This is our truth, tell us yours
You may have read about the case of Neil Wilson, we wrote about it in anger here. Petitions are circulating to increase the sentence and in the usual peadopanic of twenty-first century Britain he is being described as a pedophile and rapist, so throw away the key. I haven’t read the full court reports, nor I think has anyone, but as far as I can see he is neither. Kneejerk demands for a longer sentence are another example of society focusing on men, on the perpetrators, instead of on women, girls and the victims.
The slutshaming of his victim centered around the fact she was not a virgin, and it seems willingly* wanted sex. Any thirteen year old will have encountered the attitudes, although in the school playground rather than the court. Bike, slag, slut, whore, some of the words thrown at women who make sexual choices that include non monogamy. I still remember the . moment when I realised in my early twenties that the boys who had used those words at school actually wanted sex with girls. At my high school lezza was the biggest insult, probably closely followed by frigid, unavailability as much of a crime as availability.
I sidestepped the whole thing by being a geek, a nerd , a girly swot who listened to Andy White and only got off with older guys who recognised something even I didn’t. However, a confession, a 13 I wanted sex, I wanted that attention, I wanted sexual contact. I spent a huge amount of my free time masturbating and fantasising. I also knew that if I stepped from being the shy swot into doing anything about my desires I would have been attacked just as the victim was here, not by barristers and judges but by the people I called friends.
We can look at high school and understand the complex swirl of emotions that caused embryonic adults to lash out. The boys who wanted sex were not necessarily going to grow up into woman hating misogynist just because they called a girl a bike. The brighter boys were of course noting her name and planning to get her alone at the next party. Hormones, the need to fit in, confusion about the opposite sex, these combine to make a forgivable cauldron from which emotions would at times bubble out.
However when adults use these labels it isn’t so easy to forgive. One explanation is, I suppose, stunted emotional development. The attitudes of high school stay with them, it does explain the high readership of the Daily Mail, people who formed their ideas of the world at fourteen and never allowed anything to challenge or develop them. Thank God I never did that, I would still be a trot who was going to call her first child Arwen and her second Pippen. Odd choices for someone bullied themselves.
But what of those who step outside the norms themselves? It might seem contradictory but slut shaming is alive and kicking within what I will loosely term the swinging community. Within BDSM for all its faults monogamous couples seem to have fewer problems with non monogamy.
So people who presumably want others to have sex, often are desperately seeking that mythical creature, the single swinging bisexual female, called in the parlance a unicorn, denigrate those women who have a little too much sex, too freely or too openly. Carter once applied a Marxist analysis of idea that property rights to sex and family structures that makes huge sense. I think it also extends to far too many swinging couples view of women. The female is a gateway to sex, the man offers her, and in return gets other women offered by their men. Ownership and male Dominance are never challenged as swapping is simply a loan. In fact it reinforces the traditional structures, with women being something men control access to.
In this type of relationship the female who is open about her wanton behaviour is the biggest threat. Offering a view of sex totally outside male control. I referred to random men who fucked me in a club as live dildos. Terribly sexist I know, and meant as a joke, however the fact is when I lie down in the middle of a group sex room I am using the men, not the other way around, I want cock, and I get it, in the amounts I choose. I challenge those ideas of women as passive and owned, even whilst being face fucked in a submissive position.
People might say there is no connection between an adult woman acting this way and a teenager sexually experimenting. However by framing her purely as a passive victim and ignoring the slut shaming they are being complicit in the idea only good girls matter. Wilson may or may not be the worlds most evil person. That is irrelevant to the fact the girl involved will have to return to school in september to face the language of the court room thrown at her. Of being the wrong type of girl, of indulging in the wrong type of behaviour. It is not just the lawyers in this case either, others are weighing in, saying ” Disgusting tho’ these men are, frankly the girls are often not much better – and no shrieking martyrs.” Not much better? Why for the evil crime of being a teenage girl with sexual desire? Do you have to be a martyr for a crime against you to matter? Do you have to be a virgin for a sexual assault to take place? Do you have to not have any sexual experience for the state to think you count? The sexual freedom I have now is one I dreamed of as a teenager. Both adult woman and teenager are judged less worthy for wanting that freedom.
By petitioning for longer sentences and going into another frenzy of peadohunting not only is the girl in this case not helped but neither are thousands like her. Girls like me, who may have wanted love, affection and sex in darker places, but deserved to be treated no differently because of where that search takes them. We need to change the whole attitude that sexual behaviour is in any way relevant here, and framing the debate in one narrow set of ideas will not do that.
andy for those who don’t know him, the one and only person I have ever written fan mail too.