Ten year old girl “asked for it”

In today’s “YayRape!”-judge news, a judge in the UK has offered up a very light sentence to a pedophile who raped a ten-year-old girl. Why? Because of what she was wearing.

In the latest case, Oxford Crown Court heard harrowing details of the assault on the 10-year-old. She was attacked in a park in South Oxfordshire by Fenn and his accomplice Darren Wright, 34, on October 14 last year.

Fenn removed all her clothes and raped her, then Wright took her to his home and sexually assaulted her.

Yet Judge Hall said the case was exceptional because the “young woman” had been wearing a frilly bra and thong.

The judge went on to elaborate:

“It is quite clear she is a very disturbed child and a very needy child and she is a sexually precocious child. She liked to dress provocatively.”

Apparently Judge Julian Hall has a history of child-rape apology.



Categories: gender & feminism, violence

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15 replies

  1. “It is quite clear she is a very disturbed child and a very needy child”
    And being disturbed or needy makes it ok to rape kids? Um, wow.
    “the ‘young woman’ had been wearing a frilly bra and thong.”
    Is anyone else starting to feel creeped out about the definition of an adult/woman becoming younger and younger?

  2. A bit OT, but more thoughts about young girls being defined as “women” sexually.
    This case, calling a ten-year old girl a woman because she wore more “mature” undergarments, is why I can’t support this leftist/libertarian viewpoint: we need to change our views about women and sex. We need to say it’s OK to be sexual; it’s even OK to be sexual in ways that might be a stretch for you and me (as a psychologist friend of mine said recently, 14 is the new 17); and that the important thing is to be conscious of your sexual choices and prepare for them and own them.*
    Sexualization of young adolescents (and in the mainstream media it’s usually girls) disturbs me and I don’t think that kind of attitude helps. I think some feminists are reluctant to speak out against it because they get called prudes, old-fashioned or judgmental. That’s a shame, because this issue is ripe for feminist criticism with regards to inequality, objectification, autonomy, etc.
    *I am not saying that I think the author of the piece or that leftist/libertarian types who hold similar views support/are responsible for child rape.

  3. When I read this on one of the news websites, I just sat there for about five minutes going “What… no, I must have read that wrong… No, I read it correctly… yikes”.
    No matter WHAT someone is wearing they are not inviting rape. And no matter WHAT a ten-year-old acts, dresses or talks like, they do not, and should not, be seen in any way of inviting rape or assault.
    That a judge thinks that overly-adult clothing should be an excuse for raping a little child is beyond appalling.

  4. Ugh. Very disturbing. I wonder if the Crown will appeal the sentence – here’s keeping my fingers crossed! (ah yes – apparently the AG is considering it.
    From a legal perspective, I’m interested in the intersection of the “women who wear provocative clothing deserve/consent to be raped” apologia with the law that 10-year-olds can’t legally consent to sex at all.
    But I actually think that the two concepts need to be separated.
    I agree that sexualisation of children in the MSM is a real problem – but more because it affects the way adults view kids than because of anything it does to kids’ attitudes about sex. I think we’re in danger of looking at kids with adult eyes, and romanticising kids’ innocence. I remember talking about sex with my friends at age 8. We knew it was “naughty”, but we didn’t really understand why. I don’t know if those who had some sort of religious upbringing associated the “naughtiness” with that.
    I’m not saying that it’s necessarily prudish to say that kids shouldn’t be having sex – I’m just not convinced that it’s necessarily productive to simply have this as a blanket rule (not saying that anyone’s saying this, by the way, it just seems to be one end of the spectrum). Nor am I convinced that we should be encouraging kids to explore their sexuality (since again, it’s likely that this would end up being through an adult prism). I’m really not sure where I stand on age-of-consent stuff (well, probably there should be one, I wonder if 16 is too high, I think that it’s more important to apply any age-of-consent laws to sexual activity between a child and someone significantly older – how much older is significant depends on the age of the child). I would be interested to know the cognitive and physiological arguments, because it seems to me that we always focus on the social ones. I’m not sure that this is the best way to frame the argument, given that I think our society is slightly screwy about sex in the first place.

