Yesterday Oprah aired a show about female sexual predators. I must say I was rather shocked that she did the show given that the victims are little boys. But the shock did not last long. While Oprah’s attempt at bring the issue to the forefront should be applauded, once the show was over I was left feeling that Oprah sympathized more with these child rapists, having presented these women as victims, and not the boys.
On the occasions where I have watched her show, Oprah has never presented the rapist’s story first. It has always been about the victim. But on this show she did. We met convicted child rapist Lisa Zuniga Duran who thought she was “in love” with her teenage student. She raped her 13-year-old student 30 times before she eventually became pregnant and was subsequently arrested. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 10 years probation and also required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
A slap on the wrist by anyone’s standards.
Watching the first segment was like watching any other Oprah show. Duran poured out her heart about how she was “…in a place in my life where I was really starved emotionally” and was “…desperate and he did give me attention… I just wanted to be loved and I saw him on my own level.” That sounds like typical pedophile talk, but Duran disagreed stating, “I don’t think I’m a pedophile.”
Of course not.
Duran failed explain just why she is not a pedophile. She stated that she goes to therapy twice a week and has learned that what she did was wrong, but like most female child rapists, Duran fails to ever acknowledge that this attraction is a part of her that will never go away. Instead of taking full responsibility for what she did, she hides behind scripted trite written by a skilled defense attorney. “I can talk about this now because I understand my thinking now at that time,” she says. “There’s no excuse for that. But I also want to say I’m not in that mindset anymore.”
It’s okay to roll your eyes. I did. After reading literature about pedophilia and rape, I have never come across anything that remotely suggested that it is a mindset. Actually, strike that. I have never come across anything not written by a feminist that remotely suggested pedophilia and rape is a mindset.
After two commercials we finally got to hear from the victim. His story was chilling and starkly different from the “we were in love” masturbatory fantasy Duran presented. Andrew spoke about how Duran used his crush on her to slowly build his trust over a period of months before finally moving in on him. It was reminder to people just how predatory women can be when they want to. But the most credit has to be given to Andrew’s parents, particularly his father Paul. He did not mince words and did not attempt to spare Duran’s feelings. He called her what she is: a rapist. Of course, Oprah, ever sympathetic to women, asked Duran if she thought she was a rapist. Obviously she did not, though she did say that was what she was found guilty of. Probably the best line from the show was Paul’s comment about female child rapists. “They want to molest our children, and they don’t want to be accountable for it.”
And he could not be more right. Female child rapists are far less likely than men to accept responsibility for their crimes. They instead hide behind “love” and “relationships” and their own “trauma,” milking the sympathies of people who either do not know any better or simply do not care. And we witnessed that on Oprah’s show. What reason does anyone have to listen to child rapists justify their actions? Oprah would never have a male child rapist on her show justifying what he did and let him slide. So why do it with these women? Why allow Duran to portray herself as the ultimate victim and not once call her on it?
In almost every case where a woman has raped a child, the first thing she cries is “mental illness.” And as a society we accept that as an excuse. We accept it so wholeheartedly that we will even buy Duran’s “emotionally starved” mumbo jumbo. Yes, some of these women do have mental illnesses. So do some of the men who rape children. But that does not stop us from locking them up. We simply cannot accept the “it’s not my fault” line from these rapists just because they are women. Until we start holding these women responsible and handing out tough sentences, more and more women will use the victim-card to excuse their actions and walk right out of the court room to do it again to another boy.
And then they will get on Oprah and cry.