Jul 162008
 

A 40-year-old woman has been convicted in the Circuit Court on two counts of incest and two of sexual abuse against her son.

Why do I mention this?  Ah come on.  How often do you hear of women being convicted for sexual abuse? 

Does this mean women don’t commit sexual abuse?  No, of course it doesn’t, but sexual abuse by women is far less likely to be reported, and accusations are far less likely to be believed .  In just the same way, men are far less likely to complain of domestic violence, for all sorts of reasons, including shame and embarrassment.  Even if they do complain, the police are less likely to take them seriously.

I was listening to a radio interview last week with a journalist who wrote a book called something like “Irish Wife-Murderers”, and I thought to myself, what about  women killing their husbands?

Certainly, these cases aren’t nearly as common, but they do happen, and when women kill their partners, their defence is often attended by the most outrageous claims that a male accused wouldn’t get away with for a second. 

The defence team always seems to attack on the dead man’s character in an effort to persuade the court that he deserved to die.

Can you imagine the reaction if some man accused of killing his wife made such a claim?  Yes, I killed her but I had to.  She was violent and abusive.  I had to choke her.  I had no choice.

Why am I saying this?  Am I trying to achieve some parity of disrespect between men and women?  No.

I’m saying that society tends to make assumptions that aren’t necessarily true.  I’m saying that men don’t hold the monopoly on violence and abusive behaviour.  I think there may be other reasons why more women aren’t charged with domestic violence or sexual abuse, and those reasons may be to do with society’s reluctance to acknowledge the existence of such offences.

I wonder if someone will try to argue that this woman was forced by a male-dominated society into sexually abusing her children?  Perhaps this woman is really the victim and it’s my fault she did what she did.

  34 Responses to “Woman Convicted of Sexually Abusing Son”

Comments (34)
  1.  

    I agree with you, I read a book a few years back titled lady killers, it contained some of the most vicious women I have ever read about.

  2.  

    Don’t think I’ve heard of a case yet of a woman raping a man. just sayin.

  3.  

    I’d like to comment on this topic, but the wife said that I’m in for a doing if I don’t finish the ironing first.

  4.  

    How about Myra Hindley?

  5.  

    What’s your point, Bock? Poor men? Poor sexually abused, murdered by their wives men?

    You think women aren’t shamed and embarrassed by domestic violence? You think all sexual assaults and rapes committed by men are reported?

    Are you trying to imply that there is anything remotely resembling parity between the number of acts of violence committed by men against women and the amount that go in the other direction?

    I wonder if someone will try to argue that this woman was forced by a male-dominated society into sexually abusing her children? Perhaps this woman is really the victim and it’s my fault she did what she did.

    Jesus. Poor fucking men. Poor fucking you.

  6.  

    The reason that so many more men commit sexual assualts and account for 97% of all violent crime is that society tells them that they can. They have a socially ordained right in every country to do as they please with women and children.
    No country tells women that they’re superior or that they own their loved ones.

  7.  

    Gimme: What’s going on here? Have I inadvertently expressed something that’s listed in your book of forbidden opinions?

    You’d have done better to deal with the points I made, instead of making it so personal. What exactly do you mean by poor fucking you?

    Do you have anything to contribute to this post, or did you just want to throw a bit of non-specific cursing in my direction?

    Medbh: Is that 97% of all reported violent crime in Ireland, or 97% of all violent crime everywhere in the world? I’d be interested to know where that statistic came from.

    I’d also be interested to know your views on this particular case of sexual abuse and on the under-reporting of domestic violence directed against men.

  8.  

    You pissed me off is what’s going on. And so, yes, I wanted to throw a bit of non-specific cursing in your direction. Can’t a guy hurl the odd obscenity about when railed?

    This post contains no opinions for me to look up in my little book, just the wildly inaccurate implication that there can be any reasonable comparison made between violence against women by men and violence against men by women. I believe this to be unhelpful, backward thinking.

    ‘Poor fucking you’ is a direct response to ‘it’s my fault she did what she did‘ That, you see, is why I quoted it directly beforehand.

  9.  

