Victim-blaming files: 12-year-old an “enthusiastic participant” in her own rape

That’s twice today that words have failed me.

Suspended sentence over sex with 12yo

(Emphasis is mine.)

A 24-year-old man who had his first sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl has been given a suspended jail sentence in the District Court in Adelaide.

The man, who cannot be identified, pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 14.

Judge Wayne Chivell said it was an unusual case because it was clear the girl was highly sexualised before the pair had met and an enthusiastic participant in the relationship.

The man, who has already spent five months in custody, has been sentenced to two years and 10 months in jail.

Judge Chivell has suspended the sentence and imposed a two-year good behaviour bond.

“The girl was highly sexualised” is likely to mean that the girl has been sexually abused before. Repeating this abuse, taking advantage of it to repeatedly rape her, doesn’t mitigate the harm done, it compounds it. When are people going to get this through their heads?

And this headline from AdelaideNow:

“Elizabeth Grove man spared jail for having sex with 12-year-old”

it's not sex, it's rape

The AdelaideNow article has more background, including naming the rapist, Jarrod James Hean, and this from the judge:

He [Judge Chivell] imposed a 20-month non-parole period, and said there was “good reason” to suspend the sentence.

“You are unlikely to offend again, and the relationship is now over,” he said.

[Via In A Strange Land]

Note: Feminist commenters only on this post. No exceptions, no excuses.

Categories: gender & feminism, law & order, violence

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49 replies

  1. That is disgusting, especially since the participants’ enthusiasm or lack thereof doesn’t matter in statutory rape cases! It’s disgusting that rapists are still being treated with hand slaps.

  2. I am truly sick of the sex/rape conflation in rape cases.
    Just using the word “sexualised” is a clear sign of what an attorney, witness, juror, or judge really thinks of rape. To imply that a 12yo child is imbued with all the emotions, abilities, and responsibilities of an adult’s sexuality is just absurd.
    To take it a step further to claim the paradox “she wanted to be raped” is exponentially more absurd. It’s an insult to all our intelligences and dehumanizes the victim.
    Truly sick.

  3. I can’t even read this without feeling sick. :/

  4. I swear I just don’t get this stuff. What kind of mind sizes up a situation like this and goes ‘Ah yes, highly sexualised 12 year old, perfectly normal’. IT’S NOT IT’S NOT IT’S NOT!

  5. I wonder if Kevin Rudd will find this revolting?

  6. Mindy: good call.

  7. And the California supreme courts are activist judges? ARG. Complete BS. I don’t know what else to say.

  8. oh god on a stick, what fresh hell is this?

  9. The girl was highly sexualised.
    Translation: Slutty Jezebel seduced the poor man! Not his fault! Women Girls are still causing men to fall into moral danger!

  10. Okay, so according to this Judge, it’s perfectly acceptable for a man to have sex with a 12-year-old who is legally incapable of giving consent because she was “enthusiastic” about the relationship. How young can one be “sexualised”, then? The age of 10? 8? Younger? What an incredibly dangerous precedent to set.
    On the other hand, women have recently been imprisoned for having sex with teenage boys as “old” as 16. Why would this be? Oh yes, the sexual double standard.

  11. Also, it’s not a “relationship”. Being sexually abused and raped doesn’t constitute a “relationship”. Ugh.

  12. So if I’m 12 and I want a beer, can adults just give me one and it’s OK? (writing from US, where this is waaay under the legal age) What if I’ve had one before? What if I proceed to drink it “enthusiastically”?
    Yeah, everybody gets that an adult who buys a kid a beer did something wrong, even if they think that the relevant drinking age is too high, and regardless of the child’s previous experience with alcohol. The point is that the adult should know better and look out for the best interests of the child. But if it’s sex, expecting people to obey the law and fuck consenting adults is somehow asking way too much.

  13. I googled ‘Chivell’ and ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’ on austlii and came up with a 2006 case where a man was accused of sexually assaulting the 12 year old daughter of his ex-partner.
    The complaint was contemperanous (ie, made to police within an hour of the alleged attack), the accused admitted bashing his ex-partner, threatening to bash the 12 year old and knocking her on the back of the head, and there was a scratch on the girl’s genitals consistent with the alleged attack.
    And Chivell found him not guilty by way of reasonable doubt, stating that

    The Accused is obviously an angry and violent man. I found his evidence almost paradoxically credible, however, because he seemed incapable of dissembling or trying to present himself in a better light. He made admissions about the unpleasantness of his character without hesitation or avoidance.

    but of course, he denied the sexual assault. So it couldn’t be true!

