Quickhit: victim-blaming a 12 year old

I’ve just put up a post over at Sack Kyle & Jackie O that addresses some of the questions being asked about whether the whole scandal still matters now that “Rachel” asked police last week to not investigate further and now the claims by family members on last night’s A Current Affair that she wasn’t raped, that the sex was “consensual”. A 12 year old, passed out drunk while at a party she’d lied about going to, had consensual sex with a (not much) older boy with other people in the room, according to them. So why didn’t any of those other people stop it?

The post there is targeted towards an audience that doesn’t know as much about rape myths and victim blaming as we’ve discussed here in the past, so I haven’t fully addressed the myth that unless it was a violent assault it wasn’t “really” rape, but I was very clear on this so-called “drunken misunderstanding” trope (and included the graphic there as well).


having someone either deliberately get someone drunk for the purposes of having sex, or opportunistically “taking advantage” of someone who is too drunk to either consent or resist, is not just a regrettable drunken misunderstanding, it’s an illegal physical assault

This is all a sideshow from the disturbing lack of ethics displayed by K&J in using a minor for the lie detector segment in the first place with full knowledge that the questions were going to include matters of sexual activity that were inherently going to be about unlawful sexual intercourse due to “Rachel’s” age. But it’s a sad indictment on our rape culture, that a mother and aunties can look at a 12 year old member of their family who’s been sexually assaulted and not have one word of blame towards the boy who assaulted her.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, language, media

Tags: , ,

12 replies

  1. That was such a public demonstration of the lengths to which people will go to protect adults from the “trouble” of dealing ethically and respectfully with a child’s disclosure of a traumatic event that it made me physically ill and I had to turn the damned thing off before the end. Thankyou for posting this in a place where it might begin to shift people’s attitudes.
    Children do not have a responsibility to make things easy for the adults, they do not have a responsibility to protect adults from discomfort. This arse- about parenting where children are made to be responsible for the emotional state of their parents is totally fucked. The message that kids have to stay quiet to protect the adults is so damaging .
    Her first sexual experience was traumatic and all that the significant adults in her life can do is focus on their own discomfort. Grrr and other incoherent expressions of rage.

  2. Christ…as soon as the girl asked them to call off the investigation I *knew* it was going to turn into this. “Oh well then…she must have something to hide”, “Oh Kyle & Jackie O were punished for *nothing*”.
    A 14 year old asking the police to stop investigating a rape that occurred when she was 12 is perfectly understandable. But apparently in this country unless you are 100% enthused about going through the criminal justice system (and they’re uninterested in discussing how difficult this is on the victim), and unless there is a conviction secured then ‘there was no rape’. None of these people seem interested in discussing HOW on earth the police could ‘prove’ this two years after the fact or that just because you cannot PROVE something happened, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that there is a lack of evidence/this is a crime for which our notions of ‘evidence’ are troubling.
    And then this. Right ok…now we’ve got family members (dear god this poor girl) saying it was consensual sex.
    And apparently people are prepared to accept that. In a society where we’re prepared to enforce an age of consent much higher than 12, and to infer that anyone who has *actually consenting* sex earlier is deviant, where we vote based on “family values” and “protecting the children” (is it ‘family values’ to pass on to boys then that fucking an unconscious/intoxicated child – even if you are also a child – is acceptable and you won’t be punished? That girls are holes to jump on whenever you spy a chance, preferably when they don’t know/can’t fight you off) I can’t believe that people are willing to to even countenance a suggestion that a 12 year old girl passed out drunk is consenting to sex! And it does seem to be the same types of people that would bang on about family values/protect the children/where has society gone that are also most likely to say ‘Well see I KNEW she was a lying hussy’. Where do I start with the bad. I am having an ‘I hate people’ moment.

  3. With relatives like these “aunties”, who needs abusive, exploitative strangers like Kyle and Jackie O?
    This is going to play into Austereo’s hands. When this first happened I was amazed that anyone outside this website got that the objection to what Kyle and Jackie O and co did was that they had strapped a child down and interrogated her about her sexual experiences. Quite a few people seemed to get it, though, but the understanding out there is tenuous at best. This disgraceful Current Affair crap is going to derail the focus and divert it back to the most simplistic take on the whole thing. Now it’s going to be, oh if she wasn’t really raped those darling celebrities did nothing wrong.
    Does anyone know a celebrity who could talk about this and put the focus back where it should be?? Because it seems that only celebrities are listened to.