    Gimme: Well, as a bloke who doesn’t commit any crimes against women or children and treats them with respect I GET REALLY FUCKED OFF with being tarred with the same brush as the scumbags that do. The point here is that it happens on both sides of the gender fence and the fact that I am a decent human being shouldn’t see my moral position undermined by the statistics of my gender. I can say poor me, because I don’t do those kind of things, but can be cast in a poor light because I am a man. How about I get cast in a bad light because of being from an ethnic group that happens to have a statistically significant group of criminals, how does that sound to your sense of equality? It’s the same transfer of prjudice.

  10.  

    Now this is what I call ‘an uncomfortable subject’!

    But really we shouldn’t be too surprised. I would define abuse as: beatings, humiliations, sexual abuse of all kinds, degradation, personal denigration, family denigration, public humiliation, being subjected to fearful situations.

    Bock’s post here mentions a single incident concerning the sexual abuse of a child. The fact that it’s a woman committing the sexual violence is what makes this case stand out. But that’s our society as it is. There are very few cases like this that ever get to see the light of day.

    Generally domestic abuse is under-reported; It was the case in the not too distant past where it was not reported at all! Incidents of domestic abuse are only going to be reported if there is a support structure in place for whoever is reporting the abuse. And the fact is there is very little support out there for male victims – or none at all.

    So violence against males by females, by that fact, seldom happens!

    A blind study from the U.S. Department of Justice shows 1.5 million women and 850,000 men are battered each year.

    http://tinyurl.com/2yeed3

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Men’s activists hold a public forum to discuss the possibility of giving male victims of domestic violence some of the social services that are currently only available to female victims.

    http://tinyurl.com/6dve8a

  11.  

    Gimme: I’ll start with your last point, where you took the quote out of context.

    What I wondered was whether somebody would suggest it was men’s fault that this woman abused her children. That’s not poor me. That’s a straightforward, and plausible, speculation. There are people who will suggest such things.

    Second, I don’t know why you think there’s some sort of competition here between the sexes. This post is about throwing light on an ignored reality, which is hardly a bad thing I would have thought.

    There’s no implication of equivalence between male and female violence. I’m using the news story to highlight a completely different point,and if you weren’t so steamed up you might have spotted it. That point is about the unfair way the State treats men in some circumstances.

    For example, the perceptions that men are all potential abusers has an effect on the majority of perfectly innocent and well-intentioned men when it comes to the courts’ deciding custody of children, or even access to them.

    Likewise, it is true that many more men than reported are victims of domestic abuse. Saying so doesn’t in some way demean women as you seem to think. It just acknowledges a hidden reality.

    I don’t know why saying these things would make you angry unless you feel such thoughts should be forbidden.

  12.  

    I had a boyfriend. After a year and a half of dating, I decided to finish it. The result was that I was hospitalised and absent from work for a fortnight due to the severity of the beating I received. He was an amatuer boxer by the way. I took him to court. He got three months suspended sentence for acting “out of character”. I don’t hate all men because of what happened. I am in a great relationship now. The fact is both men and women can be evil. Equally, both can be victims. But men are generally bigger and stronger than women, if you weight it up, it’s fairly clear where most of the violence lies. That doesn’t excuse what this woman did, which is on separate level really I think. However, on the whole scale of things its a pretty isolated incident when you add up the number of men caught abusing their daughters etc, which is more often the case, isn’t it. At any rate, if she’s guilty she’s guilty and no excuses should be made for her.

  13.  

    Gilly: The point I’m trying to make here isn’t about the relative numbers of people engaged in abusive behaviour. I’m thinking of the men lost beneath the statistics whose plight can be ignored.

    Just on a general point, and not directed at you, Gilly, but I sometimes get the feeling that it’s not permissible to talk about men experiencing violence or other abuse.

  14.  

    Ok.
    Firstly, this case has a bit to run. As I recall the woman pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including sexual abuse/incest with two of her sons. There is a serious amount of psych assessment before the case comes back before the court for judgement.

    Secondly, I suspect this may be the same case as one reported locally involving sexual abuse perpetrated by both parents on multiple children. In other words, if it is the same case, the prosecution of the father has yet to come to court. It may be a matter of time or perhaps he is pleading not guilty.

