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Mother jailed for failing to protect daughters from sexual abuse by their father

(110 Posts)
DonkeySkin Sat 17-Jan-15 13:01:52

In line with the thread on women being jailed in El Salvador for miscarrying, this happened in Oz recently:

Sometimes I think the world is becoming more woman-hating by the day sad

cailindana Sat 17-Jan-15 13:09:58

I think people who stand back and let abuse happen are almost as bad as those who abuse. In fact I think there is a certain type of person who gets something (I don't know what) from facilitating abuse (perhaps relief that they're not being abused themselves? or a fucked up sense of purpose at being useful to the abuser?). I understand that this woman was in a difficult situation herself but it still stands that she knew abuse was happening and she did nothing about it. She had a duty to her children and she failed them.

My one objection is the sentence - three years is long considering some rapists only get 18 months.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sat 17-Jan-15 13:13:41

The woman was clearly in a very abusive relationship, and a very difficult situation, but does that 100% excuse what she did? Does it 100% excuse the fact that she never made any attempt to get her children out of that situation, which she must have known was, at best, inappropriate and unhealthy?

She could have advised the children to talk to their teachers and seek help that way. Or she could have rung the police.

But maybe she was so traumatised, abused and scared that she literally couldn't do anything - we don't know enough of the facts, imo.

Gothgirl78 Sat 17-Jan-15 13:51:20

The man was the abuser but every person has a duty of care to their children . No matter how hard the mother should have reported her husband. I have little sympathy with the woman.

MarjorieMelon Sat 17-Jan-15 13:56:03

The woman performed an indecent sexual act on her husband in front of her daughter. She didn't just stand by and allow her children to be abused she was also an abuser.

It's a very sad case and the domestic abuse obviously should be taken into account it doesn't however change the fact that the mother was guilty of allowing the sexual abuse of her children.

TooMuchCantBreathe Sat 17-Jan-15 14:18:43

So long as the father serves an appropriately longer term I don't see the problem. This woman failed to protect from and actively to sexual abuse. That is a crime.

DonkeySkin Sat 17-Jan-15 14:19:13

Yes, every person has a duty of care towards their children, and no one is saying you have to feel sympathy for her.

The question is whether women with violent and sexually abusive male partners should be held criminally responsible for the violence those men commit.

Surprised (although I suppose I shouldn't really be, given how ready everyone is to blame women for EVERYTHING) that most here think they should be. Although I hope all the posters who support the jailing of women who fail to stop abusive men from hurting their children realise that it is the most traumatised, the most impoverished and marginalised women (who naturally have fewer economic, social and psychological resources to escape an abusive relationship) who will be the ones punished by the laws you are advocating.

Marjorie, note that 'performing an indecent act in front of her daughter' could have meant she was sexually assaulted by her husband in front of her daughter.

EElisavetaofJingleBellsornia Sat 17-Jan-15 14:29:29

I don't think anyone is saying this woman is responsible for her husband's behaviour, Donkey, just her own. I do think it's indicative of double standards that the newsworthy story is the abuse enabler rather than the abuser, but you will struggle to excuse her behaviour entirely.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sat 17-Jan-15 14:32:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 17-Jan-15 14:34:08

If we jail abuse victims for this we should also be jailing all the agencies that fail to help when help is sought.

wickedlazy Sat 17-Jan-15 14:35:23

She pleaded guilty to three charges of performing an indecent act with her husband while her eldest daughter, aged about 16 or 17, was present

That is vile! If she had been sexually assaulted in front of her daughter, she would have explained it was sexual assault in the presence of a minor, and not pleaded guilty?

And the daughter was sleeping naked in her parents bed?

This woman failed to protect her daughters and deserves jail. She was complicit in the abuse. I hope the three daughters can move on from all this and find some happiness.

hmc Sat 17-Jan-15 14:39:49

I don't see it as woman hating at all - not one little bit. The mother failed to act.

TooMuchCantBreathe Sat 17-Jan-15 14:41:50

Ooh you are getting very upset and wordy about a case you simply do not have that kind of information about. This is the first case to come to court. He will be in court soon for the abuse of the dc. For all you know there is another case upcoming for his abuse of the wife or maybe not. Perhaps she participated knowingly and willingly and used his character to explain her actions - it wouldn't be the first time. Perhaps not but the fact is that you don't know.

To the poster going on about the article being about her not him - that is because it is about her trial. Obviously it's going to focus on her. The telling thing would be them focusing on her when reporting his trial.

wickedlazy Sat 17-Jan-15 14:42:00

She had no driving licence. Presumably no financial independence. She feared losing her home and family

Oh then that's different. She let her husband sexually abuse her daughters because she wanted a roof over her head, to not be attacked herself by him and financial security. She didn't want to loose the life she had, sure what's a little bit of kiddie fiddling in the grand scheme of things hmm

The moment he tried to initiate a sexual act in front of her oldest, she should have rung the police. Or at least at the first opportunity. She didn't, she let it happen again. And again. And that's why she is going to jail, and why she deserves to be there.