  5. As far as adolescents exploring their own sexuality I think there should be a lot more positive emphasis on masturbation and eventually mutual masturbation as a sensible introduction to sexuality instead of the OMG!!1!Intercourse!1! framing that’s used both to demonise and to titillate.

  6. I think some feminists are reluctant to speak out against it because they get called prudes, old-fashioned or judgmental.
    Don’t forget “purse-lipped” and “finger-wagging”.

  7. Tigtog – yes, I agree wholeheartedly about masturbation.
    I just realised that it might have been unclear when I wasn’t convinced kids shouldn’t be encouraged to explore their sexuality – I meant something more like: I’m not convinced that kids should be encouraged to believe they should be sexual. It seems to me that the arguments on both sides are often *about* slightly different things – the perception of kids (whether their own or adults’ perceptions) as sexual beings, versus exploring their own sexuality in some way. I’m much more comfortable with the latter than the former.

  8. Jo Tamar –
    I haven’t thought about this much before, but maybe there should be some unofficial period of “transitional” sexuality for younger adolescents (like what tigtog said), but that would not be equivalent to adult sexuality. Then we wouldn’t be repressive but we wouldn’t have the “pubescent girl=woman therefore fair game for grown men to pursue” problem.
    And IME, I was always really uncomfortable and unhappy as an adolescent with the “you are a teenager so you MUST be sexual [according to patriarchal standards of course]” message.
    As for the age of consent, I would base it off of other age limits in the law – in the US, people can’t drive, work or drop out of school until they’re 16 and can’t open a credit card account until they’re 18 – and since sex can result in pregnancy (and not everyone chooses to abort), it seems a bit silly to tell people it’s alright to have a baby at 13 or 14, but oops, you don’t have any means of supporting a family.

  9. I mean, actually some “transitional period” probably would have been helpful for me, so I wasn’t presented with the switch between “innocent little girl” to “Girl Gone Wild” and could’ve had a sort of safe space of my own. But I’m 20, so too late now😉

  10. littoral mermaid, it’s definitely a tough one.
    For me (and this is maybe true for everyone, but obviously I don’t know😉 ), the pressure came from my peers more than anyone or anywhere else. Not in an explicit “you should be having sex” way. More, there was an expectation that each of us would always have a crush (or something) on someone. I used to make something up, which sometimes got me in a bit of trouble if one of my friends decided that they would do me a “favour” and act on it for me!😉 I don’t know if my friends were also making theirs up – I’ve lost touch with the people I was close to at that age.
    I’m skeptical of pretty much all ages of consent, by the way. Not that I think there should be no age of consent for anything, just that again, I think it’s often based on society’s idea of when someone should be ready for something rather than when they actually are.
    As for the not having sex until you’re ready to have children – well, that seems to me to reek of “sex is only for the baybeez” logic. I don’t think that an acknowledgment that some people will have sex at 13 or 14 (even if that was an official acknowledgment in the form of changes to age of consent laws) is necessarily sending any message that people at that age are ready to have a child. Plus, if it was a general rule that you shouldn’t have sex until ready to have children, there’d be a lot of people never allowed to have sex!😉 (but seriously: consider the impact of this sort of reasoning on those with intellectual disabilities)
    Certainly, the fact that pregnancy is a *possible* outcome of sex should be part of any good sex education program.😉 But again, I think kids and teenagers are more clued up than we sometimes remember. I’m a great believer in making facts available in as neutral a way as possible – or at least, since it’s probably impossible to be neutral, with a strong awareness of the message that is being sent by that lack of neutrality, and its possible impact on the recipients of that message.
    As for a transitional period, it seems to me that it would be more helpful (for kids and teenagers) if the transition was about attitudes rather than simply about acts (and I think that tigtog’s comment about masturbation is definitely a good and necessary starting point with attitudes, too). I also think out-and-out prohibition isn’t the best way to approach the issue of teenagers and sex.

