× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.
Reality of Sexual Victimization Obscured by "Predator" Label
In a recent case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a teenage girl could not sue her father for repeatedly raping and sodomizing her because the traditional doctrine immunizing parents from suit by their children - a doctrine designed to protect the integrity of the family.
Only recently has rape of a spouse been declared criminal. The prosecution of individuals for sexual abuse of their children is a recent development. I know it's much more comfortable for Shapely and others to identify as the problem a tiny group of criminals to relegate monstrosities to monsters. To examine the reality and its causes requires participation in a real solution, which means we look to the pervasive sexism of our culture.
Sexual violation supports male dominance as much as foot-binding and other forms of physical mutilation. In our culture, the restraints are not so obvious, but they are as real.
Every woman in this society is shackled by fear. Every child grows up with an experience of power that offers two choices: be brutal or be brutalized.
The criminal justice system cannot remedy a problem so enormous and so endemic. The courts would collapse under the weight if we prosecuted every perpetrator of a sexual crime.
To suggest, as Shapely does, that locking up sexual predators will make children and women safe distracts our attention from the work that actually needs to be done. We have rather suddenly declared criminal what has been deemed customary. But we haven't changed the customs. If you want an end to sexual abuse, end sexism.
Scape goating "sexual predators" will only shield from scrutiny the far greater numbers of those who commit sex crimes.
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login