Friday, September 11, 2009

But she's a girl!!!

It has recently been announced that the prosecution in the upcoming trial of Melissa Huckaby for the kidnapping, rape, and murder Sandra Cantu will be seeking the death penalty.

However it seems that there are people who are still having a hard time getting their minds around the idea that a woman can commit a sex crime against and kill a child.

If you recall a while back I spoke on the shock of a woman doing such a thing. But as it was then the shock is not that the evidence might not be pointing to Huckaby. The shock is that no one wants to believe that a woman can commit a sex crime against a child and then kill the child. If you look at that post from a while back you'll see the disbelief is back up by sexist beliefs about women not being capable of violence and misleading "stats and evidence". And this article is no different. I'm gonna break down this latest example of refusing to let go of the old gender roles and assumptions.

Tracy police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said dozens of callers a day have insisted that Huckaby could not have acted alone, that no mother would rape another's child, that the scenario was too improbable to be true. The case is so striking that police initially shared the public's reaction.
So we have people calling in insisting that the mother must have had an accomplice in the crimes she is being charged with. No mother would rape another's (I'm sure that is another mother) child and that the scenario was too improbable they. And the police seem to agree with the sentiment. The proof of their insistence? Nothing but the assurance that a woman would not do this.

"When investigators were first looking at this they went 'Huh, no way... Who did she work with?"' Sheneman said. "We got that info and said 'there's no way, that doesn't happen."'
Tracy police Sgt. Tony Sheneman commenting on investigators starting with the assumption that there must have been a man involved. Well they didn't say man but this plus the obviously present assumption that a woman would never do such a thing leads one to conclude that they are assuming male involvement.

Women represent only 1 percent of all adult arrests for forcible rape and 6 percent of all adult arrests for other sex offenses, according to a Department of Justice report.

When they do commit sex crimes, women often are acting as accomplices to men, and their victims tend to be teenagers, said David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire Crimes against Children Research Center.

"It's very, very rare for women to molest children, and when they molest children it's very unusual for them to molest a child of this age," Finkelhor said. "It's unusual for women to kill children who are not their own."
When all else fails quote some numbers. Now while it is so that women do not commit forcible rapes as often as men it is extremely unfair to take that stat, apply it to an individual crime, and conclude that a woman could not have done it. When it comes to other crimes like robbery people are quick to point out the racism in assuming a person of color (but not the sexism of mostly assuming men of color specifically) but when it comes to violent crimes like sex crimes and murder investigators go straight to calling the perpetrator "him" even without gender specific evidence.

Now don't get me wrong. It is very possible that there is a male perpetrator involved in this horrible crime but it seems like its not a matter of "hey we have some evidence that leads us to believe that a male was involved". No we are hearing a whole lot of "Oh my! What a gruesome crime! The main suspect is a woman? Noooooooo!!!! A woman would never do such a thing. A man MUST be involved some way or some how. If they find a male suspect then so be it but if one comes up I wonder how many people will openly say that are glad that it was a male after all.
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