Yet another case of “Shh! Don’t mention the rape!” from a judge

ABC News: “‘Rape’ not to be used in NT child abuse case: judge”

Can anyone explain this to me in a way that makes sense?

The judge in a child sex assault case being heard in the Northern Territory Supreme Court has told reporters in the courtroom not to use the word “rape” in relation to the case.

The case involves two adult men and three teenage boys who sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy at Maningrida in Arnhem Land over a period of months last year.

Two of the accused have pleaded guilty to sexual penetration, one through oral penetration and two to fondling the boy.

Justice Trevor Riley told the court the case is not about rape because there is no issue of consent.

He said while the crime of sexual intercourse with a child was very serious it was not rape.

Sentencing submissions were due to be given in court today, but they have been delayed because Aboriginal interpreters have not turned up.

The psychological report has been presented for each of the accused and one of the defence counsel, Greg Smith, said the combination of cannabis, pornographic videos and little to do in the community led to the sexual offences.

Categories: language, law & order, violence

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13 replies

  1. What the FUCK!!?
    If it makes him feel better, why can’t he use the term “statutory rape”, but honestly, don’t ANY of these people even CONSIDER that maybe children who have been sexually abused are taught to lie and say that they consented (often through threats)– or are even convinced that they consented to it by manipulative abusive scum?
    I have a really hard time believing that the judge would have made that call had the victim been white.

  2. “Justice Trevor Riley told the court the case is not about rape because there is no issue of consent.”
    I took this to mean that one of the defining features of rape is that it is sex without consent. In this case, the child is clearly well below the age of consent. It doesn’t mean that the charge of child abuse is a lesser charge than rape, it just indicates that there is no room to argue that it was a consent issue.
    In light of the issue in Queensland, I never thought that the above paragraph would make sense to me either. But that was before a 26 year old man walked away from sexually abusing a child with the comment that he partook in childish experimentation.

  3. “Different View”, it’s still not making sense to me. I get that the case may not be about whether the boy was or wasn’t raped, that there is no way for the defence to contend that it wasn’t rape by postulating consent.
    What I don’t get is the judge ordering reporters not to use the word “rape”. Rape, the rape of a child, is what happened. Why are they not allowed to call it what it is?
    There is nothing about the word “rape” that entails “genital penetration of someone who might, under other circumstances, have decided and been able to legally consent”. It means “genital penetration of someone without consent”.
    Or are we now saying that it is impossible, in our language, to rape children, unconscious people, or people with very severe intellectual disabilities? That’s just bullshit.

  4. Hello? Age of consent? Does this men nothing any more??
    and this-
    “little to do in the community led to the sexual offences.” WTF?
    Oh, I got bored, so I molested and raped a child???

  5. i guess it could be interpreted to mean that the issue of consent isn’t relevant to a child under the age of consent. therefore any instance of sexual intercourse with a child would be without consent. By contrast ‘rape’ would imply that there are two types of sex with children – consentual sex and rape whereas all such occurances by definition have no consent in the equation.
    Why anyone would make such a distinction is obviously questionable.

  6. I’m very tired tonight, it’s possible that what i just wrote makes no sense, but it made sense to me at the time 🙂 .

  7. Er, men should read mean, obvs. That’s what comes of typing while eating.

  8. “genital penetration of someone without consent” is of course the meaning of rape and it is even more heinus when a child is involved. But that definition also implies that you have the ability to give consent in the first place. Children don’t and consent was an argument used in defence of the men in Queensland. I can only see this as a meaning to ensure the same approach is not taken here.
    Being a victim of child molestation is still such a horrid situation and I believe labelling it as such is in no way a lesser charge than rape.
    It is our legal system that defines what we call this assault, not our language and there is a space in the system that differentiates child abuse and child molestation from abuse and rape in adults.

  9. But that definition also implies that you have the ability to give consent in the first place.

    Why does it imply that? Where is the evidence for this? I have never come across this claim of entailment before.
    Most people, in my experience, consider “sexual assault” to sound less horrendous, to be a lesser crime, than “rape”. Dictating removal of the more severe, shocking language from situations which involve the most vulnerable victims makes no sense.
    And yet we have the media claiming right, left and centre that adults “have sex with” children, instead of saying they raped them. This is upside-down. For once, I’d like to see a judge ban reporters from using the term “have sex” in child rape cases. That would be a turn-up for the books.

  10. If you say it was done without consent, you must have been of age to give consent in the first place.
    Yes, sexual assault does sound like a less horendous crime to many people but I’m not saying that the judge should be taking it as a view of sexual assualt either. Child Molestation is what happened to this poor boy. By focusing on the men that penetrated the child and calling for rape are we saying that whilst the two men that fondled the child did a bad thing they are only guilty of sexual assault and therefore somehow better than the other men involved in this horrendous situation?
    Lets call this and every act that interfers with a child molestation and punish all equally. Even if the offender only fondles and is caught, it is only the beginning of a horrendous pattern of behaviour.
    And yes, I too would love to see the end of the term ‘had sex with a child’ too.

  11. OK, so we can stop trying to give the benefit of the doubt in this case. The Australian expands:

    During sentencing submissions yesterday, Justice Riley asked the media to “exercise care” when describing the offences involved in the case, saying none of the five males had been charged with rape.
    He said rape was a “much more serious offence” that attracted a maximum sentence of life behind bars. But the most serious offence faced in the current case was sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years, he said.
    Mark Johnson, the president of the NT Bar Association, said last night he was not aware of the details of the Maningrida case but the charge of sexual intercourse with a child under 16 did not necessarily imply the absence of consent.
    “They can prove the victim was a child, that the offender was an adult and that there was penetration,” Mr Johnson said.
    “But they might not be able to prove consent or the absence of consent.
    “They have to prove not only that the victim didn’t consent, but that the offender or offenders were aware that the victim was not consenting.”
    In the committal hearing earlier this year, Darwin Magistrates Court heard that the boy had been bound with shoelaces and drugged before being repeatedly sexually assaulted.
    Those claims were not included in the Crown facts presented to the Supreme Court.

    What the hell is going on in our criminal justice system? The similarities between the discourse around this case and the chummy rape-denial banter between the judge and prosecutor in the Aurukun case are striking.

  12. No, no one can explain this in any way that it makes sense.

    ”the combination of cannabis, pornographic videos and little to do in the community led to the sexual offences.”

    Yeah, and the planets where probably aligned in the wrong way. HOW ABOUT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT YOU DID???

  13. what’s the fucking point of even having an age of consent if (seemingly) every judge in the entire world is just going to say, “well, yes, but they probably consented,” ignoring the fact that THEY CAN’T FUCKING CONSENT. I don’t care if that eleven year old stripped naked and begged for it. It was not consent because he was a child and children can’t consent to sex.

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