    It is fruitless to generalise from specific cases, since each case is unique. However, we can draw certain conclusions from the commonalities of sexual crime, even allowing for non-reporting by both genders of crimes committed against them.

    We can conclude that parity of abuse between the genders is not a reality. Men are mostly responsible for it. But that does not mean, for instance, that domestic violence never occurs in lesbian households, it does. Or that men are not sometimes subject to violence or coercion from their female partners.

    The only thing we need to do is to ensure that legally and institutionally we admit to the possibility of women being perpetrators and not assume that they had justification, any more than we would admit a similar claim by a man.

  15.  

    The only thing we need to do is to ensure that legally and institutionally we admit to the possibility of women being perpetrators and not assume that they had justification, any more than we would admit a similar claim by a man.

    I totally agree.

    You’re being obtuse, Bock.

    This is a deliberately incendiary post which manages to make the abuse of a child about the dubious concept of the downtrodden status of men in our justice system, and eventually, about you.

    If someone were to say it were you’re fault then this would be patently untrue. Why does it even bear mentioning?

    I don’t forbid anything Bock. I understand your point, I just think you that it’s a weak one and that you picked a very poor way in which to make it.

  16.  

    Bock, there are a lot of women out there too who are too afraid of their partners to report the abuse. And clearly there are men who would be too ashamed to admit abuse from a partner. I actually felt at one point that people would look at me and think that I was to blame in some way. Can you imagine that?? Whether or not you mean it, it appears to me that your paragraph is implying that basically “women get away with murder”, because they are the weaker sex and receive more pity. Not the case. There is no denying that there is a level of abusive women towards their male partners, but you appear to have jumped on this particular case – whether it’s because such a story is so rare, I don’t know. She has been convicted hasn’t she?So your point is about the rarity of such convictions. The law isn’t always on the woman’s side. It certainly wasn’t in my case. Every single case is different, and I don’t believe that its a general reluctance to acknowledge that it happens to men. But its more common for the man to be the abuser. You were taking a chance putting up a subject like this so bear the brunt of it now! Cheers

  17.  

    I write about abuse with a quiet rage. This quiet rage was taught to me by a religious order. This religious order contained many violent psychopaths. This religious order was female.

    Society’s perceptions of female on male violence is not going to change until mens attitudes change. I attended a demo too on male on female violence. One of the horrible cases highlighted concerned a woman, brutally killed in her own home. Nobody has been charged with this murder as yet but it was put about that a certain man did it.

    At the same time as this demo a story was running in the media about two women who after killing a man they spent hours laboriously dismembering his body.

    This shouldn’t be a matter of division amongst reasonable people. The fact is that men DO suffer domestic abuse, some of it violent in this country.

  18.  

    Isn’t it strange how people only see what they want to see in a post? Conan echoes much of what I said, and Gimme agrees with him totally, yet he thinks I’m being obtuse.

    For clarity: I’m not generalising from this case. I’m taking it as a starting point to reflect on the way men are sometimes treated.

    Secondly, I was careful to say as follows : Am I trying to achieve some parity of disrespect between men and women? No.

    Despite this, people have imagined reading something that isn’t there, and criticise me for it.

    I did not say that women commit as much violent crime as men. I didn’t get into the figures at all, in fact, because I was hoping to keep it on a qualitative, human level, but that doesn’t stop people quoting numbers anyway. I’d say 93.8% of people quote statistics.

    Regarding murder, what I actually said was that these cases involving women aren’t nearly as common.

    I think this particular conviction is a useful starting point to draw lessons from and to reflect. If Gimme thinks I picked a very poor way to express my very weak point, well, I’ll have to draw a lesson from that as well: I’ll just have to improve my standard of writing, and try harder next time.

  19.  

    Who cares who did it? What are we doing for the child? Surely at the end of the day that’s the important thing?

    I agree that women are responsible for a lot more than the media cover. Some of the most horrendous and historic cases of child abuse (Shy Keenan and Dave Pelzer come to mind) were either committed by women or resulted as a matter of neglect on behalf of a woman. But again, who cares? It’s the kids that matter.

