Not safe, not well, not unhurt, NOT SEX

[emphases are mine]

[cut for child rape triggers]

CBS News: Cops Looking For Little Girl On Sex Tape:

Nevada authorities have identified the second girl found on a videotape that shows sex acts by a man on a girl around 4 or 5 years old.

The Guardian: Nev. Police Search for Girls on Sex Tape

Authorities trying to aid two girls seen in a sexually explicit videotape say they have identified one Girl seen on sex tape found safe

AP: Older Girl Found in Nev. Sex Tape Search:

a videotape that also showed a man performing explicit sex acts on a younger girl.

Op Ed News: ‘Madison’ is found safe

Eye Out For You: Girl in sex tape found unhurt

USA Today:

“The Nye County sheriff’s office has confirmed that this girl is safe and well,” sheriff’s Detective David Boruchowitz said

They’re not sex acts. It’s not a sex tape. She is neither safe nor unhurt.

Get this through your THICK HEADS: RAPE IS NOT SEX.

Categories: gender & feminism, language, violence

Tags: , , , ,

18 replies

  1. This is precisely why I would NEVER want to be a journalist.
    Once you dismember it and point it out it really is outrageous. Thanks for opening my eyes to yet another example of how “un-biased” and “neutral” journalists are.

  2. Exactly, yes, thank you for noticing and writing about this too. I completely agree – I hate everyone’s misuse of the word sex in these cases of rape, I once posted on one news article about a gang rape of a 13 yr old girl described in the same article as sex. That is not sex! I particularly winced when I read your first one in this post. MY god that word sex sounds so wrong in that one.

  3. ok – not safe. not well. not unhurt. totally horrendous.
    but isn’t there a difference between pedophilia and rape that is -specifically – because the pedophile finds it sexually arousing, rather than because he wants to hurt and humiliate?- and that pedophiles prefer to delude themselves that the children are colluding/enjoying the experience? That their apporach is often less about ‘attack’, and more about ‘seduction’ – or grooming?
    Its a murky place to examine. Are you saying that if we exclude pedophile behaviour from what defines ‘sex’ that it pushes it safely into the definition of criminal? …

  4. rose: Lots of rapists find that they orgasm from attacking and humiliating their victims. An orgasm on the behalf of the attacker doesn’t mean that the attack constitutes “sex”. Lots of rapists try to fool themselves and others that what they’re doing isn’t reeeeally rape. Child rapists are no exception.
    It’s not even slightly fucking “murky”, and I don’t require any redefinitions or convolutions or changes of thought to “push” the rape of a three-year-old toward the “definition of criminal”. The idea that there is such a thing as “pushing” the definition of child rape in the direction of criminality can only be based in an idea that the DEFAULT position is a toddler and an adult enjoying consensual sex together. I really hope I’m badly misunderstanding your remarks here, because right now they’re sounding suspiciously like you’re getting caught up in the delusion of “But maybe some kids enjoy it!”
    The only “difference between pedophilia and rape” is that pedophilia is rape of a child, a person far less able to defend herself (and more likely to sustain serious and lasting damage).

  5. Oh, Lauredhel beat me to it.
    Yeah, i worked in touch with the courts re: pead cases for a few years and this idea that there’s some distinction, or ambivalent grey area etc., about peadophillia becuase of the abusers indentity, motive or sexual dysfunction gets really manipulated by abusers.
    Motives don’t match outcomes, and the issue remains the criminal sexual non-consent and abuse of a child.
    I worry about the credibility given to these ideas because, now, some very cynical abusers & their lawyers are delaying incest trials, where they’re admitting that the crime was commited, by trying to garner psych assements to re-centre such lies about their motives and sexual identity (rather than the kid’s reality of being abused).
    This is nasty, becuase delaying trials means kid’s may drop charges while exhuasted from prolonging the stress of awaiting trail (especially if the abuser got bail).
    Further, it tries to push abuse out of the category of crime (which it is, and requires accountability) into that of mental illness (which it isn’t, and would STILL require accountabilty for crimes anyway).
    A double whammy misuse of pysch/sexual theory to burden the kid, once more with the falsehoods of the adult abuser, and by extension also re-stigmatise the mentally ill and sexually marginal, rather than straight patriarchal males, as dangerous sexual “perverts”.

