British Judge: 11-Year Old Consented to Gang Rape

British Judge: 11-Year Old Consented to Gang Rape March 1, 2012

Elyse at Skepchick has an article that will turn your stomach — and if it doesn’t, you might need therapy. In a disgusting case, a British judge reduced the sentence of two men who admitted to raping an 11-year old girl to less than four years in prison because video of the rape showed that she might have liked it. Besides, she looked 14, so that apparently changes everything.

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  • schism

    Elyse at Skepchick has an article that will turn your stomach — and if it doesn’t, you might need therapy.

    Or you’ve learned to expect no better from people. Probably some overlap, there, admittedly.

  • Who Knows?

    Hey, Judge David Farrell QC, Y U NO THINK!

  • Ellie

    I guess the logical assumption is that the judge is a pedophile who wanted to give his peers a break.

  • Zugswang

    Naw, making minors have sex is no different from making them try new foods! I mean, how can they say they don’t like it if they never tried it? And since I’m an expert of what 11-year-old girls like, I can certainly say it seems like she didn’t hate it nearly as much as she seemed to initially believe!

    But seriously, this guy can just turn in his decent and respectful human card right now. He’s out of the club, permanently.

  • kyoseki

    Who gives a shit if she looked 14? The age of consent in England is 16, so it’s still fucking rape.

  • Taz

    Laws like statutory rape exist because we don’t expect good judgement from children, we expect it from adults.

  • Pteryxx

    Never mind that rapists often order their victims to act as if they’re enjoying themselves. Wouldn’t want their trophy video marred by crying or complaining.

  • Who Knows?

    Laws like statutory rape exist because we don’t expect good judgement from children, we expect it from adults

    This comment.

    I think Taz should win the Internet for today.

  • It’s my understanding that part of the horror of being raped is that it is sometimes pleasant on the carnal level and always terrifying on the conscious level. That adds all sorts of terrible psychological twists to it, like forming an association between sexual pleasure with being violated and helpless.

    Are we to believe that carnal pleasure is the only emotional component that matters, and that the more complex feelings of trauma are irrelevant? The rape culture grows in strength, thanks to that judge.

  • Disgusted. That is all.

  • Captain Mike

    @ Bronze Dog: The word “pleasant” should probably have scare quotes around it.

    It’s an unfortunate fact that the human body reacts in certain ways to certain stimuli. Personally, I’ve never liked being sexually assaulted. My penis didn’t seem to mind so much, because it’s an idiot.

    It’s not totally unknown for women to orgasm during rapes. I can only imagine how much that would screw someone up, especially if they were unaware of the phenomenon.

    Occasionally I think it would be a good idea to have judges complete a course on sexual assault before they’re allowed to try those cases. It’s a topic where people’s perceptions of sex tend to trip them up.

  • eric

    Well, if the UK prison system is anything like the US prison system, a 4-year prison sentence for child rape may be functionally equivalent to a longer sentence, in that either way, they’ll be leaving the prison system feet first.

  • Aquaria

    I despair of humanity.

  • “Occasionally I think it would be a good idea to have judges complete a course on sexual assault before they’re allowed to try those cases.’

    In the instant case I’m thinking it might need something a bit more visceral by way of a “lesson”.

    Whither, Mr. Bonkers, screaming about Sharia law on this one?

  • Zugswang

    @BronzeDog:

    Yes, that’s more or less accurate. You may remember a while back about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. You may also remember a writer on DailyKos who, frustrated by so many peoples’ rush to defend Paterno, recounted her own sordid story of serial sexual abuse at the hands of her friend’s father.

    Fair warning, it’s pretty graphic, but it illustrates the kind of mental anguish that the victims of sexual abuse suffer immediately and the ripples that can follow them for the rest of their lives.

  • Who Knows?

    Zugswang, that was difficult to read. More people should read it.

  • Captain Mike:

    It’s an unfortunate fact that the human body reacts in certain ways to certain stimuli.

    I’ve heard this phenomenon referred to as “body betrayal,” but Google is giving me hits for various unrelated things.

    Zugswang, I read that post when it was new, and it is indeed devastating and incomparable. The comment thread is another story. The defensive and hostile reactions from JoePa stans, “civility” trolls, and pious peddlers of “forgiveness” rhetoric speak volumes about the DailyKos community.

  • F

    Zugswang

    Yeah, I was following that piece when it came out. Who Knows? is right, more people should really read this.

    As to this…judge… This is where you have that conflict between judges using their judgement and minimum sentencing guidelines. Too bad there aren’t any really good ways to introduce novel mechanisms into government which would actually help with these things.

  • Infophile

    @11 Captain Mike:

    Occasionally I think it would be a good idea to have judges complete a course on sexual assault before they’re allowed to try those cases. It’s a topic where people’s perceptions of sex tend to trip them up.

    Sad thing is, this judge did complete such a course, if the Daily Mail is to be believed.

  • ehmm

    Did these assholes actually offer “we thought she was 14” as an excuse? Jesus fucking Christ. No amount of outrage is too much for this.

