was a coupla inches taller than my younger sister by four minutes, but patriarchy doesn’t care for a healthy body mass index just sex appeal and next to me; she was a little bit skinnier and more talkative, especially with the boys.
She was 12 the first time a boy called her frigid. He was the cock of the class, advancing through puberty with straight As and all the girls wanted to be his girlfriend. I did too but I can’t remember why, it was just what we did. We weren’t thinking of losing our virginities, heck, we didn’t quite understand how that all worked. The gesture of the finger through the hole was frightening, what on earth did it mean? My sister was called frigid for refusing to let this boy kiss her cheek. In fact, she thought he’d already gone too far by holding her hand! A little while later we’d heard he’d cheated on her with a girl a coupla years above us. Everyone said they’d had sex and everyone called that girl a slag. But everyone gave him a pat on the back and whispered about who’d get to be his next girl. This behaviour was considered normal.
Teenaged girls are walking the tightrope to acceptance. I’ll never forget how an ex described how happy and reassured he was that his recently tweenie daughter was funny; a skill that would help her fit in with the boys. He actually said that it didn’t matter if a girl was not so attractive as long as she had the ability to charm them over with her wit. It was then I understood that he understood patriarchy and how it controls women. To fit into this man’s world, you’ve gotta make yourself attractive to them, on their terms.
And so we start shaving the baby bird down we sprout when our bodies start changing. We aspire to be the girl the other girls don’t like; they’re only jealous. We want a boyfriend but that’s only because so and so has one and if we don’t it’s probably because we have herpes. The word virgin makes us cringe and it’s only when we lose our virginities that we realise it’s too late, now we are sluts and can never be a virgin again. Some of us will have to have our hymens sewn up so that we can pretend it never happened. It’s that or risk death in the name of patriarchal ‘honour’.
In light of the Savile enquiry, with hundreds courageously coming to the fore, our society has had to think seriously about the way in which we silence child victims of sexual abuse in this country. They have been scorned and accused of making their allegations up; because it’s easy to present as a victim of systematic abuse? Only it’s not. How is one hardwired to think of people being so duplicitous as to convince a jury that they have been horrifically violated, sexually, against their will? Imagine replaying those incidents over and over in your mind until one day, when you feel for the first time people are actually listening, you dare to share the crimes committed against you, hopeful that you will have finally have support. Except.. They say that you are lying, that they don’t believe you and this is something you have conjured up for financial gain.. Why would anyone risk putting themselves through this unless they are telling the truth?
Even if you are telling the truth and the judge believes you, convicts the perpetrator and locks him away, there’s a message in it for you still. It doesn’t matter that you’ve just only just left primary school, haven’t even had all of your jabs, the fact that you were there shows you were willing. This is what Judge David Farrell QC had to say whilst passing sentence on Roshane Channer and Ruben Monteiro, jailing them both for just 40 months because he accepted the perpetrator’s defence that she was ‘willing’ and looked at least 14.
Judge Farrell said: “Despite her age it is accepted that she was a willing participant, 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. It is aggravated by the fact that the event was being videoed.”
I disagree, Judge Farrell. The law is there to protect children from men like you. And you are there to implement the law, not make a mockery of it.
But he’s the not only one. Last month Steven Pollock admitted to violating a 13 year old girl. He was duly convicted of sex with a minor yet somehow managed to walk free from court with just an order for community service and undertaking that he should attend a sex offender’s programme. He obviously knew he was committing an offence when he told his very drunk victim to pretend she was 16. The CPS changed the original charge of rape because they could not establish whether she had given consent.
How is a minor able to give consent? Is this not a clear cut case for statutory rape?
Lord Turnbull has difficulty answering this question. “It is important to understand that the offence arises out of consensual conduct rather than any form of force, grooming or manipulation.”
MINORS CANNOT GIVE CONSENT.
DRUNK 13 YEAR OLDS CANNOT GIVE CONSENT.
THIS IS CALLED RAPE.
When the judiciary are sending out a clear message to victims that they brought it on themselves, how is it any wonder that Savile’s victims remained silent for so long? Even when they convict offenders they have to slip in a warning (control) for all victims. Anthony Parry was recently convicted of rape and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. His victim awoke to find Parry raping her. Despite this and the fact that Judge Niclas Parry found the defendant guilty, he added that the victim had “let herself down badly” by drinking heavily and taking drugs on the night she was attacked. He told her she had made herself “easy prey for a rapist”.
Take this as a warning women, you should all just accept rapists exist and that they will rape you if you don’t do a better job of immunising yourself against this sort of thing. Stop drinking, stop having fun, change your clothing (but don’t cover up too much lest they think you’re a Muslim, and what a can of worms that is) and for chrissakes, stop sleeping around, or you’re just asking for it.
Sign this petition, not because I believe it will ultimately change anything for the big menz in power but because it is raising awareness by its very existence. RT it, forward it on to your mailing lists, keep talking about it. The more we say, the more we can do to affect change.
Judge Niclas Parry, apologise and retract your victim blaming comments: