Monday, July 23, 2012

Justice versus fairness...

Usually I'm not lacking for an opinion.  In fact, I think I could quite safely say that I'm overly opinionated on most topics, and I'm definitely not backwards in coming forwards when it comes to them.  But occasionally I hear of something that, quite frankly, leaves me torn.

Like this article, about a seventeen year old girl who is at risk of being found in contempt of court for naming the guys who raped her.

According to the article, the girl was outraged and frustrated by the injustice of the deal the boys cut with the court and decided to go against the order from the judge to keep the under aged boys' names secret and tweeted about them.  Now the boys' attorneys are requesting that she be charged with contempt.

And here's where I'm torn.

On one hand, I can totally see how frustrating and infuriating it must be for this girl.  She was attacked, assaulted, and now her attackers are getting a slap on the wrist.  Not only that, but they're being protected by the courts.  It must feel an awful lot like victim blaming to her.

She's decided to take a stand, which I have to admire her for.  She's decided that, regardless of the decision of the court, she's going to name them because it's HER that this thing happened to, and she's decided that that gives her the right to decide whether she can talk about it or not.  That takes some guts.

This girl is serious, she's willing to go to jail if necessary.  You can't help admire anyone who, after going through something so awful, is willing to stand up and say that she'll do what she thinks is necessary.

But on the other hand, the boys are under aged and according to the law they're entitled to protection.  Yes, they did something dreadful, and yes from the sounds of it they deserved a much more serious punishment than the one they were given, but that doesn't change the facts.

They're kids, and they're entitled to a certain level of anonymity, which they've now lost with their names tweeted to the world.  The consequences for them are now going to be a lot further reaching than was originally intended.

I don't know ... like I said, I find the whole thing very difficult to reconcile in my mind.

What are your opinions?


  1. I feel that the responsibility of keeping the boys' names confidential falls on the lawyers and on the press, but if this girl, who was raped by them and knowing they were found guilty, wants to tweet their names...she has every right in the world. It did, after all as you said, happen to HER. They may be minors, but they raped her. It is her way of not letting herself remain a victim and I can't argue with that.

  2. It's tough indeed, but if she wants the boys to obey the law about her and to be held to account for not doing so, then she too must obey the law about the boys and be held to account for not doing so. That's how rules work. Can't have it both ways.

  3. I think I really admire this girl for doing what she thought was right. I'm generally a "let's follow the laws" type person, but in this case, I think the law is dead wrong. Why should a person/people who violate a person so thoroughly be afforded protection just because they are of a certain age? As with all actions, there are consequences either good or bad. Since she's willing to accept the consequences for her actions, I fully support her decision!

  4. I feel like a lot of kids now know the laws, and know not much is going to happen to them until they're 18. In my opinion, other than murder, rape is the most heinous thing that can happen to a person. It changes you forever. I think those little bastards deserve to have the world know what kind of "people" they are. For her to be expected to keep it her little secret while watching the boys carry on with their life as usual is completely ludicrous.

  5. These boys may be underage, but rape is a pretty horrific crime for anyone to commit. It seems to me that someone who is capable of committing such an act should be prepared to face any of the repercussions that come from it. I don't feel bad for the boys at all for this.

    The girl may have broken the law, but I can understand why. I can't imagine knowing what it would be like to walk around everyday, having everyone know what happened to you while the people who violated you get the protection of anonymity. It seems extremely unfair.

  6. Whew, that is a tough call. I do admire her bravery but I fear she will also be seen as a "rat". My son was physically assaulted in high school by other juveniles. He named his attackers so they could be punished by the school system. Instead of that being seen as an act of bravery, he was called a "rat". I feel for that poor girl.

    On a positive note, my blog on the fabulous, delicious Vegemite experiment will be posted tomorrow morning. Keep your sense of humor!!!!

  7. I'm with you, very conflicted. On one hand, taking the law into your own hands is generally a bad idea, but she felt like the justice system failed her, so this was her act of vigilantism. If she was assaulted, I can't imagine the horrific feeling of knowing that her attackers will not be punished for their crimes, and the LEAST she could do to get that measure of justice is to say their names.
    I think in the course of writing this comment I'm more on her side.
    Then there are those cases where they release the name of an accused rapist who is innocent and they never print a retraction or say "oh, our bad, he's not a rapist, that chick is actually really nuts." But it seems like they made a deal because they were guilty. So yeah, go her.

  8. This is a tough one. Life is so varied, and justice/law does its best to cater to all situations. But nothing can. As I said, this is a tough one.

    Do you sympathise with the girl, or do you hold the ideal that the justice system needs to be respected? Contempt in court is a pretty serious offence. To be contempt of the court you are contempt of the very things that govern our protection.

    But yet, this girl was raped. Which is a heinous crime and those boys need to be punished. Courts do not cut deals when it is an open and shut case. Those boys knew what they were doing, the ordeal happened over a few months and they had time to check their moral compass and have found lacking. But without sitting in on the hearing we can only speculate.

    I respect her decision, nobody should have to be traumatised like she did, but it is still breaking the law. As I said, its a tough one.

  9. What they did to this girl was bad enough but I think they waived their right to anonymity as soon as they posted and shared the photos of the assault. This distinctively shows a complete and utter disregard for what they did, almost like having a memento of the crime.

    I would have definitely done the same thing in her shoes and gladly dealt with the consequences.

  10. I read this, but after this weekend it's just more crazy after crazy.

  11. I read about this on Yahoo. Rather, I skimmed through it. Normally, something like this would have my full attention, but after the mass shooting in Denver, my head has little room for anything else. I thought I had an opinion about it, but that was before I read that the men who raped the girl are actually just boys.

  12. My opinion is Charles Bronson. Yes, that's somehow an opinion. She should not have tweeted, she should have taken a double barrel shotgun to each of their houses and blasted each one in the nuts.

    Maybe that's a bit strong, but they lost their right to protection when they did something that will haunt this girl for the rest of her life.

    1. I'm mentally high-fiveing you right now.

  13. I say if she tweeted it and is ready to face the law's consequences more power to her. It's not like she did it, then thinks she shouldn't be punished for it. She chose to do something willing to accept the consequences for it. It's just sad the boys don't seem to have had to suffer the consequences for their actions like she will.