Article written by :: (RSS)

Lauredhel is an Australian woman and mother with a disability. She blogs about disability and accessibility, social and reproductive justice, gender, freedom from violence, the uses and misuses of language, medical science, otters, gardening, and cooking.

This author has written 1598 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about Lauredhel »

32 responses to ““Naughty little girl”, explains rape apologist Crown Prosecutor in gang rape of ten year old girl”

  1. tigtog

    I don’t know either. What to say?

    If we can’t rely on the Crown Prosecutor to realise that intellectually disabled children need more protection from those that will persuade them into undertakings against their own best interests, not less protection for them and more for the exploiters, then we are well and truly fucked.

  2. Beppie

    Oh bloody hell. I know I don’t need to write a dissertation here about why teenagers and adults having sex with a ten year old is still rape even if she did “consent”. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be in the least surprised to find out that her supposed “consent” amounted to her being intimidated (either directly, or indirectly, as the result of past abuse) into saying that she was complicit?

  3. Book Girl

    No. No. NO! I can’t find words for this… atrocity.

    But as a woman with a disability, I am sadly not surprised at this attitude, I’ve suffered from it myself, and seen too much of it in the lives of other women and girls with disabilities, particularly with the intersection of disability and indigenous prejudice. The following quoted research illustrates this well:

    “Police attitudes and the lack of developed policy and procedure for dealing with disabled victims of crime have been identified as a significant issue affecting access to justice. Police have been found to be generally helpful in assisting women with disabilities who experienced sexual assault, particularly women with physical disabilities (Cattalini 1993). However research into the barriers facing women with intellectual disability when making a statement about sexual assault to police, found that police officers stereotyped women with intellectual disabilities as promiscuous and not credible (Keilty & Connelly 2001). These views are reflected in the following comments made by police officers participating in the study:

    ‘They seem to get sexual very young and have a high sex drive. Maybe they have something to prove?’

    ‘Just like rabbits . … they seem to have a higher sex drive than other people.’

    ‘She’s being sexually assaulted too often … we make a report and note that it’s very unlikely to have happened. You just can’t spend that much time with somebody like that who comes in with stories that are always similar and it’s always outrageous and there’s never any physical evidence; nothing to corroborate what they’ve said.’

    (Keilty & Connelly 2001:280,281)”

    From Forgotten Sisters – A global review of violence against women with disabilities
    (112 pages, ISBN: 0 9775305 2 3) put out by Women With Disabilities Australia. For further information on the Resource this is a part of see http://www.wwda.org.au/vrm2007.htm

  4. tigtog

    The CP’s mindset seems to be somehow like the NT intervention mindset “oh, isn’t the child abuse terrible – we have to help them by interfering with their communities – but not by locking up the men who are the pedophiles committing the rapes, oh no, that couldn’t possibly help”.

    I see that this line of reasoning seems to exist, but I just don’t understand how they can possibly justify it to themselves.

  5. Chas Dean

    I didn’t think it was possible for this to get any worse.

    I even thought the proposed review of two year’s worth of criminal cases was overkill.

    Now I just feel ill.

  6. Beppie

    Reading over it again, another sickening aspect of it is the way that the prosecutor is basically referring to all of the men and adolescent boys as “children” or people “just past their childhood”. Um, at TWENTY-SIX? He’s making out like they were all ten year olds playing “you show me yours” or somthing. He’s attributing adult agency to a ten year old with a cognitive disability, and a child’s agency to adults.

    Fuck. :(

  7. Darlene

    Poor kid.

    The f**king system has let this little girl down so much.

    What message has it sent to her.

    If she doesn’t grow up to be even more damaged than she already was due to the rape, it will be a miracle.

  8. blondecanadian

    Does Mr Carter have daughters, I wonder? Or a wife, sisters, mother?

  9. kate

    So we still don’t have to bother with consent ‘in a legal sense’? Not even in a COURT ROOM.

    Bugger me.

  10. Beppie

    BlondeCanadian, he may well have daughters/sisters/a wife, but he has the option of compartmentalising them as “good girls” as opposed to “naughty girls”. Furthermore, the girl in this case is doubly marginalised because she’s Aboriginal– she’s Other to him in more than one sense.

  11. Fatadelic

    It’s appalling. And even worse when you consider that the child had previously been removed from the community at seven due to rape and had contracted syphyllis. And then is blamed for her own rape. I would really like to know details about this supposed “consent” as I would guess that there was an element of coercion. But regardless of that, she was 10 and noone in their right mind thinks a 10 year old can consent to sex, legally or otherwise! Jesus!

  12. Prosecutor: Gang rape of ten-year-old was "childish experimentation" : The Curvature

    [...] Via Laurelhed, more disturbing information has come to light about the case of the ten-year-old girl who, according to a judge, “probably agreed to have sex” with the 6 youths and 3 legal adults who gang-raped her. Brace yourself. The child – who had been living in a Cairns foster home before the department decided to return her to Aurukun, in Cape York – has been diagnosed as “mildly intellectually impaired” and suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome, having been born to an alcohol-dependent mother. [. . .] [...]

