The Tory rape exception for tax credits is worse than you thought

The Tories achieve a new level of depraved patriarchy…

The modern Tory MP seems, to me, indistinguishable from the Victorian stuffed-shirts who viewed poverty as a sin and filled workhouses with a ready supply of bonded labour who were fed enough to barely survive (if they were lucky).  In this case they are targeting their old favourite scapegoat: th single or unwed mothers rather than the actual cause of the economic mess, their chums pushing buttons in banks.   The likelihood of assistance for these women depends how well they prove that the child they carried to term and did not then give up for adoption is actually the child of the man who subjected her to a sexual assault.  This not only places an out of date stigma upon children, well as the mother, but also holds the children accountable for the means of their own conception.

The Self-servatives are quite willing to claim 300 GBP (my keyboard is being weird since the Windows 10 upgrade and my pound sign is missing) per day just for showing up (or not), not to mention exorbitant expenses (often paid to spouses on their own payroll) seem oblivious to the hypocrisy of deciding that a mother is not entitled to an extra 20 GBP per week (or any child related benefits after the 2nd child at all after 2017) because they don’t approve of her ‘relationship’ status. I have a number of objections to the Tory ideology against mothers in all forms.  Their main issue appears to be with women acting at all on their own agency and making decisions about their own lives without input from those who deem themselves fit to be our keepers.  It holds us simultaneously responsible for our own hardship, while stripping us of the ability to make our lives our own.

Firstly, it places all of the responsibility and financial burden of raising children entirely on the shoulders of the mothers.   The ‘exemption’ from the rule also assumes that fecklessness is the default position of all working class parents when it comes to planning the size of their families.  It places the very normal act of raising a family in the realms of a hobby for the rich who can afford nannies and childminders with their six figure salaries by making it clear that, in their view, the only acceptable reason for a woman  to be caring for a child born out of marriage is that the child was a product of rape (note the absence of accountability expected of male single parents which is also the clue that the policy is specifically anti-woman). Need I make it clear that a child is never at fault for having been born yet the Conservative party seem to think otherwise, and are willing to punish children for what they deem to have been the sin of the parent: daring to be poor.

Secondly, there is the expectation (and double standard) of women being the sole or primary carer.  It is still thought of as unusual if the father is in that position (but that is another post) which either sees stay-at-home-fathers as somehow emasculated, and puts dual-income families in the impossible position of either having to pay for expensive childcare that many cannot afford, or forcing women into a long period of dependency on a partner for financial support regardless of the stability of that relationship or size of the income. It is women who carry the penalties of a family through the gap in our work history and the break from NI contributions while not working.  The responsibility of the actual care (not just earning a wage) is yet to be seen as genuinely equal for both parents. It takes more than money and ‘aspiration’ to raise children, it takes time, attention and patience, but fathers are generally spared the dual expectation to be both care-giver AND breadwinner. No matter the choice, someone has to care for and raise the next generation (who will eventually be caring for the very people who would happily let them starve). Thirdly, when is it the business of government to manage the intimate details of our lives through monetary carrot-and stick tactics (though its less the offer of a reward and more the beating with the stick for daring to even think about asking for the carrot these days)? A government which claims to deplore interference in individual lives, seems to be rather keen to intervene, and use tax-funded benefits (benefits which are also taxed by the way) in order to legislate their own form of morality and make non-conformity to these out-dated rules financially crippling.

Whether children are cared for by childminders or parents, either choice is regarded as lazy by one portion of society or the other so mothers are already in a no-win situation. The current fashion, as exemplified continuously by the gutter-press, is to pour scorn on all stay at home mothers as either indolent sponges who do nothing but watch TV, or as affluent middle/upper-class women who have consciously made ‘a lifestyle-choice’, so it is not really surprising the Tories are going after the ones with the least power and the most to lose from their regressive new rules. In the eyes of the Tories, the only acceptable mother must be married, with the government approved number of children according to income bracket, and able to divide herself equally between her family and a taxable full-time occupation, care if she has no time left to herself. In this economic climate of redundancies and zero-hours ‘contracts’, fortunes can turn on a penny and it is unfair to condemn parents and children to destitution for making family planning choices which may have been entirely reasonable four months ago.

Oppression is….