    Of a matter of interest, many children who were sexually abused have a tendency to blame their mothers regardless of how responsible or not they were. It’s a common tendency and can affect family relationships for years to come, so it may not be public attention, but women are definitely deeply affected and implicated in the tragic process.

  20.  

    Well said Deborah.

    In so many cases, the mother is too afraid of their partner to report abuse by the partner to the child. Bock, you are a man – it would be impossible for you, or indeed for any man who hasn’t had first hand experience of this kind of thing, to even begin to understand what it is like to fear a violent man. If I’m wrong, I’ll apologise now. I feel you’ve dramatised this whole topic without full knowledge of such things. Until you have, take it easy on the strength of your comments perhaps because now you sound like your backtracking. I’m not having a pop at you, but its a sensitive and complex topic and not one to be making smart comments about. Andrews comments on the female religious order – again, his experiences are different, to mine, to others. There are a lot of victims out there, and a lot of pain. Anyway, that’s my lot on the subject. It will all come out in the wash.

  21.  

    Gilly: I’m not backtracking. Why would I do that?

    Maybe you think I’m backtracking because people have put their own interpretation on my words and interpolated statements that were never there in the first place.

    I’ve deliberately worded this post very carefully, but sometimes people will scan a piece and jump to conclusions instead of analysing exactly what is being said. I’d prefer if you’d criticise my words and not someone else’s version of them

    Please read what I wrote, not what people say I wrote.

  22.  

    Ha ha, Bock you old dog. I told you you were opening a can of worms last night in the pub. I got into similar trouble for my post on rape a while back.

    I see Medbh immediately reaches for some (dodgy) statistics: 97% of all violent crimes committed by men (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics suggests 10% of violent offenders are women). But I thought we were talking about victims.

    And according to the U.S. Dept of Justice, FBI and Unified Crime Reports, men are three times as likely as women to be the victims of violent crime/homicide.

    But it seems to me the feeling amongst some people is ‘well it’s just men killing men.’

    When we learn that blacks are six times as likely as whites to be murdered, do we say ‘Well it’s just black killing blacks.’

    As they say on the ads: ‘Remember it’s always a crime to hit a woman.’ Which of course suggests an interesting corollary–it’s ok to hit a man.

    ::

  23.  

    If you follow the my link above it leads to a wikipedia article which references several other studies.

    Here is an interesting excerpt from one of them A sample of 11,370 young adults aged 18-28, who were drawn from the 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, responded to a modified version of the CTS. Results indicate that almost 24% of all relationships had some physical violence and that half the violence was reciprocal. In non-reciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators 70% of the time. While overall, women were somewhat more likely to be injured than men, the authors report that, “in fact, men in relationships with reciprocal violence were reportedly injured more often than were women in relationships with nonreciprocal violence .

    Everybody loves stats!

  24.  

    Just for the record, in my relationship I’m the one who gets hit. Not in a sustained assault kind of way, but she loses her temper and lashes out in a way that I don’t do with her.

    Just as well she’s smaller and weaker than me or there’d be trouble….

  25.  

    The statistic that men are responsible for 97% of violent crime comes from Neil Boyd’s book “The Beast Within.” He says the figure is global. He’s a Canadian criminologist who has spent his life studying violence. Violent women are an aberration in society while men’s violent behavior is completely normalized. Across culture, men are characterized as predators and women as victims and that dynamic plays out everyday. I can’t read this post as anything other than an attempt to claim that men are equally victimized by women when that’s just not the case. We live in patriarchy for fuck’s sake.

  26.  

    I can’t read this post as anything other than an attempt to claim that men are equally victimized by women when that’s just not the case.

    Medbh, he says this in the original post.

    Am I trying to achieve some parity of disrespect between men and women? No.

  27.  

    I read your post how I saw it Bock and how your style of writing came across to me. Nothing more, nothing less. And I can’t speak for other peoples comments, nor did they influence my response to your post, which had a one-sided feel to it. Anyway, its a subject that could be talked about forever more, and every opinion will differ. I have my opinion, and will leave it at that.