NeedABumChange Sat 17-Jan-15 14:42:02

I completely understand women who fail to escape abuse for themselves but couldn't feel more opposite towards those who stay and allow their children to be abused. Pretending to be the good parent when they are just as bad.

Shakey1500 Sat 17-Jan-15 14:44:41

Everyone blaming women for everything?

Anyhow, I also don't see it as woman/women hating. There were choices available and she made the lowest of the low choice.

differentnameforthis Sat 17-Jan-15 14:45:29

She pleaded guilty to three charges of performing an indecent act with her husband while her eldest daughter, aged about 16 or 17, was present

If she had been sexually assaulted in front of her daughter, she would have explained it was sexual assault in the presence of a minor, and not pleaded guilty? YY! That is what I was focusing on too. She was away from her abuser & had an opportunity to give her side, she had a chance to say whether it was an assault or her performing a sexual act on him. She pleased guilty to the latter, so I can understand why she was convicted.

She pleaded guilty, which is why she was convicted.

AskBasil Sat 17-Jan-15 14:46:16

I think there's 2 issues here:

1. The responsibility everyone has to protect children and not enable, facilitate or allow their abuse.

2. The fact that when women try and protect their children from abuse, they are punished.

This woman feared she would lose her home and children if she reported and actually, she was right to fear that - the result of splitting from a man often is poverty for women and children. She may also have feared that he would kill her and some of the children if he reported and she was right to fear that - abusive men often kill women and children when the woman decides to end the relationship. And then often, the man involved gets sole contact with the children once he's released from prison after a period of time (a year, 18 months) and so the woman is even less able to protect the younger ones, than when he lives with her and she doesn't report.

The motivation to not report, is at least as strong as that to report and it sounds to me like this woman fell between the gap between those 2 things. The solution is to ensure that the motivation to report is stronger by protecting women, automatically banning fathers who are abusive from sole contact, locking them up for longer and keeping proper tabs on them when they're released from prison so that women feel safe. Then we can prosecute women who fail to protect, in the full knowledge that there was absolutely no excuse not to. At the moment that's not the case. Women are punished if they do report and punished if they don't. And meanwhile, men are let off the hook. I wonder what her husband's sentence was and whether he'll get sole contact when he gets released from prison.

DonkeySkin Sat 17-Jan-15 14:46:39

EElisaveta, yes, she has been jailed for failing to stop her husband abusing their daughters. Not for any criminal act that she committed (except, perhaps, 'performing an indecent act in front of her daughter', which could apply to any woman who was sexually assaulted in front of her children).

I am certainly not 'excusing her behaviour entirely'. I'm saying that women should not be held responsible for their male partner's violence. A court holding a woman criminally responsible for failing to stop her partner's violence towards their children sets a very dangerous precedent, one that has sinister implications for all women with children trapped in abusive relationships, and which fails utterly to comprehend the dynamics of those relationships (in which it is well documented that many terrorised women develop Stockholm Syndrome).

I am not claiming she has been a good mother to her children. Maybe she is neglectful, maybe she is selfish, almost certainly she is trauma-bonded to her partner. It still doesn't mean she should be jailed for his crimes.

Thumbwitch Sat 17-Jan-15 14:50:22

In this particular case, it seems fairly clear cut that the woman was complicit and involved in the abuse - naked daughter sleeping in the marital bed? As well as the sexual act etc.

She was obviously in an abuse situation herself as well, but she still failed to protect her daughters from the same abuse. And for that, I think she does deserve punishment. Not because she's female, but because she failed in her duty of care to her DDs. IF it were the other way around, and she had been beating her DDs and the father had failed to protect them, I think HE should have been punished as well.

I missed whether or not the father was jailed and for how long, is that mentioned? Obviously he should be in jail for much longer!

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sat 17-Jan-15 14:51:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sat 17-Jan-15 14:53:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cailindana Sat 17-Jan-15 14:55:40

My own mother turned a blind eye to abuse and told me to shut up about it as an adult. She was abused herself as a child (not to the same extent) and had myriad 'reasons' for her failure as parent. I don't forgive her. Her duty as a parent was to protect me. She failed. While I wouldn't like to see her jailed for it, I would not absolve her of any responsibility.

Neglect is neglect, no matter what the cause. Parents have to be held accountable for their duty towards their children.

MarjorieMelon Sat 17-Jan-15 14:56:26

I think it's very unlikely that her husband would be allowed any contact at all with any of the children if he is convicted of sexual abuse. Why would the mother have feared that he would be awarded sole contact.

wickedlazy Sat 17-Jan-15 14:56:56

thumbwitch I completely agree with you there.

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