I am taking part in a campaigning on Facebook to get the site “It’s not Rape…It’s surprise sex!”  removed.  This invovles getting as many people as possible to report the group as offensive and write into Facebook moderators quoting their own rules.  Please take the time to view the comments even if you choose not to join in.  While I appreciate dark humour and value a good joke as much as anybody, there are certain thins that are strictly off-limits and subjects that will never be funny.  I read a case on Women’s Rights at change.Org, where a 19-year-old was raped at gunpoint and robbed and to add insult to injury, she was charged with theft herself by the investigating officer, on the grounds that she refused to accept rape counselling and did not press the panic button.  This was not in some Middle-Eastern backwater where ‘civilisation’ has not yet caught up with reality, this happened in Pennsylvania.  While groups and people continue to trivialise rape and blame the victims, this situation will happen again and again.

Carmen Miles, one of the other members of the group, posted this on the group wall and I felt it deserved to be shared. with more than the members of one Facebook group.

Oppression is…

when an Australian sex therapist forces her female patients into submitting to their husband’s sexual desires through guilt and coercion. (

Oppression is…

when an Australian judge dismisses a case of anal rape with a bottle as persuasion involving “rougher than usual handling”. (

Oppression is

when men in Afghanistan are permitted to deny their wives food and water if t they refuse their sexual advances. (

Oppression is…

when the murder of rape victims is still an acceptable way to restore honour to families. (

Oppression is...

Not asking for a site to be removed when it potentially trivialises a terrible crime, is triggering
for victims and a haven for cyber-bullies.

This brings me to my next point.  The group itself has been targeted by people who view US as an oppression site, claim that we are hypocrites and that OUR page should be removed because they find it offensive.  This really makes the mind boggle about how these people think.  We are not trying to ban free speech.  We are not trivialising violent acts against others – that is what we are trying to get Facebook to take responsibility for.  We are not saying that ALL dark humour is wrong and I am sure that most reasonable people realise, that for society to function smoothly, there needs to be a set of rules, whether set down or not, that we all stick to.  Whether we agree with them all or not is an issue for debate and something we are perfectly qualified to discuss among ourselves.  It’s the difference between what is right and wrong and no authority is needed on that front.  All we need is our conscience, both public and individual to know this.  There are unspoken rules of decency and conduct, and trivialising violent crime while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the true motivations of that violence, is to ignore reality.  It paints a gloss of  “Oh well, it hasn’t happened to me or mine, so its fair game to laugh at.” over the whole issue of the legal system’s treatment of reported rape cases.

Discussion of this sort over the internet is not futile, as it brings together the people who would not have otherwise met. It allows the raising of  public awareness on a worldwide scene, and it those who have a voice to speak up for those who do not. It grants access to information and points us in the direction of sources that would not have otherwise occurred to us.  We play our part in a more open world community, just by making a contribution to the discussion.  On-line discussion forums allow ideas to change through a natural progression of examination and debate. It is not the decent thing to ignore or keep silent about social injustice.  Abdication from the process will only protect that person for a tiny amount of time because what happens when those who have done their three-wise-monkey act experience the same issues they have laughed at, trivialised and dismissed?  If they or their loved ones became one of those of whom groups like ours are trying to speak up for?  Would the subject still be so jocular to them?   Will our stance that the groups who laugh and sneer and are offended by our telling them they are wrong, still be so offensive to them? I very much doubt it. To quote a friend of mine, people who are ‘never wrong’, never learn. If they say they wouldn’t care then they are either lying to avoid admitting that they are wrong, or we should think very carefully about whether we really want to associate with such people.

As I said before; there are some things which are just not funny, and rape is one of them.  Our request for the removal of sites that trivialise violent crime is not oppression.  Our request is not inciting violence.  Nobody’s rights are being abused when this sort of offensive content is rightfully complained about and removed.  Is it repression of a rapist to prevent them from committing such horrific acts again?  The silencing of hundreds of abused children and their families, in order to protect the reputations of both their abusers and the catholic church WAS oppression. They were prevented from speaking out and those who complain that we, as a group, are offensive and trying to ‘prevent freedom of speech’ ARE guilty of the same complacent attitude to the victims of such crimes.

