Well, as long as you said you’re sorry…

Eight teenagers who raped a girl on camera and distributed the DVD — titled “Cunt the Movie” — throughout their community are serving less than two years.. in therapy. During the assault (trigger warning):

The girl was filmed performing oral sex on two boys, had her hair set alight, was spat at and urinated on during the incident at a park at Werribee, in Melbourne’s outer-west, in June last year.

But they apologized. What more do you want?


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43 comments for “Well, as long as you said you’re sorry…

  1. November 8, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    *sigh*

    Y’know I am a great believer in restorative justice and great opponent of prison system.

    But why, oh why, when judges and prosecuters use the rhetoric of restorative justice it always seems to be in such a way that it denies justice to victims of sexual violence?

    I, too, want whatever cycle of violence these young men are caught in stops. I, too, would rather that they learn positive relationships with others instead of just being imprisoned. But goddamn if I would put those goals above the safety of the survivor and the community.

  2. November 8, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Yeah, I read this on Trailer Park’s blog.
    Fucking sick.

  3. bmc90
    November 8, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure these laddies will be back in the system eventually. I can’t believe the therapy program promotes ‘positve sexuality’ – these kids did not do this because they were horny. They did it because they are sociopaths. Therapy will make them into better adjusted sociopaths.

  4. Roxie
    November 8, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    I want lots and lots and LOTS MORE

    Can’t the incarcerate them and have them in therapy?

  5. kali
    November 8, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    It’s stuff like this which honestly makes me think that corporal punishment from the state is not a bad idea. Or if not actual corporal punishment, punishment by public humiliation of some kind.

    Maybe the kind of sentence they got is the best way to stop those guys from hurting more people. Maybe it at least has a better shot than ten years in prison would. Maybe it was the best thing to do looked at from that perspective. But the victim needs to feel some justice, and there needs to be some deterrent effect, and that just isn’t present in that sentence. Like, seriously, if there are other sick little fucks of teenage boys hearing about that case and secretly thinking “that sounds awesome”– well, the two year’s therapy sentence is bordering on encouraging them. Hence, some kind of intensive public humiliation. Then therapy.

  6. Sickle
    November 8, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Australia has a “Children’s Court” for juveniles, stressing rehabilitation over incarceration. Ironically, criminal justice advocates have been pushing for a similar system over here. Had this crime happened in the U.S. (depending, of course, on where in the U.S.), all would likely have been charged as adults and would have received stiff prison sentences.

    Some of the perps will likely be helped by the therapy. (So-called “gang” rapists tend to have the lowest recidivism rates.) But others, particularly those who performed the sadistic acts of urinating on the victim and setting her hair on fire, will probably learn nothing and will be in the system again later.

    Hopefully, Australian law allows the girl to sue her attackers.

  7. D.N. Nation
    November 8, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Gah! Seems pretty obvious to me simple lessons on sexuality aren’t going to even come close to hitting these boys’ problems.

    This sort of thing should be studied. Extensively. Because it’s absolutely frightening.

  8. November 8, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    OMFG. My jaw just hit the floor reading that.

    Kill ’em all.

  9. November 8, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Y’know I am a great believer in restorative justice and great opponent of prison system.

    But why, oh why, when judges and prosecuters use the rhetoric of restorative justice it always seems to be in such a way that it denies justice to victims of sexual violence?

    Annlouise, that is exactly how I feel.

    I don’t like the prison system. At all. I’m completely anti-death-penalty, and reading comments about killing them makes my skin crawl. I don’t have a desire to see people locked up and mistreated.

    But I also recognize that therapy isn’t the end-all be-all to criminal justice, and while I’m generally opposed to mass incarceration, there are some people who, because of high chances of recidivism, should not be out on the street. Doesn’t mean we need a massive prison industrial system to deal with them, but we do need some mechanism to keep society safe from them (we also need to treat them with humanity).