  14. From the Adelaide Now article:

    In sentencing, Judge Wayne Chivell said Hean had met his now-former girlfriend in March 2007.
    She was 12 years old at the time, but lied and said she was 16 – Hean, who was 24, lied and said he was 20.
    “When you learned she was 12, you continued to have a sexual relationship with her,” Judge Chivell said.
    “By that time, you say you were in love with her, and somehow convinced yourself it was appropriate to continue.
    “That was immature and irresponsible on your part, but I accept that you were not acting as a predator.”

    I can understand that a 12 year old girl can look 16 and be believed when she says she is. My daughter is 13 and could tell anyone that she was 18 and be believed, especially if she was wearing makeup and party hearty clothes. So it’s probably right to judge that he didn’t deliberately set out to seduce a child – but a 24 year old who was happy to lie to a 16 year old about his own age is still a problem.
    Then he kept on having sex with her even after he found out that she was only 12. That is knowingly statutory rape, and it should be cause to increase his punishment, not to decrease it because he thought he “loved” her.
    I suspect that for this judge “sexualised” probably just means having developed boobies so that you can be believed to be older than 12, and if you have boobies you must want sex.

  15. He [Judge Chivell] imposed a 20-month non-parole period, and said there was “good reason” to suspend the sentence.
    “You are unlikely to offend again, and the relationship is now over,” he said.

    Unlikely to offend again? Uh was this idiot listening when it was stated this asshole broke bail like what, nine times to rape this girl some more? As in:

    After he was arrested for unlawful sexual intercourse, Hean saw the girl on nine more occasions – resulting in the breach of bail charges.

    How the hell does that make sense? And in what parallel universe is a 24 year old seducing a 16 year old legal or okay, let alone continuing it when it’s revealed that she’s 12!!? In what fucked-up Negaverse is this shit happening?
    Screaming Lemurs last blog post..Because I Just Had To Say It

  16. in what parallel universe is a 24 year old seducing a 16 year old legal

    16 is the legal age for the capability to consent to sexual intercourse in most, if not all, of Australia.

  17. “When are people going to get this through their heads?”
    When they start giving a shit about the victim rather than just whether or not the rapist in question is a “sick dude” or not.
    “I can understand that a 12 year old girl can look 16 and be believed when she says she is.”
    The point is that it doesn’t matter. If the grocery store is legally required to card me – at 30 – then a 24 yo can certainly be expected to take reasonable precautions to make sure the the “16” yo that he’s with is really 16.
    I mean, seriously, how dumb – or more likely deliberately ignorant – does one need to be to not be alble to figure out that she’s lying aboout her age? Yes, one needs to do more than simply look at her and ask her age, but seriously. A 12 yo can’t drive, isn’t in high school, doesn’t remember anything newsworthy that happened more than 7 years ago, etc. It may not be possible to determine exactly how she is, but one can certainly be reasonably certain she is lying – at which point a 24 yo adult has the responsibility to walk away.
    Also, is 16 legally old enough to consent where this happened? bc I know where I’m from a 24 yo with a 16 yo is statutory rape anyway. At which point he should have walked away in any case and he has absolutely no excuse if she turns out to be even younger – even if she has a legitimate looking fake ID, a fake birth certificate from an excellent forger, and several upstanding witnesses to “prove” she’s 16. Protecting those lying 12 yo jezebels is part of why adults are not supposed to have sex with teens.

  18. For the record, 17 seems to be the age of consent in South Australia (and Tasmania), but it is 16 for the rest of Australia.
    The international AIDS charity Avert has a Age of Consent table.
    [broken link fixed ~tigtog]

  19. I’m so sick of stories like this. Thank you for bringing this to light, I hadn’t heard about it before now.
    Does anyone have any contact info for the judge? I’d love to write him a nice little letter.
    Angies last blog post..“Sex” With a 12 Year Old is Actually Rape

  20. Sorry, I made a mistake in the HTML coding:
    Age of consent table at Avert
    I find some of those age of consents to be extremely worrying … in quite a few countries, I doubt the case we’re talking about would even have gone to court!

  21. *hangs head*
    Perhaps Admin can weave some magic and make my last posts look a bit more tidy? 😦
    <a href=””” rel=”nofollow”>Age of consent table at Avert
    [fixed ~tigtog]

  22. Please don’t get me wrong – I have huge problems with this case and am totally on board with the perp having escaped a fully deserved harsher punishment, and the judge having a fucked-up attitude to young girls who look sexy. Just trying to get the facts straight.
    Mickle, 16 year olds can’t drive in Australia, so that would not have been a giveaway, and we don’t have middle schools (our secondary schools take students from 12-18), so that wouldn’t have been a giveaway either.
    He still had a responsibility to walk away once he did know however. As you say:

    Protecting those lying 12 yo jezebels is part of why adults are not supposed to have sex with teens.

