NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — A woman who had her 13-year-old daughter’s genitalia pierced to make it uncomfortable for her to have sex was acquitted of aggravated child abuse on Thursday.
The girl, now 16, had testified that her mother asked a friend in 2004 to shave the girl’s head to make her unattractive to boys and later held her down for the piercing.
A jury deliberated for about three hours before deciding the mother’s actions didn’t involve punishment or malicious intent, or cause permanent damage or disfigurement.
Right, because shoving a sharp object through a 13-year-old girl’s genitals has nothing to do with punishing her. Just ask the jury foreman:
“Maybe it was not the best decision in the world,” foreman Colin Kelly said afterward. “But the intent was to try to stop a girl who was completely out of control… Are you going to put every parent in jail for making a bad decision?”
Somehow, holding your child down and not just shaving her head but piercing her genitals with the express purpose of making it more difficult to have sex kinda seems like more than just a “bad decision.” But I guess I know nothing, since I’m not a parent and I wouldn’t know what it was like to have an out-of-control daughter:
The 39 year old mother is being accused of aggravated child abuse. She says she was trying to prevent her daughter from continuing to have sex too soon and too often.
Prosecutors say the piercing was to punish the daughter for having to much sex, including with her mother’s 30 year old boyfriend.
To go along with the piercing, the mother also shaved the 13 year old’s head to make her unattractive.
According to the mother, these actions were a last resort because she had already put her daughter on the pill, gave her a curfew, and grounded her. All were aimed on trying to end her daughter’s sexual activity.
Okay, so let me get this straight: your boyfriend rapes your 13-year-old daughter (leading, no doubt, to her acting out sexually) and you punish *her* by shaving *her* head and forcibly piercing *her* genitals? Instead of, I dunno, doing something about the boyfriend?
Oh, and creepy argument of the day?
Defense attorneys argued that the girl agreed to the piercing to help rebuild her mother’s trust and no disfigurement resulted from it.
Even though the wound became infected, which is where child protective services came in. And even though the piercer, “Tattoo Tammy,” was sentenced to a year in jail for her role in the assault.
Now, none of the stories specify which part of the genitals were pierced, and there are plenty of genital piercings out there that wouldn’t cause permanent disfigurement. But given that the goal was to make things uncomfortable for her to have sex, and given that it was done under force and the wound became infected, I’m really starting to wonder whether she had an actual clitoral piercing done, or if she had her daughter’s labia laced up like a turkey.
However, even if it were a single piercing in, say, a labia or clitoral hood that would heal relatively easily and not interfere too much with function, I find myself really creeped out that a key issue was whether there was permanent disfigurement.*
But to get back to the title of this post: I have to agree with Trailer Park Feminist’s assesment of this:
Keep in mind, this was in the United States of America, not Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan or somewhere like that. It was right here, in our modern, enlightened, Western country, where women supposedly have total equality and freedom from oppression.
More than that, I would bet good money that the very same jurors who acquitted this woman (probably a nice, Christian woman) for mutilating her daughter’s genitals would somehow make the distinction between what she did to get her daughter “under control” and FGM as practiced in Africa and the Middle East. Because, you know, she’s People Like Us, and not some kind of Foreign People.
* I suppose that the charge of aggravated child abuse would include this, but I wonder why there were no lesser charges. Interestingly, the case went to trial because judges had rejected two prior plea deals as too lenient.
- Pro-Choice Congressmen More Likely to Have Slutty Daughters by Jill June 18, 2007
- First U.S. Female Genital Cutting* Trial by Jill October 27, 2006
- If you don’t want to throw something (and then cry), stop reading now. by Jill December 9, 2007
- Palin’s anti-choice legacy by Miranda July 6, 2009
- The Way We Die Now by Jill September 24, 2009