I've watched it grow - from a tweet on my time line from a court reporting account; through discussions about whether it could possibly be an accurate depiction of what was said in court; and counsel about confusing 'summing up the prosecution' with 'the views of the judge' to full-blown coverage on the evening news (where, incidentally, fuller transcript releases showed both to be horrendous).
So let's look at those. I'd like to start by directing your attention towards two posts on Sometimes It's Just a Cigar. The first dissecting the ruling; the second discussing the fact that, hey! Guess what? Sometimes 13 year olds want sex!
Because it is possible to hold both of these views: That girls can desire sex, and that is not shameful. And that adult men should not take advantage of them.
Is space to explore and develop sexuality, free from abuse, so much to ask?
There is another good point here - the way in which the debate around adolescent female sexuality is framed around notions of 'bad girls' and 'good girls'. Who gets which label has something to do with their sexual proclivities; but it is also tied to class.
it's not possible to abuse them. They're predatory, up for it, taking advantage of the men they encounter.
The result? A privileged group of (mostly white, male) judges and lawyers who can see and conceptualise that it would be 'wrong' for an adult to take advantage of a 'good' young girl (meaning usually white, middle class, educated). But they have already made up their minds about the 'bad' girls: it's not possible to abuse them. They're predatory, up for it, taking advantage of the men they encounter.
On the same day that the Independent has the Neil Wilson case on its homepage, it also prominently features an article aboutgirl gangs.
These are young women who epitomise some of the 'bad girl' stereotypes. Hell, the article is subtitled "the real Bad Girls" after the TV series. And rape and sexual abuse is part of everyday life: "Rape is used for everything," says Melody..."It's used in initiation. It's used for fun if people are bored. It's used if you refuse to do something. If you f*** something up. Anything. ... I know a girl who got gang raped by 12 men." Did she report it to the police? Melody's look is eloquent. The answer is no."
Why would they?
The police, court system, judges, may as well be part of a different world. Their reality would never be acknowledged in the legal system; the narrative runs like this: these girls are not like us. They choose lifestyles that come with abuse. They want sex more than 'good' women so it doesn't matter if they are raped, they'll get over it. They're 'hard'. They're violent. They're predatory.
And so the systems that are supposed to be there to protect and support people just trample them down further. I'd love to say this will be the last time we'll hear a lawyer or judge make remarks like those in the Wilson case.
It won't be.