  11. Jo Tamar-
    “As for the not having sex until you’re ready to have children – well, that seems to me to reek of ‘sex is only for the baybeez’ logic.”
    I don’t believe that – but considering that most countries have craptastic access to birth control and abortion (and even if it is available not everyone will use it or use it correctly), many people will get pregnant.
    “I don’t think that an acknowledgment that some people will have sex at 13 or 14 (even if that was an official acknowledgment in the form of changes to age of consent laws) is necessarily sending any message that people at that age are ready to have a child.”
    I realize that people will have sex at a young age, but I don’t think it’s a good thing at all, and not out of a moralizing, finger-wagging perspective.
    There’s the death aspect, for one. People do contract potentially fatal STIs from sex (and even if they aren’t fatal, they can cause long-lasting, serious health conditions) and women can die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. I don’t think that younger teenagers have as much understanding as older teenagers about the potential consequences. I’m reading a book about sibling loss and the author wrote that people don’t understand loss until late adolescence. If young teenagers don’t understand/care how serious STIs can be, then why use protection? We don’t trust young teenagers to make other potentially dangerous choices – drive, smoke, drink, join the military, etc.
    STIs are also worse when a young, developing system is infected, and I would assume pregnancy is, too.
    And from what I wrote about the possibility of a “transitional period”, we don’t have one now. And I’m seriously uncomfortable with considering a 14, 13 or even 10 year old as equivalent to an adult woman, sexually.
    “if it was a general rule that you shouldn’t have sex until ready to have children, there’d be a lot of people never allowed to have sex!”
    I realize that there are many adults who are horrid parents, but with existing social laws, adults are at least able to work, drive, open credit card accounts, own property and are assumed to have completed education or at least had a shot at it. It just doesn’t make sense to me, in a legal/social context, to say that it’s ok for someone to do something that can result in a baby, when they have no financial resources to take care of it.
    “But again, I think kids and teenagers are more clued up than we sometimes remember.”
    I’m 20. (I don’t know how old you are.) IME, when people became sexually active in middle school (ages 11-14), it was almost always due to social pressures and/or altered states. When people became sexually active in later high school (ages 15-18), some of them did for the same reasons, but most of them did so with someone they trusted (long term boyfriend or girlfriend) and were smart about birth control.

  12. this girl was ten, no matter how old she acted, how can this man have thought it was okay to have sex with her, he just met her (outside a pub) even if he thought she was sixteen, that is still wrong. if my eight year old sister dresses up in my clothes and after watching to many simpson episodes thinks its ok to kiss at her age, does that mean its okay for a man to have sex with her?
    consent or no consent, sex with anyone that young is wrong.

