We enjoy relative privileges being women in a progressive nation like Britain. I write relative in comparison to places like Saudi Arabia, where women can be stoned to death for having an affair and are banned from driving. Even so, in the UK we still get paid less than men doing the same job. We are conditioned from birth to believe our value lies in our ability to attract and please men. We face discrimination and the threat of sexual violence on a daily basis.
And yet week on week, we are still reading stories like this one, of a man who raped a 12-year-old girl but was let off by the judge without any punishment.
Daniel Cieslak, 21, met the girl in a taxi queue in Edinburgh in July 2015. He claims he believed she was 16, and burst into tears when police later revealed her true age to him.
He admitted to the rape. And yet the judge, Lady Scott, took the “wholly exceptional decision” not to charge him at all at the High Court in Glasgow where the case was heard.
“I do not consider there is any need for, or public interest in, punishment. To do so would in my view be disproportionate given the nature of the criminal culpability here,” she told the court.
Except, of course, it being very much in the public interest to have clear punishments for men having sex with girls who are still children. Children are not consenting adults, hence the act of sleeping with a child is always rape.
Its hard to be grateful for being a woman in Britain when this sort of lenience is granted.