  23. I find some of those age of consents to be extremely worrying … in quite a few countries, I doubt the case we’re talking about would even have gone to court!

    Yes, age of consent is culturally determined, not some absolute. In many of those countries a 12 year old can be married off, a legacy of traditions where women were never educated or expected to earn an independent living, so that getting on with the babymaking as soon as menarche occurred was all that mattered.
    If one is brought up in a culture where marriage and sexual relations at age 12 are expected, being “highly sexualised” at age 12 would be fairly normal. It is not normal in Australia though, where we consider our young people socially immature until a later age, and our laws reflect this.
    The judge has gone against the clear intent of the laws against statutory rape, in my opinion, by treating this 24 year old with the leniency that is meant to be reserved under the “Romeo-Juliet” exceptions for two teens having sex together only. I hope that the prosecutors have the guts to appeal this sentencing.

  24. You’re right on every point, Mickle.
    There’s a problem when a guy is deliberately searching for girls as young as 16.
    And when he doesn’t bother checking her ID, it shows:
    There is a very large difference between a guy trying not to rape and a guy trying not to get accused of rape.
    What is the attraction of a 16 year old girl? Men in western society are openly expressing sexual fetishization of girls at younger and younger ages.
    At some point we have to acknowledge that most of the time these men are only interested in the naivete, ignorance, and weakness that comes with the young mind, for if we are to believe they really “look older than they are,” there is no reason to be hunting these girls in their neighborhoods, homes, and schools, instead of places designed for adulterated culture.
    But we know that they don’t really “look 16″ or any of that shit, do they? They look “safe.” It’s a tactic, an excuse for when they’re caught, not a reason, not a genuine and justified attraction.
    Aeriks last blog post..Comment Policy

  25. To illustrate this “enthusiastic participate” crap? When I was a fifteen year old girl with a crush on my twenty four year old youth group leader – a friend of my father’s – I was astounded, thrilled and a little scared when he returned my interest. Having crushes on group leaders is just what fifteen year olds do.
    Cue conspiracy of leader and mutual (adult and teenage) friends to enable this ‘relationship’ without alerting my parents. Cue sexual relationship, and vociferous decrying of the unfairness of attitudes to age differences from me. I was adamant that I was old enough to know what I wanted.
    Yeah, not so much. I try not to think of him any more, because he makes me feel sick. I wish to god that he’d done what any decent youth leader would do and ignored my crush like he was supposed to – like I expected him to. He remains one of the only two men I have ever slapped across the face, years later – in both cases because they had their hands on my body when I had said no.
    I didn’t know there were any laws about age and sex when I was fifteen.

  26. “if you have boobies you must want sex.”
    Well, we know from the recent train-wreck Norks Thread of Doom at Larvatus Prodeo that this belief is almost universally held among men, a discovery I am still struggling to process. I’ve had to reconsider my entire life in the light of that thread.

  27. Just wondering if you’d posted on that on your blog PC. Cos you’ve raised it a bit, and I think your points are well worth exploring.

  28. Too right, PC. The thought of this judge, or anyone else, possibly deciding that someone should be held less responsible for instigating a sexual relationship because a child looks like a sexual adult appals me.
    An initial misunderstanding of their real age? Sure, it can happen to anyone, like the guys at a rugby match who started flirting with my daughter and trying to get her to yell obscene sledges at the opposition South African team. But when I turned around and told them calmly that she was only 13, they stopped the suggestive stuff immediately, and started making silly jokes about teddy bears and lollipops instead.
    That is what Hean should have done, and that is the reaction that sylvertongue is right to have expected from her youth group leader as well. It is not normal and acceptable to continue sexual banter, let alone a relationship, with such a great age difference in place.

  29. The girl was highly sexualised.
    Translation: Slutty Jezebel seduced the poor man! Not his fault! Women Girls are still causing men to fall into moral danger!

    “Highly sexualised” (with regard to a child) = has been sexually abused, as far as I can tell from what I’ve read. Not a mitigating circumstance.

  30. *headdesk*

  31. Sorry to be offtopic, but does anyone have a link to the infamous “train-wreck Norks Thread of Doom at Larvatus Prodeo?” I seem to have missed it.