    I’ll admit that I don’t know all of the facts of the case. But I do know that half a dozen teenage boys plead guilty to assaulting a teenage girl, and having the callousness to film it and distribute the DVD. That raises real red flags for me.

  10. Mnemosyne
    November 8, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    It’s hard to figure out the best punishment when it comes to gang rape, because you usually have a leader (or two) and a bunch of followers who are too cowardly to stand up to the leader.

    The followers will probably learn what assholes they are from the therapy and have screaming nightmares for the rest of their lives, as they should.

    The leader or leaders? Sociopaths who will do something like this again, assuming they haven’t done it before already.

  11. Amy
    November 8, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    What, I wonder, would have been enough to sentence them to youth detention? They came nowhere close to the maximum 3 years. For whom do they reserve the max?

  12. Leigh
    November 8, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    I find it incredibly discouraging, not only that these violent little sickos received nowhere near the maximum, but also that the maximum sentence seems so light-weight to begin with. Three years? for violent sexual assault? distributing child pornography? lighting her hair on fire? It demonstrates a total lack of understanding as to the seriousness of the crimes in question.

    As for the therapy sentence, sure, restorative justice in general is a more proactive solution than straight incarceration, but in this case, it blatantly mocks the victim. The emotional & psychological trauma she suffered as a result of the attack & its aftermath very well may require therapy extending far beyond the mere two years the judge seems to think will heal her attackers.

    Again, where is the justice in that?

  13. Alara Rogers
    November 8, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Could we maybe have the nine months of therapy, plus a public flogging a la Singapore to start with? I mean, ok, they’re juveniles and we decided (well, Australia decided; America hasn’t gotten around to it yet) that civilized countries don’t throw juveniles in a hole and pave it over. But if Singapore can publicly flog a boy for chewing gum, surely Australia can publicly flog eight boys for raping a young woman, setting her hair on fire, urinating on her, videotaping it, etc, etc.

    Otherwise I like the throwing in a hole and paving over option.

  14. Betty Boondoggle
    November 8, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    But I doknow that half a dozen teenage boys plead guilty to assaulting a teenage girl, and having the callousness to film it and distribute the DVD. That raises real red flags for me.

    Oh, that was just the beginning, apparently Public outrage met by boasts, laughter

    And nine months of therapy is going to “cure” them. Bullshit.

    But, I’d *love* to hear the defenders of violent porn try to pretend it’s got no real world consequences now.

  15. November 8, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Whatever happened to the girl? Where is she? Why are we not talking about her?

  16. kali
    November 8, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    The leader or leaders? Sociopaths who will do something like this again, assuming they haven’t done it before already.

    According to comment 14, the same group of boys did do it again before they were prosecuted. Disgusting little creeps. It’s hard to dispassionately discuss what the justice system ought to do when real justice could only be served if these guys got gang raped, urinated on, set alight and the video was distributed to everyone they know. And I feel like I’m a horrible person just for having written that, but these guys did it. More than once.

  17. Rosehiptea
    November 8, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    What’s getting to me the most is that you had the (at least) eight boys involved plus the people who bought the DVD… It’s not like this can be explained as one man’s sick idea. A whole bunch of people thought this was OK and I feel like the judge has encouraged that thinking by sentencing them only to therapy. (Which is not to say I have answer to what to do to them.)

    I really want to know what’s happening to the girl too, and what kind of help she’s getting. But I don’t actually want the media to pry into her life.

  18. November 8, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    But if Singapore can publicly flog a boy for chewing gum,

    Hold it RIGHT THERE. Singapore does not publicly flog people, neither does it flog people FOR CHEWING GUM fer chrissakes.

    We flogged an American for being a right ass. *ahem* Our corporal punishment scheme has its own problems, but don’t for a second assume it’s in anyway frivolous or that it’s part of our public entertainment system.