  4. I was concerned when I saw the news article on ABC online saying she’d asked the police to stop investigating. My guess is she was strongly “discouraged” from “causing trouble” by her family (ie told to shut up and keep shut) or that she’s actually still in regular contact with the person who raped her (possibly they’re going to the same school). Either way, there’s going to be strong social pressure, both at home and at school, to call off any investigations into it – I can almost hear the comments of “why ruin his life, too?”. I wonder whether anyone in the police is actually wondering why she told them to stop investigating, or have they just had to move on to another case in a huge workload?
    Gods above, I feel like writing to the NSW department responsible for child protection and offering the poor kid a place over here. Maybe on the other side of the continent she can get away from the reputation that’s dogging her steps, and making her life miserable at the moment.
    What makes me even angrier is all we can do is watch while this girl is destroyed for the sake of a few tabloid dollars. As though she didn’t even matter, as though she wasn’t worth anything as a person until she was forced to speak of her humiliation and make it public.

  5. Yes, I hate that we are watching this happen. It’s like a sick, well, reality show.
    One of the hideous ironies is that on A Current Affair it was presented as an example of how difficult this girl has been in the past that she’d been featured on TV programme before as a runaway. As if the fact that she’s been exploited by the media before just shows she’s a trouble maker. Sounds like at least three of her female relatives enjoy being in the spotlight.
    If the girl has in fact been receiving any counselling her case worker must be tearing her hair out at the behaviour of her relatives.

  6. Couldn’t bring myself to watch the ACA report, but it sounds like yet more egregious misdirection. There is no specific information about the situation of that poor girl that has any bearing on the matter, except the fact that she was fourteen, and stuff like that should never be done to children.
    Hedgepig is right, this needs a clear voice of some kind to make the case for sanity. There was Mediawatch. I expect the audience overlap between Mediawatch and this radio station is roughly zero.

  7. OFFS. This turn in events makes me want to kick things. I was a little hopeful for humanity when everyone was getting angry over Kyle and Jackie. This just killed that hope dead.

  8. A direct quote from one of the aunts:

    Rhonda confirmed the girl’s rape claims were not taken seriously by the family, who did not report the matter to police.
    “I don’t believe that my sister did believe that she was raped….I don’t believe she was raped. They were in a room, they were supposed to be drunk. There was another girl on the top bunk…ok..and this boy that was accused also had time to put a condom on,” Rhonda said, adding “does this happen (presumably to rape victims)?”

    It’s rape myth salad.

  9. I’d like to know where the parental supervision was at a party attended by clearly underage children.
    * why was alcohol apparently freely available to a 12 year-old?
    * why was a boy allowed in a bedroom occupied by 2 girls, including a 12 year-old?
    * why was nothing done when the girl first disclosed what had happened to the cousin?
    * has ANYONE spoken with the boy in question and asked him to explain his actions?
    * why the FUCK aren’t the “aunties” asking these questions?
    Answer: if a suggestion I’ve read somewhere is true, it would explain a lot of the denial coming from the family – this party was actually at a COUSIN’S, not a “friend’s” house (I don’t know whether it was one of these auntie’s houses or another branch of the family).
    If this is true, it’s a case of the family trying to distance itself from its own massive parenting failings. No wonder they are all ganging up on the poor child who had the audacity to call them on it.
    Oh, and has anyone also asked the question WHY this child is “out of control”, as the aunties seem so quick to point out? Back to the parenting fail again, methinks.

  10. Is she asking whether drunk girls/women are ever raped when they’ve passed out, or whether non-stranger rapists sometimes put on a condom to do so? The answers, love – are yes, and yes.
    I take it I’m not the only person itching to offer this girl their spare room?

  11. DEM – I want to take the girl away from all of this. I want to give her a safe place to live where people believe her, will protect her, will value her. No wonder she’s acting out with shitty family like this. They don’t deserve her! It makes me so mad, I’ve got tears in my eyes!

  12. I hope she reads a site like this, sometime, and learns that there are people who do believe her.

%d bloggers like this: