The 13-year-old ‘sexual predator’
This is the point we have arrived at: a 13 year old child is sexually assaulted by an adult male and the judge and prosecutor both hold the child responsible for being sexually assaulted. According to Court News UK, the judge labelled the child a “sexual predator” who “egged on” her abuser. Neil Wilson, who is 41 years old, pled guilty and received a suspended sentence despite sexually assaulting a child and being found in possession of extreme pornographic images depicting both child sexual abuse and bestiality.
A 41 year old man gets a suspended sentence for assaulting a child and she gets labelled a sexual predator.
Anyone who doubts there is a war on women in our culture is suffering from a terminal case of cognitive dissonance.
Yesterday, a man walked free from Snaresbrook Crown Court despite pleading guilty to ‘sexual activity with a child’ after the prosecutor Robert Colover and judge Nigel Peters described the thirteen year-old victim as a “sexual predator”.
I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I could have been that 13 year old girl who the judge and prosecutor descrbed as ‘predatory’. Now, I work with other women who have survived similar experiences. I have seen first hand how this kind of victim blaming prevents women from coming forward and protects men who commit these crimes.
It’s unacceptable that the Crown Prosecutor – the person who this young girl was relying on to help get her justice – used this kind of language in court. It’s a sad fact that this kind of attitude is commonplace within society and the legal establishment. We need to make a stand and send a clear message: It’s never the child’s fault.
I’m calling on the Crown Prosecution Service to look at the language used by Robert Colover and meet urgently with our organisation and other groups working with victims of rape and sexual assault to ensure this never happens again.
Please sign and share this petition. We need to stand up and protect our children from the violent sexual predators who abuse them and the men support sexual predators by minimising personal responsibility.
If you think a 13 year old child is somehow responsible for their sexual abuse, then you are as guilty as the men who perpetrated the violence. You help support a rape culture which dehumanises women and children. You help make it easier for children and women to be sexually abused.
This case doesn’t just demonstrate the guilt of Neil Wilson. It demonstrates the complicity of the Crown Prosecution Services and the judge in the continuing sexual abuse of the child.
POSTSCRIPT: Since I wrote this piece, the Attorney General has agreed to review this case for an unduly lenient sentence. The CPS has also announced that they will not be using this particular prosecuting attorney for any cases involving sexual violence pending a review. There also appears to be a judicial review of the actions of the judge as well.
The feminist activism of Everyday Victim Blaming project is directly responsible for this outcome. They lobbied for the national press to notice this miscarriage of justice. They started the petition at change.org and it was supporters of EVB who complained to the Attorney General and CPS. This is a victory for feminism, not that you would notice in the mainstream press who are busy congratulating themselves and David Cameron for doing absolutely nothing.
Louise Pennington is a feminist activist, historian and writer with a background in education. Her personal blog My Elegant Gathering of White Snows is part of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network.