  32. Lost my comment?

  33. Apologies for being so america-centric tigtog – an especially stupid thing to do on a non-American blog.
    The point still stands, though. The driving bit wouldn’t work in the UK either, but there are other tip offs (although it’s been too long since I’ve lived there for me to remember what they are); none of my classmates at the university would have been easily fooled (for very long) by a 14 yo pretending to be an 18 yo. There is a big enough difference between a 12 yo and 16 yo* that it’s not that hard to tell, one just has to be looking for it rather than looking the other way.
    So often when people talk about statutory rape cases where the victim lied about his/her age, the responsibility is put on the child not to lie, which is just ridiculous. I don’t expect older adults to card the teens/young adults they have sex with, but I don’t think that it’s too much to ask that when one applies the question of whether a reasonable person could tell if the kid was a kid or not, “reasonable” should go beyond simply looking at the kid and taking their stated age at face value. Cus it’s not like teens aren’t known for lying about their age, or anything.
    As my favorite fictional nerd once said: “first rule of the teenage years: always lie about your age when speaking to authority figures.”
    (er…something like that, I can’t find the exact quote)
    “Having crushes on group leaders is just what fifteen year olds do.”
    Oh, hell yes.
    And I’m so sorry you had such an asshole for a youth group leader, sylvertongue.
    *in any western country anyway. Not saying that non-western countries are actually any different, just that I have lived and spent time in places besides the US before, but not outside of the west, so I can’t speak to what it’s like in non-western places.

  34. bluemilk, I couldn’t see a comment in the spam bucket. Sorry.
    mickle, good points on older people needing to not just take a young person’s stated age on face value.
    I just wonder how many of the certain men I’ve met who’ve been transparently only interested in women’s conversation in terms of how it reflects back to them would be bothered to ask any of the questions needed to reveal discrepancies, and how many of them would think that being expected to actually listen to the women they’re dating to that degree is an unreasonable imposition.
    Not that this excuses the failure to do so at all, it’s just that I can see how this continues to happen as long as some blokes think that women are only there to smile and nod.

  35. And, as noted above, 16 is not the age of consent in South Australia anyway. So it’s not even as if he thought she was legal and then discovered she wasn’t. He thought she was 16. Which is underage.
    She lied about her age and he recklessly relied on that lie, but even the lie didn’t make it legal to have a sexual relationship with her. So he’s been committing knowing statutory rape since the beginning of the relationship.
    And yeah, at 13 I was well developed, came across as mature for my age because I was articulate, and had an enormous stonking crush on a 26 year old friend of the family. And I was convinced, absolutely convinced, that I was old enough to know what that entailed and to act on it. I have no doubt that I could have ‘passed’ for at least 16 in those days – in fact, I did enrol in a weekend writing course for 15-18 year olds without ever being challenged about it.
    Thankfully, although I now (to my everlasting embarrassment) realise that this would have been blatantly obvious to everyone around me, he not only didn’t act on it, but I suspect avoided situations where he would be alone with me just in case.
    Because he wasn’t a rapist.

  36. Helen @ 30: Sarcasm. Sarcasm. Apparently that didn’t come across.
    Mickle, thanks. Me too.
    Rainne: Yes, that. Articulate and mature-seeming does not mean emotionally developed, which is so, so apparent to me after the fact. There are reasons for age of consent laws, and they’re not because The Man is keeping us down as I thought when I was younger.

  37. Fmark, the thread Dr Cat referred to is here.

  38. Fantastic. Thanks Laura, I’ve been meaning to chase that down – was not sure if ‘norks thread of doom’ was really the best way to search for it though.
    It’s interesting to look at, say, the idea of early sexualisation in this context and then the fears discussed in the more recent post here about sex ed that teaching kids earlier about their bodies, their rights etc will cause early ‘sexualisation’ rather than an awareness of rights.

  39. Sorry, I should have linked to it myself.

  40. Best to ignore the last fifth, FP. It’s mostly me and Fyodor tearing it up.

  41. ooh, fp, damn good point.
    especially since, according to the one lone education class I took, sex ed at that age really is all about arming kids with awareness, infomation, and the ability to say no – even to adults.
    not just in the “mommy, that bad man touched in a private place” kind of way. but also in terms of getting them used to discussing their bodies instead of being ashamed of them and learning hygiene in a way that reinforces the responsibility they have to themselves rather than just as a list of rules.
    the idea being that less shame combined with more personal accountability will make it easier for them to later say no (at least to unsafe sex, anyway) – and tell someone when others disregard that no.
    and studies show that it works. a hell of a lot better than virginity pledges in any case

  42. Re: my comments @16, my apologies also for being America-centric, especially here. I’ll try to remember not to do that anymore.
    The wrongness of this still stands.


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