  19. November 8, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    I mentioned this on the aforementioned blog. Everyone who gang raped that woman and then made a movie called “Cunt: The Movie” should be sent to prison for 50% of their life at the very least.

  20. November 8, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    i think their fathers should be locked up too. anyone who raised a child to grow up to act like that should be held responsible.

  21. November 8, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Wow. I’m disgusted. I don’t know what else to say.

  22. November 8, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Try ten years of therapy – while under close supervision – and we might be getting closer. Maybe.

  23. Bitter Scribe
    November 8, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Hey, at least they’re serving some time.

    There was this notorious case in Illinois a couple of years ago where some punks taped themselves gang-raping a severely drunk 16-year-old, after which they scrawled obscenities on her body and spat on her (just like our charming Aussie lads—what is it with these guys and spitting?). And they were acquitted. This despite the fact that one of them had fled to Europe.

    During the trial, the victim was almost jailed. On cross-examination, the defense lawyers approached her with a monitor, intending to make her watch the video—this despite her having said repeatedly that she had no memory of the assault. She became extremely upset and refused to watch, whereupon the judge threatened to jail her for contempt. (The dolt reversed himself the next day after a loud outcry.)

  24. November 8, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    They should’ve gotten the three years and therapy! A crime this elaborate and heinous by 10 repeting offenders?! I even wish they were tried as adults. On top of that, the girl should be compensated financially, by a lot. Of course they will plead guilty and are willing to go to rehab, it’s easy off the hook! I feel so insulted for the girl.

    “I don’t like the prison system. I don’t have a desire to see people locked up and mistreated.
    Obviously, the mistreatment part needs work, but you’re opposed to the locking them up regardless of crime?

  25. November 8, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Obviously, the mistreatment part needs work, but you’re opposed to the locking them up regardless of crime?

    No. My thoughts on the prison system are complicated and could be their own book, but the short version is that I think the corporate prison structure in the United States is incredibly problematic on several levels, but primarily because it’s a tool of social control and oppression and because it’s become a big money-maker for huge corporations, meaning that a lot of very powerful people have vested interests in keeping a substantial portion of our population locked up. That said, in theory I don’t oppose incarceration for violent crimes; I think it’s quite necessary for the protection of the public. But I also think that we need a rehabilitative system and not simply a punitive one. And I think our prison system is so fundamentally flawed and broken that there’s almost no way to see justice in it.

    So no, I’m not opposed to locking people up when they commit heinous crimes and are likely to offend again. I am, however, highly skeptical of our prison system.

  26. Roxie
    November 9, 2007 at 12:23 am

    Rosehiptea, apparently on the dvd they stated the girl was a willing participant.

  27. Cheshire
    November 9, 2007 at 1:04 am

    *sigh*

    Y’know I am a great believer in restorative justice and great opponent of prison system.

    But why, oh why, when judges and prosecuters use the rhetoric of restorative justice it always seems to be in such a way that it denies justice to victims of sexual violence?

    I, too, want whatever cycle of violence these young men are caught in stops. I, too, would rather that they learn positive relationships with others instead of just being imprisoned. But goddamn if I would put those goals above the safety of the survivor and the community.

    Exactly, I am not a fan of prison for many of the offences which currently carry jail terms but this isn’t one of those offences, and I fear for the community these men will be released back into, I worry that there isn’t hope for rehabilitation and that therapy wont help underlying disrespect for the rest of the people of the world.

  28. Rosehiptea
    November 9, 2007 at 2:21 am

    Rosehiptea, apparently on the dvd they stated the girl was a willing participant.

    Wow. I wonder if anyone who watched it actually believed that.

  29. exholt
    November 9, 2007 at 3:45 am

    This case reminds me of many angry complaints about overly lenient sentences for violent crimes and the perception that the criminal justice system was a “revolving door” from victimized childhood neighbors during the 1980s. I will not blame the victim of this atrocity one bit if she feels this way about the Australian justice system as that is what essentially happened with this judge’s decision.