  13. It’s interesting – I’m not much older than you (26), but I have a totally different memory of how the people around me were sexually active, and I also get different stories from people around my age who I didn’t know when I was a teenager. Essentially, there were very few people who were sexually active before about 14, and everyone knew about condoms and – as far as I’m aware – generally used them. The people who were more knowing about sex earlier also tended to be more knowing about condoms. Nobody that I knew as a teenager really discussed other forms of contraception.
    I’m quite willing to believe that my experience was not exactly normal – I went to a state school, but it was academically selective (so we had a lot of students who were fairly serious about their own education, and certainly their parents tended to be, and that affected behaviour quite significantly). However, we were in a part of the city which was, generally, fairly low in the socio-economic scale – which meant a lot of people came from fairly low socio-economic backgrounds – so yes, the school is privileged in a way, but it was mainly an academic privilege.
    As for the “not ready to be parents comment”, apologies, the first part was fairly glib – but I was quite serious about the second part. What about people with intellectual disabilities, or some other characteristic which in our society will make it difficult or impossible for them to be as financially secure as most of us aim to be? It’s partly this sort of thing which makes me leery of any message like “people shouldn’t have sex until they’re ready to have children” – who decides?
    And my apologies again, I didn’t mean to suggest that you believed that “sex is all about the baybeez” (I certainly didn’t get the impression that you did think that way!🙂 ), but I do think that the argument you raised sounds like it has strong connections to that philosophy. I should have made my meaning more clear. I do agree that most countries have terrible access to birth control and even worse education about how to use it properly, especially when it comes to STIs. I would prefer to see better access and better education than to emphasise a message which I see as having particular philosophical connotations, even though some of the people who raise the argument don’t agree with or believe in that philosophy.
    I’m not arguing, by the way, that people *should* be having sex at 13 or 14 – as I said above, I’m not yet convinced that I can say “should” or “shouldn’t” either way. Again, I should have made my argument more clear. My point was simply this: I don’t think that removing a prohibition (eg lowering the age of consent) implicitly condones the particular behaviour which is no longer prohibited. Particularly when it is very rare for age-peers to be prosecuted for having sex with each other, even when both are under the age of consent.
    I’m aware that this is affected by my belief that prohibitions are not so effective anyway. I think that education is better than prohibition. Sure, younger teenagers (and even older teenagers, and even people in general sometimes) have an “it won’t happen to me” attitude which may not be addressed by education. I believe, however, that it’s even less likely to be addressed by prohibition than by education.
    I remember that when I was a teenager, I was deeply suspicious of the motives behind laws which prohibited me from doing something just because of my age – there was always a strong possibility, to me, that the prohibition existed simply because adults didn’t want me to do whatever it was, and that they had their own reasons for that which were not necessarily anything to do with my health and welfare. I also remember that when we had advertising directed at us about the health and welfare benefits of some or other prohibition based on age (eg alcohol), I felt that the message was completely out of line with my reality.
    I’m simply very wary of law as a symbol – that is, laws that are in place only to send a message rather than to do anything substantive (and any criminal law which exists but is rarely prosecuted falls into this category). Sure, age of consent laws allow for easier prosecution of pedophilia (since consent doesn’t need to be proved). BUT I think age of consent laws could be replaced with something better (eg laws which would allow for a transition period) that could would make prosecution for pedophilia no more difficult.
    But then, I think pretty much all our law relating to rape should be taken out and shot and replaced with something much better. Not sure if I can exactly formulate what would be better… I just don’t think that the current system works.
    By the way, I am quite aware that we have other age restrictions. I don’t disagree that some age restrictions are justified (although the age at which the restriction cuts in or out is more likely to be a matter for debate). However, I think it’s a circular argument to say “we prohibit teenagers from doing other things because of their age, therefore it’s perfectly logical to restrict their sexual activity because of their age”. I believe each age restriction should stand or fall on its own merits.

  14. Jo Tamar-
    “I would prefer to see better access and better education than to emphasise a message which I see as having particular philosophical connotations, even though some of the people who raise the argument don’t agree with or believe in that philosophy.”
    It’s not about philosophy. I may not have written it clearly, but existing laws about driving, alcohol/tobacco use, joining the military, etc. make it clear that people under the age of 16-18 are simply not trusted to make life-or-death decisions, and unfortunately, sex can be one of those. People under the age of 16-18 are not even trusted with significant decisions – working, owning property, opening credit card accounts, watching explicitly violent and sexual movies. Legally they are not considered responsible enough to do so, and socially they are not usually taught how to be either. Where I live, most people will live with their parents at least until they’re 18 and during college (18-22ish) their parents will often pay most of their expenses. And if full autonomy (granted, there are other landmarks, like driving at 16, etc.) is not until 8 years down the line from 14, how many 14 year olds are taught to be responsible?
    And if 12 or 13 year olds are told it’s ok to go out and have sex, and then a pregnancy results, then where does that leave them? How will they be prepared, legally, financially, socially, psychologically, for a pregnancy?
    I don’t see why sex, which may be fun and all but can result in STIs and pregnancy, should be an exception.
    Argh, I probably sound like an asshole and no hard feelings to you personally.

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