When is Rape Not Rape?

You know the answer. Never. Rape is rape is rape.

When J shared the following article with me last night, I felt compelled to write about it.

Trigger warning

A registered nurse who had sexual liaisons with three teenage boys has been sentenced to a year’s home detention.

Aroha Veronica Webber, 41, was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court today after earlier pleading guilty to six charges of unlawful sexual connection with the 15-year-olds.

Her counsel, Paul Mabey, QC, submitted if they had been a year older no carnal crime would have been committed. She had not sexually groomed the boys.

He outlined how they had gathered at Webber’s home when she was in a fragile state following her marriage breakdown. As a result of this she had “hit the booze” and the offending had occurred, Mr Mabey said.

She had allowed the boys into her home rather than see them wandering the streets.

Webber strenuously denied a claim in a victim impact statement that one of the boys had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from her.

“She is a registered nurse, she knows her own body’s health,” Mr Mabey submitted.

Judge James Weir also discounted the allegation. He noted her offending had been entirely out of character and had occurred when she was “disinhibited” by alcohol.

Nurse sentenced for sex with teens

Now let’s step back for a moment. Imagine the accused is instead a 41-year-old male, and the victims are 15-year-girls.

“[If the victims] had been a year older no carnal crime would have been committed” certainly would not be seen as a valid excuse.  It didn’t happen in a years time, or with 16-year-olds, it happened now, with 15 year olds.  A 15-year-old is legally unable to consent to any sexual activity. Age of Consent It's not just a suggestion!

It doesn’t matter that the victims entered the accused’s home voluntarily. That doesn’t mean they automatically consent to anything that happens within the home, even if they weren’t minors.

As for the accused denying that it was possible that one of the victims contracted a STD from the encounter because “she is a registered nurse, she knows her own body’s health”, then she would also know that STDs/STIs can be asymptomatic. She could have been a carrier for the disease/infection without knowing. That’s why sexual health checks are important, along with PROTECTED sexual activity, which obviously didn’t happen in this case.

Would the judge had accepting that the accused “was ‘disinhibited’ by alcohol” (‘disinhibited’ isn’t a word by the way, it should be ‘uninhibited’), and that it was “entirely out of character”? I understand that a marriage breakdown is a stressful time, but that doesn’t give you a free pass. What if something more serious had happened, what if this was a murder trial? Would being “‘disinhibited’ by alcohol”, having a marriage breakdown, and it being “entirely out of character” be mitigating factors? Just because she hasn’t been accused before doesn’t mean this is the first time something like this has happened (admit it, you’d think the same thing if she was actually a male).

And what’s with the sentence of home detention? The offending happened AT HER HOME.

This whole thing is just all kinds of wrong… what kind of justice is this?

~~ Feel so dirty after looking for appropriate images for this post… Need to go cleanse myself… I’m so disappointed in humanity.~~

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