For reasons which need not concern us here, we were this morning browsing the Victorian Police crime statistics for the last year on offer, 2012-13.
We came across this staggeringly depressing statistic:
Incidence of rape against minors
This year 542 +0.71%
Last year 538
Incidence of rape against adults
This year 1,106 +1.5
Last year 1,090
You might imagine, Dear Reader, that we are about to fulminate against the growth in the incidence of rape in both cases, in a sort of Colonel Mustard-like “Disgusted of Tonbridge Wells” manner.
But although we deplore the fact that the figures are rising rather than falling, we suspect the slight rise recorded is due to natural population growth.
Yes, we would have hoped that we would be seeing a steady decline in these stats, given that we are all supposed to be becoming more “aware” of the disgusting nature of sexual violence. But it appears it is a very slow process.
Something for those with the purse strings of Government advertising budgets to consider, perhaps.
We should see all domestic violence and rape and sexual assault as part of the same patriarchal continuum, and until men take it seriously, it will continue.
But what really horrifies is the raw number of more than 500 rapes against children in a year. Coming up for one-third of all rapes.
500? Five HUNDRED?
How many of these are against sexually active teenagers isn’t the point.
Rape is rape, it is never justified, and no excuses or attempted slut-shaming of the victims is ever acceptable. And although they were all against people who are legally children, ie under 18, and so there will be some mid-teens in there, it’s a pound to a penny that many of these crimes were against what you and I would recognise as children. Kids. Little tackers.
And this is the REPORTED cases. Ye Gods, the mind boggles. Unreported cases would run into the thousands.
Given the high profile given to many of these types of cases in the UK in particular, and in the various enquiries into child abuse in Australia, especially involving religious and community organisations, not to mention the recent brouhaha in the UK press about whether or not there was a high-level pedophile ring operating at the top of British Government (involving, allegedly, those close to at least two Prime Ministers, and perhaps even one (now deceased) Prime Minister), we simply suck in our breath in disgust and horror that this most avoidable and heinous of crimes, which leaves lives shattered sometimes beyond repair, is so persistent and pernicious despite the obvious fact that for the offenders the advice is utterly simple and unavoidable: don’t.
Just don’t. Do something else for your kicks, don’t do that. They are KIDS, for fuck’s sake.
To steal the innocence from a child, to betray their trust, to warp and bend that child’s value system until it is unrecognisable, to sometimes terrify the child into silence: these are crimes which demand the most urgent enquiry and vigilance, and an unrelenting determination to root out the offenders. Not one adult offender in this area can possibly imagine, for one moment, that their activities are anything more nor less than utterly destructive and illegal.
We must be unyielding in our attempts to cure this plague. Period. Full stop. That’s it. End of.
(Post scriptum: this article obviously talks about Victoria, Australia. I would be very happy to publish statistics from elsewhere if you can look them up. I urge you to find out how prevalent this crime is in YOUR community. And if you know of a community where it is LESS prevalent, perhaps we can all learn why.)