  6. ouch!
    no – there is NO WAY I’m saying it all right and the kids enjoy it! I’m horrified that you read it that way……. I obviously havent been clear at all. Pedophilia is particularly sickening. But I STILL think they are two different scenarios.
    My concern is that with younger children in particular pedophilia has ALL READY been pushed out the status of crime – by pathologising it as a ‘sickness.’ No-one would excuse a rapist on the grounds of ‘mental illness’ or ‘sexual dysfunction.’ These things are surely more commonly used to ‘explain’- and in the legal system to justify – pedophilia.
    I meant to differentiate between pedophilia and rape. Not say that one is somehow ‘excusable’ or ‘better’.(!!!!!!!!)
    Pedophilia worries me because it IS ‘murky’ – because it’s not generally a straightforward attack that can be neatly defined for criminal charges. It often involves extensive grooming, seductive behaviour, and effort to gain the child’s trust. The pedophile sets out to introduce sex into a relationship with a child. It can happen gradually. Let me qualify myself here. I find this sinister. I find this extremely sick. It frightens me.
    I’ve seen thirteen year olds in this situation – having a developmental desire for independance used to exploit them.
    My question was unclear but Outfox responded to it… the nature of what defines ‘sex’ in these circumstances. Were you suggesting that these kind of crimes should no longer be considered as ‘sex crimes’ but simply as criminal behaviour? do you mean that by calling them ‘sexual’, we are legitimising them in some way?
    My response would be that the sexual nature of these crimes – and the nature of pedophilia- where the adult uses a sustained, controlled means to gain sexual access to a child in fact argues that these people are FAR more dangerous criminals than the current legal process implies. The planning, the level of sustained deceit and the sustained focus on opportunity for sexual access to children, the self justification- should be acknowledged and considered in how perpetrators are identified, charged and sentenced.

  7. @ Rose: Pedophilia is rape. Rape, of any sort, with any “kind” of victim, is not sex. Rape is a crime of power and domination through sexualized acts over non-consenting victims. The point of this post was to say that rape =/= sex and journalists need to work on not using “sex” when they mean “rape.”
    This, of course, is an ongoing problem in the States, as well. Depressing. Worth a letter campaign, for sure.

  8. Thanks heaps for your reply, rose – I’m REALLY glad I was misinterpreting!
    I still disagree completely with this:

    Pedophilia worries me because it IS ‘murky’ – because it’s not generally a straightforward attack that can be neatly defined for criminal charges.

    Because it’s not murky. This is a three year old. Grooming doesn’t mean that maybe it wasn’t really all that criminal, or perhaps a little bit sexual, it just points to extensive premeditation. It’s exacerbation, not mitigation.
    And if you’re talking about a 13-year-old and an adult, it’s still not murky. If a 13-year-old is engaging in a bit of experimental flirtation, grownups need to put on their grownup pants and be the grownup, and not rape the child. Some people want to make that murky, but what I’m doing is explicitly rejecting what those creepy rapists are trying to do with their murkification attempts.
    A 15 year old person with a 16 year old partner? No problem, in the absence of actual coercion. But that doesn’t make the case of adult raping a 13 year old or a 3 year old any more murky.
    Hope that clarifies my position.

  9. Oh having total crossed wires about saying the same thing here I think Rose. I’m saying it should be seen as crimes plural, of both rape and whatever charges related to child abuse can be applied. Which is the typical approach anyway, it’s just media, lawyers abusers favouring misleading semantics for their own reasons.
    Rape and sexual assualt convey the sexual aspect of the crime without ambiguity that the matter is criminal; which ‘sex’ and ‘sickness’ don’t.
    But, as you describe there can be elements of psychological manipulation that increase the gravity of crime (and likelihood of repeat offending) that aren’t conveyed by existing criminal langauge. I’m agreed that we could do with better, additional terms for that, especially as the system caters badly to kid’s giving testimony.

  10. once again – thankyou Outfox… I think you said it for me.
    I think our reading of the term ‘murky’ is quite different – I’m not advocating it! My intention is not to fudge or make any less criminal the act of raping a child. My point is that pedophilia is not solely the act of raping a child, but a whole lot of additional criminal behaviours, which are not being looked at as being part of a sustained process of psychological manipulation with the intent to rape.
    It is made ‘murky’ because these behaviours are isolated and taken out of context to disguise the fact they are done with intent, or not considered at all. The impulses are pathologised, rather than criminalised. And when you have a teenager who is under the age of consent and a man that is in his forties or fifties – and the teenager insists that their behaviour was consensual you have a complete nightmare. According to the teenager, her sex life (at 13, 14 or 15) is none of your business. According to mother, till she’s legally the age of consent, it – like her personal safety in all matters – is.
    In this case, we probably agree. – Lets get rid of the murkiness and tell both the teenager and the forty or fifty year old man this is not all right. Or even the twenty five year old man that this is not all right. Grown up pants for all, please, and a jail cell for the adults who should know better…
    And now someone ring and tell DOCs. Their advice is not to alienate your teenager by interfering.
    There aren’t appropriate charges for behaviours that skirt around the actual assault. What is the charge, for instance, for having the 13 year old witness the rape of the three year old? And will anyone be charging him with that? More murk. More damage.

  11. Lauredhel: So why does your post have the category tag “sexual violence”, if that is by definition “not sex”?
    Certainly it’s not making love, just as sexual mutilation and other forms of sexual abuse are not.
    These are “sexual” only in that they have to do with the physical sexual organs.
    No connotation of a consenting sexual relationship ought to be read into the words “sex” and “sexual” in these circumstances.
    It would be wonderful if sex were always and only voluntary, safe, healthy, and harmless. We don’t yet live in such a world.

