The comedy of our justice system

Content note: this post discusses a disturbing case in which child sexual abuse has been repeatedly minimised by our courts.  The links post to material which may trigger distress, please be careful.

The Comedian who admitted he sexually assaulted his daughter is due back in court, after the Crown appealed Judge Cunningham’s original sentence from nearly a year ago.  This case caused an uproar, as New Zealanders were outraged that a Judge could essentially say child sexual abuse wasn’t that big a deal because the person abusing was funny.

The Comedian will be in back at Auckland District Court at 10am, Friday 27 July.  Judge Mark Perkins will be sitting, and he has already said:

…he must decide how much the man’s daughter has been affected by the offending. “There is an argument that the [psychological] effect on the child of the offending is a result not of the offending itself but the actual breakup of the family.”

Right.  So it’s not the child abuse that’s the problem, it’s the fact a woman decided not to remain in a relationship with a man who sexually abused their child.  Because if she’d chosen to stay, that would have been fine with everyone, right?

And then there is the report from the child psychologist, who says this wee four year old girl feels responsible for the incident, and has twice been referred to Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP for specialist counselling.

The psychologist noted she had developed “a strong sense of doubt about her own self worth”. She was also pulling her hair – a “behavioural disturbance” associated with stress.

I wish I could be in Auckland for this sentencing.  If any feminist action is planned, please let us know and we’ll post details here.  That court date again: Auckland District Court, Friday 27 July, 10am.

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