New Zealand continues to prove itself incapable of taking female rapists seriously. A recent case is the most egregious example I have seen in some time:
A woman who filmed herself performing a sex act on her son for $300 has dodged a jail term.
Krystal Harvey, 23, was sentenced to eight months home detention after admitting sexually violating the 1-year-old and producing the objectionable minute-long video at the request of a paedophile.
Eight months of home detention. Harvey asked to keep her name suppressed, however, the judge handling the case rejected that request. I suppose that is a good thing considering how lenient Judge Phil Recordon was with Harvey. In issuing the sentence, Recordon stated:
“You’re someone who very clearly has never been able to form an attachment with anyone. Your life has really been a mess until now,” he told Harvey.
“Prison would be a Band-Aid covering over your issues.”
He said she needed psychological rehabilitation, which was best undertaken within the community.
“You’re a fairly simple soul capable of leading a productive life. If you go to prison I think it would put the kibosh on that,” the judge said.
Where will she get the rehabilitation? The sentence is only eight months home detention and 100 hours of community service. It does not appear to include any sex offender treatment. To that point, I do not know if New Zealand provides sex offender treatment for female offenders given that New Zealand essentially allows female offenders to walk.
It appears Harvey will face no real legal punishment aside from having her children taken from her. The irony is that Harvey’s own lawyer wanted the sentence to start at four years (the prosecutors sought six to seven years). It seems the only person who thought Harvey should face no jail time was Judge Recordon.
Once the story made news, social media made up for the lack of real punishment by harassing Harvey online:
Threats against Harvey have allegedly originated on social media, where thousands of people have united against the woman convicted of sex crimes against a child. The Facebook page Krystal Harvey Should Go To Prison has more than 3,000 followers. Meanwhile, folks on Twitter are also paying attention to this shocking case. […] News of the woman’s seemingly lenient sentence has angered people to the point that she is now the target of threats. Thousands of people on social media are outraged that the rape of a child didn’t even land this woman in jail, and they believe that she’s been given nothing more than a slap on the wrist for her actions. The fact that she did these horrendous things for nothing more than a $300 laptop computer has only added fuel to the rage being expressed toward her. Some people are even calling for her death, publicly, on Facebook and Twitter.
While I have no problem with people expressing outrage over the sentence, the threats are unnecessary and will only make Harvey into the victim. She is not a victim. She is a child rapist who was allowed to walk despite raping a 12-month-old boy.
One would think raping a boy barely able to talk for $300 would be enough to land a person in prison. One would think that when there is indisputable evidence like a video of the assault that jail would be the only response. One would think that even if a person were to hand out a lenient sentence it would still include a short jail stint.
But this how New Zealand law works. Women who commit sex offenses cannot be charged with rape, and when they do face sex crimes charges they received a fraction of the sentence men would receive. Male victims rarely receive justice. The crimes against them are not taken seriously, and those who assault them, particularly women, tend to receive lesser sentences than if they had assaulted a female.
One would think New Zealand would be embarrassed by this, yet little has been done to change the laws or how they are applied. In looking up this case, I could not find any response from the local or national government. It appears no one in a position finds it odd that a woman who raped a child, recorded it, and sold it received no jail time.
Yet while I find this case appalling in its complete disregard for basic justice, I am hardly surprised by the outcome. This is New Zealand. I am more shocked the woman received any punishment at all.