    These criminals need to be locked away longer than three years with long-term therapy as they are displaying enough violent tendencies to pose a public safety hazard unless these tendencies are somehow remedied.

  30. nothere
    November 9, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Rosehiptea, apparently on the dvd they stated the girl was a willing participant.

    Wow. I wonder if anyone who watched it actually believed that.

    The only reason there is ANY recognition of wrongdoing here is because people can say “mentally disabled”, and at our current point in time mainstream men (ie the “decent” porn users* who are more than willing to abuse,exploit and degrade many other catergories of women) will still draw the line at pissing on the retarded and calling it SEXHY.

    * see recent thread and others on pandagon for examples

  31. Annie G
    November 9, 2007 at 7:48 am

    I’m in Australia, and I am livid at both the ‘sentence’ these young men received and by the lack of public outrage.

    While I am not suggesting any victim is more or less worthy of sympathy I would like to add the fact that the girl is developmentally disabled. Two of the perpetrators ‘befriended’ her and convinced her to meet them in a park where she was met by the gang. This was premeditated, predatory and sadistic, and this girl was, for a time, going to the same fucking school as the rapists and students who had bought the DVD.

    My heart hurts.

  32. SarahMC
    November 9, 2007 at 11:47 am

    If this were a “regular,” run-of-the-mill acquaintance rape, therapy might work to instill some “positive sexuality” in the offender. But like Annie said, this was premeditated, predatory and sadistic. The gang rapists distributed evidence of their crimes and apparently derived a lot of pleasure from the whole thing. A little “therapy” is not going to “correct” them. They should be removed from society permanently. How to do so is the question.

  33. Betty Boondoggle
    November 9, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    I wonder if anyone who watched it actually believed that.

    Why don’t we ask the consumers of violent, misogynistic porn? I’m sure they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and their porn. So yes, there are a frightening number of people who would believe she wanted to participate because that’s what gets them off.

    Reality doesn’t matter. Only getting off matters.

  34. SarahMC
    November 9, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I do think that porn has something to do with this and other instances of violent, sadistic gang-rapes.

  35. curiousgyrl
    November 9, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    “I do think that porn has something to do with this and other instances of violent, sadistic gang-rapes.”

    Yes, in this instance it seems fairly clear that the point of the crime is the video, and the motivation of the rapists (who also charmingly attached a homeless man) is the popularity they gained through circulating their group video project. When so much of the media is violent and degrading gonzo-stype porn, and the trends are, in part toward the “particpatory,” its very difficult, even for a so called “sex-posi” feminist like myself not to draw a direct connection.

    If this crime was something other than rape–say, the bastards merely limited themselves to setting fire to homeless people–all of the blog and media coverage would be about how jackass and “bum fights’ on you tube are normalizing violence and breeding sociopathic imitators..

  36. alsojill
    November 9, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    This probably isn’t the best forum for this request, but can we make a distinction, as Betty Boondoggle did, between “violent, misogynistic porn” and other forms of pornography? Or at least a distinction between pornography and erotica? B/c not all women or all feminists feel that porn/erotic material = misogyny, though obviously there is a lot of misogynistic porn out there.

    I can’t say anything about the story here. I just want to scrub my brain out with lye and pretend I never heard it. ::sigh::

  37. Betty Boondoggle
    November 9, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    I do think that porn has something to do with this and other instances of violent, sadistic gang-rapes.

    Since they made a dvd to hand out calling it porn and since they knew ahead of time that this is the type of things some cretins like to see in porn (porn indistinguishable from an actual rape and assault), it seems to me to be impossible to deny porn’s influence here. Not with honesty, anyway.

  38. Betty Boondoggle
    November 9, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    alsojill – some feminists would disagree that there’s some “safe” porn. For our purposes here, let’s not start another porn war over this. It’s perfectly clear that porn was a direct contributor in this instance. Let’s leave it at that.