  12. Rose: Not wishing to further murkify, but perhaps de-murkify a bit… “pedophilia” isn’t an action, but an orientation, which may or may not be accompanied by any action, criminal or otherwise — just as orientations like “homophilia” and “heterophilia” may or may not, in fact people may have any of these orientations without ever having had any sexual contact with anyone.
    Conversely, one who rapes or otherwise sexually abuses a child may or may not be a pedophile. Rape is often a crime of opportunity, and the victim may be chosen because available rather than because of being the attacker’s preference — for instance, men may rape other men in prison because that’s what’s available, not necessarily because the attackers are homosexual. Children are usually more vulnerable than adults, and that (rather than pedophilia) may be what draws a sexual predator’s attack.
    This is important to remember when searching for an unidentified child-rapist, as we can’t simply eliminate from suspicion all the men who are known to have adult sexual partners and otherwise present as non-pedophiles.

  13. lauredhel, a belated thanks for illuminating this aspect of the story. it’s something i was considering while blogging about this case, and you expressed it perfectly.
    the man suspected of being the rapist from the video was just arrested a few hours ago. while i’m elated, i worry that everyone will think, “oh, they caught the bad guy, now there’s nothing to worry about anymore!”

  14. Hi ladoc. Yes, it’s definitely only a very partial closure knowing that the guy is behind bars. And most aftermath discussions seem to centre much more around gleeful discussions of his impending rape and torture in prison, and less on his victims.

  15. A rape is a rape is a rape is a rape. I don’t buy that being a pedophile is an orientation. It is an abnormal desire that must be controlled. Calling it an orientation makes it seem akin to being homosexual, which is an insult to gay people. Rape is rape, and defining the pathology behind the urge doesn’t lessen the vileness of the act. I could give two shits if some sick pervert says that he really loves children, and that he wants to express his love for them in a sexual manner, and that he is just made that way, and he can’t help it…blah, blah, blah. The truth of the matter is that he is a sick, deviant bastard who is more concerned about finding his own gratification through the abuse of a helpless child than he is about getting help. I have been mad enough in my life to want to kill another human being. I have been envious enough to want to steal from another human being. I have been cruel enough to want to hurt someone weaker than myself. Am I proud of any of these thoughts or feelings? No. But I am a decent human being who knows the difference between wanting to do something I know to be wrong and actually doing it. Living in a society comes with certain responsibilities, and not harming other members of that society is the most important one of all. It is the golden rule, after all. Even the word pedophile makes it sound like an illness, like diabetic, or asthmatic. The word should actually be changed from pedophile to ‘sick fuck who deserves to be shot in the head’, but that’s just my opinion.

  16. Tatnurse your clarification of child abuse as criminal and not merely an orientation is very much appreciated. It has been described an outgrowth of the worldview in which a man can expect another person to be obliged to gratify his sexual urges… A worldview any supposedly sane person should see easily resolved by the simple principle of personal boundaries.
    If women were allowed to have them, that is.
    The fact that such expectation is built into so many religious teachings is even more sickening.
    Excuse me while I go and take drugs to help me deal with the emotional fallout I experience from such discussions. It’s horrifically triggering, but at least we’re talking about it and naming the criminals. At least it’s being discussed in a manner which isn’t making it sound like a script for a fucking porno.
    Where’s Cybele when you need Her?

  17. Tatnurse your clarification of child abuse as criminal and not merely an orientation is very much appreciated.

    I just read a comment elsewhere, on the child gang rape in Aurukun, whining that the do-gooders who were all upset about it were just denying the girl’s agency. It’s not often words fail me.

  18. Exploitation and abuse don’t even need to involve the sexual organs. Certain kinds of cuddling, petting and kissing are just not appropriate between two people when one person does not fully understand the situation.
    Abuse, be it inflicted upon a child or adult, male or female, may feel sexual to the abuser but does not make it a sex act. Exploitation is a main determiner of abuse. It doesn’t help when commercial interests are, more than ever, sexualising women and children – yes and even men, as purely sexual objects. How the hell can we accept descriptions of new cars as “sexy” for example? It has become the norm to hear parents telling their 3 year olds in their new clothes that they are sexy. I have had arguments with people about this. I am told that it is part of the normal evolution of our lexicon, but I say it reflects a perversion of our cultural norms, which insidiously instils in people the idea that people including children, can be sexual objects.
    Another big offender in sending these messages is the music video industry. I banned my girls from watching what is predominantly males strutting their macho stuff in “sexy” cars with vacuous skinny airbrushed women fawning all over them like they had nothing else better to do with their lives.
    Words can be a political tool, and if people stop depicting and describing other people in sexual terms when it is contextually inappropriate, we might gradually change these disgraceful trends. The CP’s words in the little girl’s rape case reflect a language that has formed from years of ethnocentrism, from colonialism, racism, gender bias and a patriarchy more than 2000 years old. It is these language constructs by which abuse is exponentially tolerated. The language of power is not seen as such by those who benefit from it. We need to change our use of language. What does Legal or General Consent mean? Absolutely nothing. Was the child exploited? Yes. Was it reasonable to expect the perpetrators knew they were exploiting the child? Yes. Thus there has been a crime committed.

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