“The girl is predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced, I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution say she looked and behaved a little bit older. On these facts, the girl was predatory and was egging you on.”
A Judge described the child as a girl taking account of her age, which makes obvious the fact that she is a child, the language used to describe her make clear that to these men she is something else. She is a seductress, a temptress; she is sexually experienced and predatory. Any man may succumb to her seduction, unable to overcome his animal instincts and his morals. The Barrister obviously knows nothing and cares little about how a modern 21st century diet effects puberty or how capitalism makes children victims of over-sexualisation at younger and younger ages. She is not his daughter, she is not one of his family or a girl from his social class, she is other, because there are two types of girls.
Prosecutor Robert Colover has been suspended from prosecuting in sex trials after he told the court that the girl forced herself on the 41 years old defendant. The man on trial admitted two counts of making extreme pornographic images and sexual activity with a child. Wilson’s solicitor told the hearing that the defendant might still pose a serious risk to other children. So one can be left in no doubt what so ever that this man knew the girl was underage “she appeared to look around 14 or 15 and had the mental age of a 14 or 15 year old” said Mr Colver when describing the victim.
Victoria Bates today in the Observer writes “Where does this shocking language of “predatory” behaviour come from?” she argues that studying where the use of this language originates and its history will help us to overcome the problem of victim blaming. “For historians of sexual offences, the comments made during this trial might seem disturbingly familiar. Girls at or near the age of puberty have long been deemed a potential sexual danger to men, particularly if physically mature for their age and sexually experienced”
She goes on to say that politicians in the 19th century have long argued for fairness in assessing cases. That’s right, not only have men sought to control the sexuality of women, deeming women to be sexually aggressive if untamed by law, religion, marriage and male ownership, but that children also pose a moral threat to men. It would seem that children, not yet at the age of consent, young girls going through or near to puberty also pose a temptation to men. Children too are preying upon the weakness of the male psyche. But the male psyche is not weak, they screech, it is those bloody women and children, they are so predatory.
I agree with much of what Bates has to say about the history and the use of language but I feel she has left vital elements out of her argument and fails to reach a conclusion of any sort. She leaves class out of her analysis and she fails to draw our attention to the fact that language can deliberately shape discourse and therefore thinking.
Whilst in the 19th century, the young girl was described as “well developed” or “precocious” in the 21st century the words “predatory” are used to describe the victim.
To most of us the words paedophile and predatory have become synonymous. It is highly significant that the barrister in this case chose to use the word “predatory” to describe the victim. A victim that he no doubt felt was not a victim at all. To this man and many like him, men are the victims. Men fall prey not to their own weakness of moral character, a condition usually attributed to the poor but prey to the predation of children or women.
The weakness of moral character must never be applied to a man when it can be applied to a women or a child. The social order must be maintained even when some men clearly lack social and economic power. For conservative rich white men, economic power and the righteousness of their position is explained by their moral superiority, in much the same way as the divine right to rule explains why monarchy enriches itself at our expense. The poor, especially working class women and their progeny are the lowest social class, lacking moral fibre and goodness, they deserve exploitation, for if they don’t they would raise themselves up.
Capitalism required the birth of the modern state and the rule of law to ensure that class relations are perpetuated, so too has it ensured that the causes of poverty are not attributed to labour exploitation and class relations but to some mythological weakness on the part of the poor.
Since the very beginnings of class society we have had predatory sexual exploitation of women. Religion, laws, customs, superstition and war, private property relations and the state have benefited from Eve’s Original Sin.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)
There is no way of knowing what Women’s nature is, for her nature has been shaped, coerced, controlled, distorted and moulded by man’s envy. So envious was man of women’s life giving power that he created a new creation story putting a man at the centre of it…….God. Although its more likely that men controlled the exchange of surplus goods therefore wealth and took more interests in the products of her womb. At this point women become mere chattels to be exchanged, not as used goods but as pure untainted vessels for men’s life giving properties. Women’s sexuality has always been synonymous with sin, since man made god in his own image and insisted that Eve was a very bad women indeed, so bad was she that she is responsible for all the sins of all men.
Plato spent many years trying to make philosophical arguments that supported the idea that slaves, women and children were not fully human. Edmund Burke the granddaddy of conservative thinking sought to justify poverty as the sinfulness, idleness and dereliction of duty of those who laboured and went hungry. Those that benefit from class society, benefit from the exploitation of working class women and the creation of a dual conception of women’s nature.
It seems that the predatory economic exploitation and punishment of the “immoral masses” has always found its explanation in the argument that the workers should whipped for their own good, for they must learn to be moral. Women and children must be controlled and their sexuality whilst feared must be denied unless of course it is set loose to corrupt men.
And so it is inconceivable to adult men that young women might have sexual feelings or even any experience outside of their obligation to make themselves available to adult males. It is inconceivable to men that women have any sexual identity not imprinted by misogynistic porn tropes, or rape fantasy, and totally inconceivable that women and young girls have the right not to be exploited.