Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gender equity in action

If your minor son is statutorily raped by a woman which causes her to become pregnant, he will be liable for child support if the rapist decides to have the baby -- which means, you will have to pay for your son's child.

The underlying message is that boys who are raped are not totally innocent. The law considers them in some sense culpable. But this rule only applies to boys.

The prohibition against "victim blaming" has no application to them.

In the case of County of San Luis Obispo v. Nathaniel J., 57 Cal. Rptr. 2d 843 (Ct. App. 1996), a thirty-four-year-old woman had sex with a fifteen-year-old boy and became pregnant. The woman was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor -- commonly called statutory rape. SHE decided to have the child, and after she gave birth to her daughter, she received Aid for Families with Dependent Children -- and the county sought reimbursement for the AFDC payments from the father, the 15-year-old boy. The court held that the boy, a statutory rape victim, was financially liable for the child that resulted from his victimization.

This case is not alone: "Two state supreme courts and several state appellate courts have ruled that male statutory rape victims can be financially liable for supporting a child resulting from their criminal victimization." R. Jones, ARTICLE: INEQUALITY FROM GENDER-NEUTRAL LAWS: WHY MUST MALE VICTIMS OF STATUTORY RAPE PAY CHILD SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN RESULTING FROM THEIR VICTIMIZATION? 36 Ga. L. Rev. 411 (2002). (I do love the title of that law review article -- it correctly asserts that the boys are the victims.)

There are no reported cases where female victims of statutory rape have been held to a similar support obligation, obviously because THEY have the option of an abortion.