    Was the judge drunk or something? Do they have any mechanism in Britain to get that judge off the bench? Maybe impeachment? Recall? The Queen rings you up and says “Um, Yeah, I’m going to need you to go ahead and not come in to work anymore”?

  • maxamillion

    WTF? The girl was 11! Consent is irrelevant.

  • So apparently no-one here agrees with the concept of statutory rape in the first place, the whole point of which is basically that we don’t deem having sex with a consenting minor (= statutory rape) as bad as raping them on a knife point.

    Also another thing which doesn’t seem to count at all is that the perpetrator were mistaken about the girl’s age. In this case it doesn’t make a (at least a legal) difference but again I think it’s an odd position to hold, generally.

    Do they deserve to go to jail for having sex with someone who they did not force and thought was 14-year old? Yes. But do they deserve the same punishment as someone who violently forced themselves on someone they knew were 11?

  • @22 I don’t know about the UK but generally in the US 11 is NOT statutory rape, most states put the limit on that somewhere around 13-14 up to the age of consent. Under that age it’s gross sexual assault of a child regardless of whether she consented or not and the penalties are the same as any sexual assault on a child. I don’t care if they claimed they thought she was 14, she wasn’t 14 she was 11.

  • “Do they deserve to go to jail for having sex with someone who they did not force and thought was 14-year old? Yes. But do they deserve the same punishment as someone who violently forced themselves on someone they knew were 11?”

    Oh, SNAP! Can I answer this one?

    Y’know, maybe if those guys had put up a sign that said, “Get fucked, responsibly” and checked her library card to see if she was telling the truth about “being 14”. Ummm, FUCK NO! Bars have signs that warn people about minor age drinking, they check ID’s. If they serves someone underage and get caught, they usually are on the hook–always if they DON’T check ID or if the ID is bogus looking (and fake) and they pass it.

    These three assholes should all be in a nasty place.

  • @23: “I don’t care if they claimed they thought she was 14, she wasn’t 14 she was 11.”

    So would you care if someone had sex with someone they thought were 17 but turned out to be 15? If we apply your “well they were mistaken, tough shit”-standard consistently, we’d end up with a pretty illiberal justice system.

    I’m actually from Finland and we don’t have “statutory rape” here at all; I think it usually comes down to (aggravated) “sexual abuse of a minor” which I think makes more sense since statutory rape boils down to “consensual sex with a person who can’t legally consent” which is sort of contradictory.

    @24:

    I don’t see how you answered anything at all. I happen to think that

    a) sexual abuse of a 11-year is objectively worse than sexual abuse of a 14-year (due to difference sexual maturity) and b) to use (violent) force to do this is actually worse than doing it without (violent) force.

    You and many other commenters can’t apparently agree with either of these sentiments which I find surprising at a supposedly liberal blog.

  • dingojack

    mattisironen – “…since statutory rape boils down to “consensual sex with a person who can’t legally consent” which is sort of contradictory”.

    Uh – no. It boils down non-consensual sex with someone because they can’t consent by definition (ie rape).

    No contradiction there.

    Dingo

  • @26:

    Well put that way I suppose there isn’t, but then you’re left with “forced” and “unforced” rape (if one happens to care to make that distinction, which it seems many don’t).

  • StevoR

    You’ve got to be kidding!!? Right? Oh ye non-existent gods! That is just.. no words ..for how sick and wrong that is.

  • StevoR

    ^ Referring to the the title and case in question here that is.

  • strata

    I hope she’s not pregnant. She should consider the seriousness of her crime if she is.

  • Mattisironen:

    “24:

    I don’t see how you answered anything at all. I happen to think that

    a) sexual abuse of a 11-year is objectively worse than sexual abuse of a 14-year (due to difference sexual maturity) and b) to use (violent) force to do this is actually worse than doing it without (violent) force.

    You and many other commenters can’t apparently agree with either of these sentiments which I find surprising at a supposedly liberal blog.”

    It’s not a liberal blog.

    I can see your point. It’s a bit like the dust-up that your countrymen had with Uncle Joe and his people back in 1940-41. He just wanted to be sure that the Nazis wouldn’t attack him by coming through Finland and right into St. Petersburg/Leningrad. I mean, that was what he said. Your folks chose not to believe him and look at all the trouble THAT caused. So, yeah, fucking an 11 yo that you think is 14, with or without her enthusiastic participation is perfectly okay.

    Finland has no statutory rape laws? We do. I believe the UK does. That’s the difference. You enforce your laws, we’ll enforce ours. And when some jurist fucks the dog like this idiot did, he will be raked for it.

  • Well, gosh, Sironen, how about a man who pressured or blackmailed a 14-year-old girl into letting him fuck her? Since he didn’t cause any lacerations or bruises, it’s not that bad, right?

    Fuck you and your rape apologetics.

  • Happiestsadist

    Mattisoronen: You seem really invested in making sure that some rape is okay. Maybe you should ask yourself why you’re doing that.