Johann Hari: So that’s OK then. It’s fine to abuse young girls, as long as you’re a great film director – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent

So now we know. If you are a 44-year-old man, you can drug and anally rape a terrified 13-year-old girl as she sobs, says “No, no, no,” and pleads for her asthma medication – all according to the victim’s sworn testimony – and face no punishment at all. You just have to meet two criteria – (a) you have to run away and stay away for a few decades; and (b) you need to direct some good films. If you do, not only will you walk free, there will be a huge campaign to protect you from the “witch-hunt” and you will be lauded as a hero.

Roman Polanski admitted his crime before he ran away and, for years afterwards, he boasted from exile that every man wanted to do what he did. He chuckled to one interviewer in 1979: “If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see?Johann Hari: So that’s OK then. It’s fine to abuse young girls, as long as you’re a great film director – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent.

Total lack of remorse, utter disdain for the justice system, complete disregard for morality.  If anybody else had shown this disgusting attitude, the world would be up in arms and shouting for real justice.  He should, like any other child abuser, be imprisoned for life and his films should be banned so that he may no longer profit from his exile from the law.  There is NO excuse for what he did! I am not one to normally think in absolutes but this was absolutely wrong.  He went into exile to escape punishment for raping a child. Neither somebody’s job, nor any amount of self aggrandised talent, will or should place them above the law and those who excuse or even support his behaviour are just as contemptible as he is.  He raped a child and was then free to pursue his life (and do it again).  He showed not an ounce of remorse for his actions and even bragged about them in public with the excuse that every man “wants to”.

“But… fucking, you see… and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!” – Roman Polanski, 1979

Even if this were true, which I sincerely doubt, most men manage to restrain themselves. Normal adult men do NOT find children sexually attractive! His friends and colleagues were, and still are, more than ready to dismiss the public outrage as a witch hunt, excusing what he did by blaming the mother and claiming the girl was not a virgin. I fail to see 1)how they knew this, and 2)why further abuse to a child who has already been abused, is acceptable. Some seem to think that he has already paid his debt by spending 42 days in a psychiatric facility.  42 days!!!  How is that in any way a fair or just punishment for the crime he committed?  They claim that he pleaded guilty to ‘make it all go away.’ Why would an innocent man plead guilty to a crime he did not commit? Isn’t that lying while under an oath to tell the truth?  Others claim that he paid $700,000 to the girl and her family in a civil court.  I say this now, as I said around the time of the Michael Jackson furore; civil cases should not be allowed to take place parallel with criminal investigations. That way money could not get in the way of real justice taking place. What kind of person tries to buy their way out of paying real consequences for their action? Come to think of it, what kind of parent accepts ANY payment for the abuse of their child over the knowledge of them spending years in prison for their crime? It allows that person to go off and do it again to another child and teaches others that justice favours the rich!

The French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levi, who led the campaign, said a little bit of child molestation isn’t his problem when Great Art is at stake. He wrote: “Am I repulsed by what he got up to? His behaviour is not my business. I’m concerned about his movies. I like The Pianist and Rosemary’s Baby.”

That’s worth saying again – this campaign was led by a man who thinks the drugging and raping of a child is “not my business”, when compared to a film about Satan inseminating Mia Farrow.

This is not a sensationalist media frenzy.  This is about a man who committed a vile rape on a drugged and underdeveloped teenage girl of thirteen years?  The west openly condemns child marriages (to middle-aged men) in the middle east, shouting about immorality (I quite agree, it is immoral.) while others claim that ‘it’s acceptable in their culture‘.  A morally reprehensible act is not adjusted or altered in any way by culture or geography.  It is acceptable in some parts of the middle east to circumcise girls, stone rape victims to death and murder homosexuals.  Should we condone incitement of Sharia Law here because it is ‘acceptable in their culture’?  This case has nothing to do with relative morality and everything to do with prosecuting a child abuser, reparation to the worlds’ justice systems so that other rich child abusers cannot repeat the sordid affair, and protecting their victims from harassment from the media.  He should no more be allowed to forget this without seeing some real justice (because, like human rights, justice works BOTH ways) than the scores of child abusing priests should have been moved around the world to protect them instead of doing what was right by the children who were abused.  We cannot condone any case of child molestation.  To allow this man to walk free would be a slap in the face to anyone who has ever been abused.

The novelist Robert Harris, who is a friend of Polanski’s, said: “It strikes me as disgusting treatment.” He wasn’t talking about the child-rape. He was talking about the attempt to punish the child-rape.