  13. Richie

    I can’t articulate anything. I just read it over and over and each time it sinks in a bit deeper.

    they’re very naughty

    Is there any way to even form a response to something like that?

  14. ladoctorita

    *sputter*

    “I can’t say it was consensual in the legal sense, but in the other – in the general sense, the non-legal sense, yes, it was.”

    wait. wait. i thought the whole point of THE LEGAL SYSTEM was to interpret things IN THE LEGAL SENSE.

    next time i get a parking ticket, can i get out of paying the fine by pointing out that i was only improperly parked “in the legal sense”? i mean, if the law didn’t exist, then my parking job would have been just fine! so let’s act like the law isn’t there! in a courtroom! WHERE THE WHOLE POINT IS TO UPHOLD THE LAW!

    *head explodes*

  15. ladoctorita

    also, “children of that age”?!

    which age is that, exactly? 10? 12? 26?

  16. tigtog

    I heard on the news this morning that the Crown Prosecutor has been stood aside pending an investigation. I can’t find a cite, but the news report also said that he was apparently only just reinstated to CP level after previously being demoted for incompetence.

    The man needs sacking. Bad.

    The judge has also been stood aside pending investigation into her decision.

  17. su

    As a Crown Prosecutor Mr Carter made a very good case for the defence. The response from the QLD government so far has been encouraging.

  18. Rain

    Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case, a ‘one-off’ or even unusual.

    Rape and sexual assault perps rarely get to court, and many get off with lenient sentences. The judge, prosecutor etc in this case were much the same as any of them *anywhere*!

    Not so long ago, a bunch of middle-class white boys in the USA sexually tortured a Downe’s Syndrome girl, filmed their “fun”, put it up on public Internet, and nothing much happened to them either. Just being *naughty*, like they were just guilty of ‘bad manners’, or perhaps “bad taste”?

    This morning, reading some of the other Aussie blogs and forums discussing the case, there were men saying stuff like “some of you guys must remember having your first nookies with girls like that?”

    I was shocked by the *bluntness*, that gang-banging the under-age town bike was a common boy’s coming-of-age ritual!

    This case is commonplace *everywhere*. We must all know how appalling sexual assault figures are, regardless of the age, mental health status or geographical location of the victims.

    It is suspicious that it was leaked to the media, months after it was heard, from a township that is known to be part of a politically controversial ‘welfare reform’.

    *Somebody* wanted to politicise it, localise it, stir up Australian community outrage against Indigenous communities, and this one in particular – punish these individual perps and all associated with just this one case – yet all the other hundreds of perps still walk free.

    I used to be an emergency foster-parent for girls, and had cared for one very similar to this girl. ‘Hypersexualised behaviour’ is common in life-long abuse victims. In the case I cared for, at 13, she could not be in the same room as a male of any age, (including young boys around 6 or 7) without going into full physical/biological sexual arousal and coming onto them in a sexually aggressive manner.

    She was sent to me for fostering, because I lived in an all-female household (my son having left home by then). She could not be trusted around men, she also had other problem behaviours lying, stealing, physical agression towards other kids (especially girls) and would lay false accusations on men, like male teachers, if she didn’t get her way on something. Because of her life-experience, she could make these stories very plausible.

    She had been trained that way from infancy, starting from around 6 months of age,along with siblings. So yes, in a very, very twisted way, such girls (and the women they grow into) are ‘consenting’.

    When she (and her siblings) came to the attention of the social services at around age 7 or 8, the social workers tried to take legal action against the known perps several times, but the girl was completely unable to give evidence or be a witness. She was very loyal to her perps for example, and would run back to them.

    This girl I cared for, was also officially labelled with ‘intellectual disability’, when it was in reality, mental illness, caused by chronic life-long abuse.

    Thing is, these girls exist *everywhere* in large numbers. Its so much easier to blame the mother, parents, or Nature, with labels like ‘Fetal alcohol syndrome’ or ‘intellectual disability’ (presumably something like Downe’s Syndrome), or their race, or that they come from a dysfunctional social community –
    when do we ever blame the perps?

    But they slip through the cracks, because once they are of legal age its no longer an issue, is it? the abuse can continue fully legally then. To start the cyle all over again with her children.

  19. Rain

    At least the powers that be are taking it seriously, though I do fear that they’re doing it because of the public outcry rather than because it’s the right thing to do.

    I think they are doing the best they can, trying to not to turn it into wedging social politics like Howard always did, using it to stir up the public outcry into moral panic, as a weapon to force ‘welfare reform’ or military Intervention on a racialised basis.

    Like that National Women’s Health Survey, where it was reported that 1 in 3 women had experienced sexual abuse at least once, and 1 in 12 reported chronic sexual abuse of more than 2 years duration? Perhaps Howard should have sent the military into every 3rd home in the country?

