You know that feeling you get when the language of sexual violence is so distorted a man who sexually abused and molested a 13 year-old girl is presented as a victim as well? That feeling that makes you want to walk up to the person saying it, whisper to them to “ssshhhhhhut-the-f**k-up,” and then do this:
On January 4th Ottawa Sun reporter Tony Spears Tweeted:
A tryst? Between a grown man and a child?
In February 2014, the man, Phillip Nolan, was charged with five counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation of a minor. As is the norm for Canadian courts the charges were dealed down for an easier conviction. Nolan has been sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual interference involving a child under 16 years old.
It’s not the first time Spears has made the rape of child look like a misunderstanding. In May of last year he Tweeted:
Again with the “tryst” crap. This time the girl being assaulted was 12.
There’s something wrong when a reporter uses language to downplay what a judge describes as, “…sexual child abuse.” Once was bad enough, twice is just ignorant of the issues surrounding childhood sexual abuse.
Spears tried to defend himself by making it seem like the victim wanted all this and was just as much to blame for what happened as the adult who raped her:
We have laws to protect children from sexual predators like Phillip Nolan. Sending the message that the sexual abuse of children is something those kids are partly responsible for only encourages victims to blame themselves and it sends the signal to pedophiles/predators that abusing kids isn’t really their fault and the kids might even want it.
Tony Spears has been rightfully called out for his
choice of language negating the impact childhood sexual abuse has.
It’s sad he can’t see it.