When child rape isn’t rape

In some countries, rape laws are worded in a way that makes it impossible to charge a woman with rape even when the victim is a child. For example:

An 11-year-old New Zealand boy was reported Saturday to have fathered a child with the 36-year-old mother of a school friend, raising questions on why women cannot be charged with rape in the country.

Counsellors working in the area of child sexual abuse said the case highlighted a lack of attention to women as potential offenders, according to the New Zealand Herald, which reported the story.

The case has also prompted an examination of the law, under which the crime of rape applies only to men.

As the article later states:

Under New Zealand law, the crime of rape applies only to men and carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years.

Women who force a male to have sex face a charge of sexual violation which carries a maximum 14-year sentence.

Not only can women not be charged with rape no matter how violent the act, but they do not even face the same potential sentence if convicted.

And just in case people this was a harmless act, here is what allegedly occurred:

The Weekend Herald was told that the contact between the boy and the woman began about April last year, when the boy was aged 11. The woman’s son took a day off school and encouraged his friend to do likewise, spending the day at his home.

During the course of the day, the woman gave the boy beer to drink and then later took part in a sexual encounter with him.

In other words, she drugged him in order to have sex with him. That is rape on two levels: by virtue of the boy’s age and his intoxication.

This case has, however, raised concern about the law. Justice Minister Judith Collins will look into the law, and her investigation may prompt a change in New Zealand.

This kind of thing is inexcusable. There should not be a double standard when it comes to child rape. There should not be a means for women who prey on children to walk, which this woman may do, just because of their sex. This certainly should not still be the case in 2013. And this hardly the first time a woman has raped a child in New Zealand. I suspect that the only reason this made national and international news is because the rape resulted in a baby.

Fortunately, they took the baby from the woman, so it appears the authorities in New Zealand have some element of common sense. Reportedly, the victim is also in state custody, although no reason for why is given.

Hopefully New Zealand changes its laws to allow women to be charged with rape. Given that women commit between 40% to 60% of the sexual violence against males, there is simply no reason not to hold women who prey on children as accountable for their actions as men.


6 thoughts on “When child rape isn’t rape

  1. Sonja:

    I don’t think it’s as ‘accidental’ as one might think.
    What this means is sexual violation of teenagers (mostly teen girls, as you know the laws in NZ don’t apply equally) is worse than sexual violation of preteens (pre-adolescents). And thus the alleged (and imho SOMETIMES real) justifications for age of consent laws go out the tubes.

    But you see true pedophiles- those attracted to sexually undeveloped children – are a very small and distinct minority of men and women. You don’t get or retain power by fighting the already-marginalized. However , if you can get laws that treat sex with or voyeurism of teens the same as (or worse than) that concerning sex or voyeurism involving children, you can cast a very wide net.

    If you are a certain type of feminist (or a conservative who mistrusts male sexuality) you can try to give exceptions -for women – to these new laws. If you are someone who makes their living prosecuting,passing, or implementing these laws you will (if you are corrupt or just carelessly going ‘along with the flow’) tend to support widening the scope and power of these laws so they encompass more and more acts and classes of people.

  2. I should add that the reasons women have been exempted or mostly exempted (up to date) in most developed countries from many of these laws are the following:
    A. Demonization of male sexuality. There’s a huge propaganda campaign waged overtly and sometimes unconsciously (not every blogger/reporter/pundit is a hater or bigot, there’s still lots of ignorance out there)that portrays women’s sexuality as harmless, pure, or even nearly non-existent (‘women only want relationship sex!’) and mens as predatory. The way crimes are categorized and also the stats that are collected also are reflected in how sex crimes are reported, and this is a bad feedback loop that helps keep male victims mostly invisible.
    B. Active work by feminist legal scholars and activists such as Germaine Greer to make sure that the definition of rape does not include things like forced envelopment, and that other laws and classes of laws (sexual and domestic violence laws come to mind) are unequally written and unequally enforced.
    C. The vote. Women make up most voters in democracies, and many men also vote with women’s interests. Women also have organized political power, whereas men have next to none. For instance, in the US, the organization formerly known as Fathers And Families has been around for 30 or 40 years and has arguably been the most successful group that has fought for (the only other contender in the US I’m aware of is National Coalition for Men . They’ve launched a few lawsuits against various laws, some successful, some not.) the rights of a mostly male clientale (they’ve also done some work for women NCP’s too) only has chapters in ten states and , last I was aware only has actual lobbyists in 3 or 4 of those states.

  3. Pingback: The Rape of Don Draper | Toy Soldiers

  4. Pingback: New Zealand laws make it impossible to charge women with rape | Toy Soldiers

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