    I think the powers-that-be are trying to prevent that from happening, by focussing on due process of law, by referring it to a Higher Court for review, the exact same law that is applied to all Australians.

    Appealing to a Higher Court, the original judge and prosecutors are always stood down thats standard procedure, because the legal review has to be independent.

    I also liked the way Anna Bligh said that it was amazing that such a case even made it to court, thanks to the police taking independent action on the perps, in the absence of any complaint.

    Since the girl obviously could not make a complaint on her own behalf, and no family or community support to do it for her etc. She couldn’t be a witness, or do a victim impact statement either, she is probably not mentally competent. Whatever statement she might have made may be very heartbreaking for women to read. It hasn’t been ‘leaked’ (or the men/boys statements, for that matter). The police had to charge the men and boys, based on just their statements, to even get it to court.

    I also really liked the way Anna Bligh referred to the “separation of powers” ( ie separation of govt and law, executive & legislature), and that the due legal process will be observed.

    Howard NEVER did that, he over-rode the rule of law.

  20. orlando

    Rain’s post illustrates one of the (obviously many, many) disturbing things about the crown prosecutor in this case. That is, part of his job was to inform himself about the facts of the case, and yet his acceptance of the idea that it was relevant that the girl didn’t need to be forced shows that he either a) hadn’t bothered to find out that she had already been sexually assaulted at the age of 7 or b) had not aquainted himself at the most basic level about the effects of sexual abuse on children’s subsequent behaviour, or, I expect, both. That’s basic job incompetence before you even consider the lack of humanity.

  21. Beppie

    Call me a suspicious curmudgeon, but that sort of argument can’t help but make me wonder what the arguer might have been up to in the past that they’re trying to rationalise to themselves as perfectly justified.

    I was thinking exactly the same thing.

  22. blue milk

    Lauredhel, that’s the first time I’ve seen that much of the transcript and you’re right about the prosecution sounding awfully like he’s the defence, what the hell was going on? I hope the publicity surrounding this frightens the bejesus out of crown prosecuters and judges and politicians in this country – many of them urgently need to re-think how they deal with rape.

  23. su

    According to a SBS news report some of the juveniles involved were involved in the girl’s abuse when she was 7 and the family members in Aurukun were asking that the girl not be returned because these individuals were still in the community.

  24. tigtog

    It’s not just QLD legal system which is failing young girls. In Brazil last month, a 15 year old girl was incarcerated in an adult male prison, where she was raped and tortured for nearly a month until finally someone outside the prison let child protection know about her situation. Via Shakesville.

    The level of general indifference displayed to the pain and trauma of these young girls being assaulted is the really appalling aspect of these cases.

  25. Crowlie

    Ten years old… Fuck.

    Well, it certainly sends a message to her… and to every other female in Australia. It’s still a cock culture. Legally speaking.

    Why exactly are we encouraging women to have more children in this country?

    This is so fucking insane. And the white boys running newspapers and television stations carry on about the primitive bloody Africans raping women and children left, right and centre.

    Is it any wonder so many women in Australia are suicidal?

  26. su

    I had that same thought Crowlie, when I was watching Jane Eyre last night and reflecting on what I know of my great grandmothers, grandmothers, mother and myself. A woman who did not go insane and burn the house down in times past was an absolute f***ing miracle of endurance and strength. And I feel I owe it to their memories to kick back hard at structures that made their short lives a living hell.

  27. Carlina

    Su, you Jane Eyre reference is an interesting and relevant point.
    Jean Rhys’s book – Wide Sargasso Sea explores tahe possible history for Eyre’s “wife in the tower”. Its an excellent book completely sympathetic to the hero’s first wife. It was quite the norm a couple of hundred years ago to have your wife declared insane and lock her up in order to pursue other interests, specially in countries slow to allow divorce. In Europe, France was the last country (1940′s I think) to legalise divorce which meant had no escape from unhappy or terrifying marriages. Often their families would not or could not rescue them.
    And early last century just before the Russian revolution, women were still required to have a passport if out in the street without their husbands, brothers or fathers.
    It has not really been that long that women in our more “enlightened” countries have been able to claim any liberties at all.
    If our modern world has only so recently acknowledged women’s rights, is it so surprising that attitudes have still not caught up with our laws or our laws caught up with ethics of equality?

  28. Carlina

    Regarding court transcript: reason given to keep the older male out of jail:
    …”It is accepted, obviously, Your Honour, he has a previous charge of unlawful carnal knowledge. Raymond is very sorry for the shame he’s caused his mother and his family. He wants to be sentenced so he can start a new life and get on within the community.”
    No mention of shame for what he had done to the girl????
    Already a repeat offender, what guarantees were offered to protect the community from him in his new life?

  29. Carnival Against Sexual Violence #37 at Hoyden About Town

    [...] just been published at Abyss2Hope. There’s a link there to Lauredhel’s post “Naughty little girl”, explains rape apologist Crown Prosecutor in gang rape of ten year…, amongst other discussions of the recent furore over the sentencing of the gang rapists in Aurukun, [...]

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.