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Blaming Children for Abuse

This week has seen two reports of children being blamed for the abuse they received. First, in this case, a barrister accused a 13 year old girl of being “predatory” and “sexually experienced.” The man that she was apparently predatory with was 41 years of age. 

In the second case we have Eddy Shah claiming that underage girls can be “to blame” for the abuse they experience. He makes a distinction between young girls who go out to have a good time and ‘throw themselves’ at celebrities and those who go out and ‘actually get ‘raped’ raped’. So is he suggesting that there are two forms of rape? One where girls get ”actually ‘raped’ raped” and another form of rape that they consent to, ask for, or can be blamed for??

How corrupt have we become as a society when men can say that children, aged 13, 14 etc are to blame for the abuse or the rape they receive? There is a law to protect children and it should be adhered to by all adults. Adults are supposedly the ones with the common sense and the responsibility to protect children. Even if as Mr Shah suggests, a child was to ‘throw herself’ at him or a celebrity, as the adults, who know the law, it is their responsibility to not break the law and to not take advantage of the child. Children do not have the maturity to be fully aware of the implications of their behaviour or the drivers behind their behaviour and hence why they are called children – it is the role of the adult to guide them, protect them, nurture them, care for them, set an example for them and direct them onto the right track should they veer off it.

It is highly irresponsible to suggest that because a child ‘throws herself’ at an older man, that it is then ok for that man to proceed to have sex with the child. A child who ‘throws herself’ at a man is most likely starved of true love, affection and tenderness and is looking for it in all the wrong places and does not have the awareness to realise this. The adult needs to be just that – an adult and recognise that it is not ok to abuse, rape, molest or have sex with a child whether he thinks she was ‘asking for it’ or ‘consented’ to it or not. It is ludicrous. It is against the law. A child by definition is not mature enough to ‘consent’ to sex. 

Making such accusations, is just a way of men avoiding their responsibility as adults. All they have to do is say No. It is very simple.  But instead, they think they can get away with it by blaming the child for being ‘predatory’, ‘throwing themselves’ at them, ‘consenting’ or some other version of that story. Next thing, they’ll be saying ‘I didn’t want to but she made me do it!’ 

Equally of course it is important that women/girls do not cry rape or abuse when it didn’t actually happen and at all times there is a responsibility for all parties to be honest and truthful regarding the facts of the case and not falsely embellish, diminish or deny them. Claiming rape or abuse when it hasn’t happened just makes it harder for those who have been abused to be heard and believed as people can then begin to question the validity of those with genuine claims.

Falsely making accusations of abuse is itself an act of abuse. People who make such claims are clearly deeply traumatised that they are prepared to go to such lengths to get some form of attention irrespective of the damage it brings to others. They too are often starved of love and affection and use whatever means they can to get some form of attention.  

Rape is rape and it is a crime. Sexual abuse of any kind leads to all sorts of untold damage to those who experience it.  It is beholden on us all as a society to ensure children are loved, cared for, nurtured and protected.  We need to speak up and call out abuse of any kind when it occurs. Perhaps in that way, men might just think twice before touching, molesting, abusing, raping or even having what they call  ‘consensual sex’ with a child. 

A man who truly respects and loves himself would never dream of interfering with a child in a sexual way. Likewise, a woman who truly respects and loves herself would never make false accusations against a man regarding sexual abuse. The ability to abuse another in any way arises from the lack of love within oneself, as a consequence of not having been met, seen and held in that love since childhood. Eradicating abuse is not going to happen overnight, but it is beholden on us all to live our lives responsibly and lovingly and to call out that which is not. The more we are able to live love and express it in all our ways of living and relating, then others may by reflection, get to know they are that too and choose it for themselves and be it with their children. 

How do you feel about the comments made by the barrister and the Mr Shah? 

Do you agree or disagree? 

Feel free to comment 

9 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane Keep
    11th August 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Well said Eunice, children whatever age put their trust into adults, adults need to take absolute responsibility for their choices. These two pieces in the news this week are horrifying – they could open the gates for many abuse cases where a child is blamed – how deep does the rot need to go in our so called modern society? this is absolutely not acceptable. I agree whole heartedly with what you express here.

  • Reply
    Visitor
    11th August 2013 at 10:43 pm

    This is a beautiful calling out of irresponsibility. There is a kind of insanity that casts the child as the predator, the adult as the hapless victim. The fact that this attitude prevails in the legal profession ( the party responsible for the preservation and upholding of at least a basic level of human decency) is incredibly disturbing.
    Thanks for calling out the opposite too…to blame someone of rape when that has not occurred poisons and nullifies the meaning of the word and is a deep abuse of the one accused.