  39. alsojill
    November 9, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    I do think that porn has something to do with this and other instances of violent, sadistic gang-rapes.

    Yes, I would agree, but I would clarify that as “violent, misogynistic” porn. Porn =/ violence.

    Or maybe I should just change my own terminology, and call violent, misogynistic sexual media “porn,” and sexual media that does not dehumanize or promote violence against women “erotica.” B/c there is something pornographic about the fetishization of violence in popular media as well as “porn”… I don’t know. *

    Ahem. Yeah. Now that I’ve worked out my own little terminology issues on the internets…

    *And speaking of the fetishization of violence in the media, I would love to hear Jill or zuzu’s thoughts on P2–the new stalking movie that’s coming out–b/c every time I see a commercial, all I can think is “who would actually *want* to see that?” For some reason, it bothers me intensely, perhaps because its sole purpose seems to be to glorify the entrapment and mental and physical torture of a conventionally attractive woman.

  40. alsojill
    November 9, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    the entrapment and mental and physical torture of a conventionally attractive woman.

    Badly phrased. Sorry. The fact that she is conventionally attractive (young, slender, blonde, sort of vulnerable-looking) does not in any way intensify how problematic the movie seems to me. Being conventionally attractive does not give her a pass on violence or mistreatment. It’s just that it seems to me to be a further enshrinement of her supposed helplessness–you know how “damsels in distress” are always in that exact mode–delicate and blonde.

  41. November 9, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Jill, rehabilitative + punitive, agreed. Call me a cynic (or an idealist, huh), but I suspect the percentage of uncorrectable sociopaths could be higher than what I unscientifically assume. Personally, it would be interesting to read up on any study relating to the success rates of rehabilitation.

    The issue of power (imbalance) to do this act gets to me. I recently blogged about this anti-rape device in South Africa which feminists opposed for being backwards and putting the burden of “solution” on the women. But like this case proves, if no one can really protect you, even the almighty state, looking for other ways to protect yourself is just as welcome.

  42. jon
    November 10, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Ninjanurse, in comment 20, makes a stupid suggestion. As a father, I am not responsible for my sons’ or my daughter’s wayward stupidity. They are. I am not in charge of their sexuality or bahavior any more than the victim’s mother in this case is responsible for her getting into the situation.

    Ninjanurse, if parents are to be held responsible for aspects of their offsprings’ sexual behavior, I hope you are also in favor of parental-consent laws, those parents who give their children no privacy whatsoever, parents who put their children in “therapeutic settings” to overcome their homosexuality or their refusal to succumb to parental authority, and all the rest. Your suggestion was a stupid attack on all men, and I resent it. The stupid boys who raped this girl are the criminals here, not their fathers. And how likely is it that they had fathers at their homes, anyway?

  43. jon
    November 10, 2007 at 11:09 am

    And I also have to add, since I work at a prison, that the philosophy behind prisons is rarely understood. Few understand that the twin goals of punishment and rehabilitation are almost never attained for offenders because the system is so overcrowded (at least here in the US) that it does each very poorly.

    The punishment isn’t abuse and mistreatment (though that happens.) It is the separation from normal society that is the punishment. But since there are so many inmates, they make their own society and become institutionalized. The punishment doesn’t usually work, and often makes the inmates worse upon release.

    Rehabilitation is a joke. Most inmates have taken the counseling classes so many times that they’ve learned all the right things to say, rather than the lessons themselves. They take parenting classes, drug-abatement classes, job interview classes, anger-control classes and so on until they have a stack of useless certificates that prove nothing other than their ability to attend mandatory classes in an environment where you can be forced to attend.

    Something should probably be changed in our prison system. The question is, which inmates can be helped and which ones will game the system? The answer? I don’t know, but I do know it’s a tough sell to go up against the “lock ’em up and throw away the key” mentality that is found on all parts of the political spectrum, but for different criminals.

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