  28.  

    Well, Gilly, I can’t help it if you don’t believe me.

  29.  

    How about all the spineless women that know there is abuse being commited against the children in their own homes! is that not sexual abuse? you dont have to be an abuser to be part of the abuse.Knowing about it and doing Fuck all about it is sometimes worse abuse itself. I didn’t know that my husabnd has kidnapped our daughter and impregnated her six time in the basement and that there was an entire family living down.Whatever! Everyone is to busy defending the sexes .

  30.  

    97% of all violence? The Beast Within is subtitled “Why men are violent”. If Boyd starts out from that premise, I’d hardly expect him to say anything less. I look forward to his next book, “Why Men Are Complete Bastards”

    Here’s something I want to point out to you.

    I’m a man and I’m not violent.
    None of my male friends are violent.
    My son is not violent.
    None of his male cousins are violent.
    None of his friends are violent.

    Maybe Neil should have titled his book “Why some men are violent”. That might have been more evenhanded, what do you reckon?

    And they’re accusing me of silly generalisations?

  31.  

    Gilly – I’m terribly sorry for what happened to you. It sounds like it made you into a stronger person though, and if that’s the case then you got something positive from it.

    Bock – I read your post twice. People are smoking crack. Everyone has a capacity for violence because it is human nature. People don’t want to see the capacity for violence in women because we are all raised to believe that women are all maternal and caring, when in reality a woman can be a devious sociopath just like a man. Because women lack physical strength, their crimes tend to be more subtle, and thus manifest themselves as things like poison, abuse, drownings, sexual abuse, suffocation, etc. Very rare to see beatings and gun crimes for women – those are more male oriented crimes because they require more physical strength.

    Interesting to see folks having such an emotional reaction to this issue. This is rather, as I think you know, a bit of a hobby of mine, all the crime stuff……

    I’ll tell you something else. I punched my ex husband once, in the stomach when he told me about the girl he slept with when I was getting my wedding dress fitted (not a fine moment, I’ll admit). Not only did I not hurt him (and hurt myself), he laughed at me. So…..accomplished nothing, proving my lifelong point that violence accomplishes not one single…fat…fucking…thing.

    And you know, I have to ask:

    If any of you saw an altercation between a couple in your local grocery, or pub, or on the side of the road, or grocery, would you step in? If you saw a parent punch their child in the face, would you step in?

    Because if your answer isn’t yes, I think all of our armchair moralizing is a wee bit silly.

    Two cents deposited, now running back to own blog to pontificate about nothing.

  32.  

    Well said Eliza. That’s what’s been killing me about all these Madeleine McCann sightings. Oh it was definitely her…. but what the hell is wrong with these people? If you saw a little girl who you thought was in the hands of a bunch of paedophiles or kidnappers wouldn’t you sure as shit run over there and grab her and wait for the police to arrive? I know I would. Even if it put me at risk or I was mistaken, it would be better than never knowing.

  33.  

    Deborah –

    Thank you. I agree with you in re Madeline.

    The bf and I were on holiday this past weekend. We both spotted at the same time a man with his son, and we both reacted to his body posture, although in different ways. I read “dad is very mad, and about to smack his son”. We discussed it, and he felt that it would not be his business to intercede, even if the father punched the child, because it was a parental right to discipline a child as he saw fit. His rationale was that he had been punched as a child by his father and saw nothing wrong with it. I remain appalled. Perhaps I’m a nosy parker, but I didn’t grow up being BEATEN, and I think if I’d see that man punch his kid (who was about four) I know I would have a) taken a picture and b) confronted the man and c) phoned the police.

    I mean, really, what reason does an adult have to punch a kid? Do you really mean to tell me that a grown man can’t make a four year old do what the grown man wants?

  34.  

    still intrigued by this.

    In Ireland the statistics for the year 2000 were 84% women complaints to 16% male complaints of domestic abuse.

    http://www.ndpgenderequality.ie/statdata/2002/topic/Topic/Disadvantaged_Groups/domestic%20violence%20complainants.htm

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