Double Standard: Unfairness In Sentencing For Female Rapists; Where’s The Equality? (OP-ED)


I’m a feminist and I’ve had enough with this double standard!

Last week another female teacher was on trial for having sex with one of her teenage students, and as usual, she got off with a ridiculously light sentence. This isn’t always the case, but it seems to be fairly common, and society seems to be perfectly okay with it.

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Death and Taxes

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The high school teacher, Shelley Dufresne (right), 30, was caught last October along with her coworker, Rachel Respess (left), 24, for having an alleged 9-hour long threesome with their 14-year-old student along with multiple other occasions of one-on-one sex. Dufresne was sentenced on a carnal knowledge charge, which usually holds a maximum ten-year sentence in prison. But the judge instead gave her a lighter sentence after she agreed to plea guilty to her charges.

Her sentence? 90-days in an inpatient mental health facility, surrendering her teaching certificate and three years probation. She must also stay away from her victim and his family. If she completes her probation and inpatient program with no problems she won’t have to register as a sex offender.

Now compare that to the case of Jake Robinson, a high school varsity football coach who had a relationship with a teenage female student. He is facing five felony counts of child seduction and faces six years in prison. He sits in jail because his bail was set at $20,000, which he cannot afford to pay on his teacher’s salary.

When Robinson asked that a public defender be appointed to his case because he only had $600 in his bank account, the judge responded:

I’m not inclined at this point to appoint a public defender to represent you.

Now, as I said before, this double standard doesn’t always exist — many female teachers get years in prison for their crimes and some male teachers get light sentences, but outside of the courtroom the double standard is alive and well. Websites that host these articles are filled with men winking and expressing their wishes that these teachers were around when they were in high school, but when it’s a male teacher he is deemed a “sicko” or a “pedophile,” and rightfully so, but the two rapists are not equal in the public’s eye.

For example, these types of comments can be found on virtually every article about a female teacher-male student relationship, this conversation was in regard to the Dufresne/Respress case (GRAPHIC LANGUAGE WARNING):

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In regards to teachers Rachel Respress Shelly Dufrense having sex with her 14-year-old student /Death and Taxes

In regards to the case of Brianne Altice, a teacher from Utah, she is referred to as a “head turner” in news headlines. She is accused of engaging in sexual relationships with three of her underage students and even allegedly continued to have sex with a 17-year-old student while she was out on bail and standing trial for these charges. She is being tried for five counts of first-degree felony rape, two counts of first-degree felony forcible sodomy, three counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse, along with three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and one count of dealing harmful material to a minor. She is also accused of witness tampering.

This is a picture of Altice in court:

This is the nature of most of the comments regarding her case:

usa today salt lake city tribune

 

Now in regards to a male principal who had sex with a 15-year-old female student, who got a very light sentence of just 30 days even though the victim had committed suicide. The people commenting were outraged because the judge referred to the victim as looking “older than her chronological age.”

This was the nature of most of those comments:

huffpoman

 

A HUGE majority of men on these comment forums supports this pedophile behavior from women — so long as she’s hot, but may hell rain fire on a man who rapes an underage female. See the double standard?

Why is it okay to rape boys but not girls?

One of my ex-boyfriends told me he lost his virginity at the age of nine to a 15-year-old girl who basically forced him to have sex with her. I asked him if he went to the police, he said, “No! Why would I go to the police? I’m supposed to be happy about it, right?” Um, no, no one should be “happy” about getting raped, but I see his point. Our society tells boys they should be sexually active and that any kind of sex from a female is a “gift.” Society tells boys that having sex with older women is a crowning achievement and that it’s not abuse or pedophilia, it’s just AWESOME.

But is it actually awesome?

Fellow blogger Olivia A. Cole says in her piece titled “Chris Brown and a Nation of Raped Boys”:

What if we have been normalizing male rape victims’ symptoms for centuries? This is not to say that every man has been the victim of sexual abuse, but I know more than a few who have been, and their cries for help—the ones that get such attention when our “ladylike” daughters act out sexually and/or aggressively—went unnoticed, chalked up to a male standard of behavior that not only turns a blind eye to promiscuity but rewards it. Can you imagine? Can you imagine being sexually abused and then growing up being told that this is a good thing? That your sexual potency has been enhanced? That rape was a “head-start” into the wonderful world of sex? The damaging system that tells girls they are worthless after rape has a disgusting flip side for boys: you have worth now. This violence has made you a god.

And many of these victims don’t express feeling abused, but maybe the effects are different, as Olivia has pointed out. Maybe rapper Chris Brown, who lost his virginity by being raped by a teenage girl at the age of eight set him up for problems with women later on down the road. We all know about the time he abused Rihanna, perhaps this is a symptom of being abused by a woman?

Personally, when I was 17-years-old I had sex with a man who was 11 years my senior. It wasn’t forced or any sort of rape in my mind, it was consensual besides the fact he got me a tiny bit drunk beforehand (even without the beer I probably would have still done it). It didn’t bother me much until I turned 27, and then I realized, “Whoa! That guy was a total creeper!” as I looked at the 17-year-olds around me. So perhaps the ‘ick’ factor takes a while to set in, when as an adult you see how young teens really are.

Women are viewed as sex objects, and not human beings capable of committing crimes.

But even if these young male victims don’t feel abused the fact remains — an authority figure, someone who is supposed to be trusted around young people took advantage of their position for their own self-gratification with an under aged person who can’t legally consent. Adults know better. Adults are capable of finding consensual sex elsewhere, but they chose a person who was weaker than them. They chose a child.

And maybe the fact that society high fives these victims and gives their rapists a free pass for being a hot woman is a symptom of our own sexist culture. Perhaps a female can’t be seen as a rapist because she’s already seen as a sexual object anyway? Maybe a good-looking female isn’t really there for anything more than a male of any age’s sexual gratification and that’s why society is willing to give her a free pass?

Perhaps this is what people mean when they say we are living in a rape culture? Because we allow bad behavior of men to go unchecked because “boys will be boys” and we allow bad behavior from women because “all boys want is sex” so there are no real victims here, unless of course, the victim is a poor, defenseless female.

I have a feeling that if this double standard is allowed to persist then women may never see full equality in the eyes of society.


 

H/T: Olivia A. Cole | Photo: Death and Taxes

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