An 11-year-old New Zealand boy was reported Saturday to have fathered a child with the 36-year-old mother of a school friend, raising questions on why women cannot be charged with rape in the country.
Counsellors working in the area of child sexual abuse said the case highlighted a lack of attention to women as potential offenders, according to the New Zealand Herald, which reported the story. The case has also prompted an examination of the law, under which the crime of rape applies only to men. Justice Minister Judith Collins said she would investigate, the paper reported.
“This case raises an important point. I will seek advice from officials on whether or not a law change is required”, Collins said.
The woman and boy, whose names were not released, live in the main North Island district of Auckland. The boy’s school principal told the New Zealand Herald that he was shocked when the child told him what was happening. “You won’t be very happy with me”, he recalled the boy saying late last year. He said he had been having sex with his friend’s mother “and it needs to stop”.
The organisation Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse said if the case is proved then the woman should be held accountable.
Under New Zealand law, the crime of rape applies only to men and carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years. Women who force a male to have sex face a charge of sexual violation which carries a maximum 14-year sentence.
According to the newspaper, government welfare officials — who took the baby into care about two months ago — confirmed they were dealing with a case at the boy’s school and that it was before the courts, but refused to comment further. The police also refused to comment. The Herald reported that the young father, who has now turned 12, was also understood to have been taken into care.