  • Reply
    Rachel Mascord
    11th August 2013 at 10:44 pm

    This is a beautiful calling out of irresponsibility. There is a kind of insanity that casts the child as the predator, the adult as the hapless victim. The fact that this attitude prevails in the legal profession ( the party responsible for the preservation and upholding of at least a basic level of human decency) is incredibly disturbing.
    Thanks for calling out the opposite too…to blame someone of rape when that has not occurred poisons and nullifies the meaning of the word and is a deep abuse of the one accused.

  • Reply
    Visitor
    11th August 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Agreed Eunice. It’s a slippery slope if we legally allow adults to shift blame to children. Girls and women who make false accusations against men also do a disservice to all women, iincluding themselves, not only the men they accuse. What a love humgry world we live in where these situations occur. For that we all need to take responsibility, as you so beautifully describe. The theme is skilfully explored in a TV series called The Slap (also a novel).

  • Reply
    Lucy Dahill
    11th August 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Great balanced article Eunice. I found the comments by both the barrister and Mr Shah hard to read. An adult knows full well the difference between an adult and a child, and no matter how a young person dresses, what attention she is looking for, it is for the adult to stop, question and say no if there is any doubt about the age of the child.

    I totally agree with your comments “A child who ‘throws herself’ at a man is most likely starved of true love, affection and tenderness and is looking for it in all the wrong places and does not have the awareness to realise this.”

    I have seen this time and time again however….

    “A man who truly respects and loves himself would never dream of interfering with a child in a sexual way.” Time for us to own what we want to see and what is actually there.

  • Reply
    Visitor
    12th August 2013 at 1:06 am

    Forcing someone to have sex at any age is a disgusting and a horrible crime.
    I do know in Australia there is a legal age for sex, it is referred as ‘the age at which a person is considered to be legally “competent” to “consent” to sexual acts’. This age in Australia is 16 and that is still only for Consented sexual acts.
    Rape is Rape Mr Shah ……
    How can you not really feel what you are saying. That a Child has no say in how their body is treated ? How can you say to a young girl/ boy “you did provoke that adult to rape you” …
    Are we not here as adults to protect and set responsible examples for the younger generation that are coming through ?
    What standards are we setting by saying its ok to rape or sexually abuse a love starved young child. This child is in a world of pain as a result of the lack of love they have received from their family home ? ? ? ?
    Love, care, responsibility and integrity is how these beautiful young children should be supported and nourished for they will be looking after us in later years ……

  • Reply
    Bernadette Glass
    12th August 2013 at 2:11 am

    What is equally, if not more scary, is how people who are in the positions to make such outrageous statements that then influence the judicial system, get there in the first place!

    This system is one of, if not the most, unexamined systems in our society and we can be ‘held to ransom’ by it at all levels, starting from how we are treated as children when we do something that others deem as ‘wrong’ and we are treated unfairly. True expression and discussion to unify around what is true justice is avoided and one person can seal another’s fate by the words they utter.

    There is a call here for an examination from the heart, not from the point on a wayward moral compass that has allowed a the judicial system to become infected with an energy damaging to individuals and therefore to all of society.

    There appears to be such a huge gap between the law and true justice…

  • Reply
    Golnaz
    12th August 2013 at 10:01 am

    Regardless of how society has encouraged us to be and how hurt we are, we ALL have the inner knowing within us of what is loving toward ourself or toward another and what is not loving. No one ever loses this inner knowing – although we may reduce our sensitivity to it and our trust of it.

    There is a big need for us all to become more vocal in this area. It is vital to show up those who abuse their authority such as these men justifying child-rape, and those who unjustly smear others such as the women making false rape claims, as being accountable to harming others and perpetuating a world of lovelessness. As well as reminding all of another way, the way that is the same as their inner knowing – living in a truly loving way.

    The Blaming Children for Abuse article does this beautifully. Thank you Eunice.

  • Reply
    Beverley Brown
    12th August 2013 at 6:54 am

    I am quite amazed that these two seemingly inteligent people, The Barrister and Mr.Shah, could actually make those statements. As you expose Eunice, there is nothing that is ok about a man having sex with an underage girl, no matter what the circumstances are. The comments from these men are another pointer towards the disempowerment and denigration of women, especially young girls who, if they are “asking for it” should be met with love and understanding of the deep hurt that they are clearly feeling inside and not the abuse fueled by flattery of the attention they may be getting from man in question.
    No wonder so many cases of rape go unreported. If a young girl or woman is met with a justice system that gives her the feeling that she probably “asked for it” then where is the support and encouragement for her to speak out?

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