  • @31: democommie

    Your post borders on the incomprehensible and the only thing I got out of it is that since Stalin lied to us in the 40s, we should assume that anyone accused/convincted of anything are lying, also. Again, a rather illiberal view of justice (and I don’t mean illiberal as in the liberal/conservative political spectrum, which I hope to clarify here).

    “Finland has no statutory rape laws? We do. I believe the UK does. That’s the difference. You enforce your laws, we’ll enforce ours. And when some jurist fucks the dog like this idiot did, he will be raked for it.”

    No, we don’t have a crime called a “statutory rape”. Instead we call it what it is: sexual abuse (of a minor). If you want to debate how well your criminal justice system (especially regarding incarceration) compares, I got two words: bring it.

    @32:

    “Well, gosh, Sironen, how about a man who pressured or blackmailed a 14-year-old girl into letting him fuck her? Since he didn’t cause any lacerations or bruises, it’s not that bad, right?”

    Yes! You got it! It would actually be WORSE if he pressured someone even less sexually mature AND caused lacerations and bruises in the process!

    That’s unless you subscribe to the notion that any sex between someone aged strictly above 16 and someone below 15.99999 (repeating) is infinitely bad, regardless of circumstances (such as use of physical force).

    @33 Happiestsadist : “You seem really invested in making sure that some rape is okay. Maybe you should ask yourself why you’re doing that.”

    Thank you for insinuating that I have something to gain for downplaying sexual abuse of minors. I suppose next step is I address the allegation that I raped and murdered a girl in 1994?

    For the record, I’m defending some fairly uncontroversial legal (and moral) positions here:

    1) Knowledge matters. If you kill someone by accident, you’re not as legally (and might I say morally) culpable as a murderer. This, to me and to established global jurisprudence, seems obvious.

    2) There are different degrees of crime. Stealing 1 dollar isn’t the same as stealing 1000000000 dollars. Having sex with a 15.999 year old isn’t as big of a moral failure than with a 5.999 year old. Again, I don’t really even where to start defending this since it seems so obvious (I guess one way would be to appeal to the amount of harm caused).

    3) If someone confesses to a crime, like in this case, you can’t automatically assume they are therefore lying about everything (since they already confessed to breaking the law) else. You do actually have to take their word, at least into consideration, that they thought the girl was 14.

    What we get here is that raping a 11-year old is worse than raping a 14-year old. You can dispute that, but I’m not actually representing some minority/fringe position here. The rationale I presented, along with the judge’s decision is my evidence. You might also claim that “well of course they knew she was 11 instead of 14” but that’s just being insincere. My sister got arrested trafficking hard liquor to minors (she was 15 at the time; legal age to buy hard liquor in Finland is 20).

    And lastly

    4) Use of physical force/violence in order to commit a crime is additionally (legally/morally) condemnable.

    Again, not a controversial position. Disputing this leaves you at a rather untenable consequences, even if we limit the discussion to rape only. If mental persuasion is equal to equal to physical coercion, I guess I am a serial rapist (like some people are quick to suggest). Then again by that standard I’m also a rape victim.

    In closing, I’d like to think I’m actually holding up some fairly uncontroversial and consistent standards. Many commenters and worse yet, Ed Brayton himself, instead are reacting the exact way that the British tabloid paper hoped they would: ginned up moral outrage (or moral panic if that’s a more familiar term).

    And just to cut & paste something I said in order to test if people read anything I write at all before replying:

    “Do they deserve to go to jail for having sex with someone who they did not force and thought was 14-year old? Yes.” – mattisironen, @22

  • All your indignation and rationalization do nothing to discount the fact that you defend adults taking sexual advantage of children and that you obviously do not understand the psychological sequelae of such abuse.

    Have a nice day, asshole.

  • “Your post borders on the incomprehensible and the only thing I got out of it is that since Stalin lied to us in the 40s, we should assume that anyone accused/convincted of anything are lying, also. Again, a rather illiberal view of justice (and I don’t mean illiberal as in the liberal/conservative political spectrum, which I hope to clarify here).”

    Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to put in the part about how the rest of the world thought it was okay because Joe said he was just trying to cover his ass.

    Rape or sexual assault of a minor. Who gives a fuck what it’s called?

    Your original comment seems to lean toward exoneration of a couple of truly heinous assholes. Is that a concise and fairly accurate summation? If not, wtf do you want to have happen to those rapists and the asshole who let them off?

    Comparing Finland, or any other country with similar population demographics to countries that are much more diverse and suggesting that you have a better justice system is semi-laughable. You have, what? a couple of languages that are spoken by more than a few thousand people. You have one or two large cities. You have an almost homogenous ethnicity. One church, the Lutheran, is the church of about 3/4+ of your country’s population. Very different, your country and others. Don’t presume that YOUR experience would be different than outs. You’ve had your civil wars and more recently than ours.

    Leaving all of that nonsense aside. Your position seems to be that these two sexual predators just didn’t do anything THAT wrong. If that is really the way you see it, well, fuck you.