Fixed It: There’s no such thing as “sex with” a 7 year old

Ballarat newspaper The Courier reported that a 32 year old man pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexually abusing a little girl over several years. The abuse started when she was seven years old. 

Children cannot have sex with adults. Sex requires consent and children cannot give consent, so it’s not sex. It’s rape, it’s child abuse, it’s sexual abuse, it’s any number of terms that accurately describe a crime. An act perpetrated on an innocent victim who was unable to defend themselves from the violence done to them, and who suffers  years, possibly decades of trauma caused by an adult’s choice to commit that violence.

That word choice is the key. Sex is a choice made by every person involved. Rape and abuse are a choice made only by the perpetrator. The victim has no choice.

No child has ever chosen to be abused. No child has ever done anything that caused or incited abuse. No child has ever wanted to be abused. No child has ever been in any way responsible for abuses committed against them by adults.

When the media, as it so persistently does, labels rape or sexual abuse of children as “sex”, we are weakening the public understanding of the seriousness and effect of such abuse.

It’s ignorant, inaccurate and irresponsible reporting in any publication, but it is particularly repugnant in Ballarat, which was the centre of so much abuse of children by the clergy.

FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron

1800 RESPECT
Sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support.24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ph: 1800 737 732www.1800respect.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1300 659 467
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
www.kidshelp.com.au

MensLine Australia
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
www.mensline.org.au

Child Wise National Abuse Helpline
Mon-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm
Ph: 1800 99 10 99
www.childwise.org.au