Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Travesty of justice: Kevin Ibbs remembered

One of our readers, men's rights advocate Gwallan, brought up the name Kevin Ibbs in a comment to another post. Most Americans have never heard of Mr. Ibbs, but his tragic story is worth telling.

In September 2008, Kevin Ibbs was found dead under a bridge, his life in shambles since the 1980s when a woman named Christine Elizabeth Watson accused him of failing to withdraw for thirty seconds after she withdrew conent. Mr. Ibbs was sentenced to four years imprisonment for that purported thirty second transgression, but was released after six months. In 1997, Ms. Watson admitted to police that she and Mr Ibbs’ ex-wife, Katrina Ann Carter, "had set him up" -- get this -- "to get him out of the house they had all been living in." According to the news report about his death: "Both women were convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and each spent seven months in jail. Mr Ibbs was acquitted in 2001 and the case became widely regarded as a travesty of justice. Mr Ibbs’ career had been ruined, his health had been affected and the case had cost him more than one million dollars. He recently appeared in the Mandurah Magistrates Court and was on bail for firearms-related offences at the time of his death. He was 56 years old."

Ibbs was one of the first to be charged under a new law which made continued penetration without consent aggravated sexual assault. It's interesting to note: "Another of the early cases involved a man who was also wrongfully convicted and eventually compensated." Big surprise. Go figure.

In 2001, after Mr. Ibbs was finally acquitted, four years after it was revealed he'd been set up (yet another example of our system correcting wrongs to the falsely accused at something worse than a snail's pace), he told an interviewer that he found no solace in it. Another big surprise there. "I'm the original living dead - the tissue on the outside's alive but there's nothing inside. That's it. It's gone for that long that the poison's just eaten it away." He was asked how his time behind bars changed him: "Whenever there's a rape anywhere, you're waiting for the knock on the door. Please explain where you were. I've had the task force come through and luckily I was living with my Uncle and he said where I was. I didn't have to say anything. He said no, he's been here." He related the cost of his ordeal: "It's cost me over a million and a quarter . . .. My life - 14 years - they can't give that back to me. I haven't seen my daughter for 14 years. I've been ruined as a tradesman and I don't know how my health is." Oh, and he received no compensation for his ordeal. Of course.

How many more cases like this must we report to illustrate the frightening power women hold over men and boys with uncorroborated tales of sexual misconduct? A man's life was destroyed, literally, by a calculated conspiracy designed to get him out of the house. The women were sentenced to seven months (who knows how long they actually served) in exchange for destroying a life. The ultimate lesson is that so long as women are permitted to destroy men and boys with rape lies without serious punishment -- rape lies told for selfish and petty ends -- there will be more and more victims like Kevin Ibbs.

The case also raises a disturbing question about proportionality in sentencing. The sexual act started out consensually. Even if the accuser's story were true, Mr. Ibbs failed to withdraw for thirty seconds. Thirty seconds. Yet he was sentenced to four years in prison, and his life was destroyed forever. Do the math: thirty seconds, versus the rest of a man's life. Has our zero tolerance for all male sex crimes eaten away our ability to deal fairly? Whatever happened to the concept that the punishment must fit the crime? I promise you that countless young men have burglarized homes or robbed convenience stores and received lesser sentences, and that for many of those, their lives haven't been destroyed by the stigma of their crimes. Rape, aggravated sexual assault and similar offenses carry a stigma unlike any other. Sadly, our criminal justice system just doesn't care about that.

Thirty seconds? Hell, that's nothing. Remember Maoloud Baby, the 16-year-old boy who was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman in the back of her car? In that case, the woman testified that she told the boy he could have sex with her if he stopped when she told him to, but she claimed that when she yelled for him to stop, he continued for five to 10 seconds. He did not ejaculate but withdrew. He and his "victim" drove to a McDonalds, they hugged, she gave him her phone number, and he left. The boy was convicted of first degree rape and other offenses for delaying withdrawal for as little as five seconds.

Folks, our system is broken when things like this can even get to a jury. It comes down to this: as a culture, we need to grow up. We need to stop regarding human beings with penises as armed and dangerous. We need to stop using the first available pair of balls as an excuse to make a statement about purported female oppression and subjugation. It's time rape feminists realized that if they truly want women to be empowered and regarded as full and equal members of the human race, they have to stop pretending women are powerless. And women need to be held fully accountable when they do terrible things like lie about rape.