By KEVIN MYERS
Tuesday May 05 2009
There seems to be no empathy, no regard, no compassion for male victims.
And the case of Michael Hannon is particularly shocking
I looked, and of course, I looked in vain, for some sign of compassion for Michael Feichin Hannon, from our state-supported feminist quangos. I shouldn't have been surprised about their silence over the grave injustice done to him: yet some small stupid part of me had retained the naïve hope that there might be some sign of ordinary human decency from our professional gender-industry.
Gender self-pity is now so deeply ingrained in the political psyche of the institutions of this State that it is apparently quite invisible to those who run them. We have lived in a political regime with a one-way rage for two decades now; and like the vegetation on a wind-blasted island, the landscape of our public morality has been utterly distorted by it. We have created a state-subsidised chorus of feminist sirens which only howls when it sees the cases that confirm that women alone are the victims of endless oppression. Naturally, the sirens -- and their colleagues in the media -- resolutely ignore those cases which provide contradictory evidence.
Now, a few weeks ago I was confident that the various state-subsidised feminist quangos -- from the Rape Crisis Centres, to the National Council of Women, to the Equality Authority -- would say nothing about the preposterously light sentence of seven years for the serial rape of a 14-year-old boy by his mother, and I was right. The fact that the judge was a woman was no doubt a factor in their silence. Her explanation for the light sentence -- that the Edwardian law was more heavily biased against paternal incest was both tendentious and spurious: for the charge of sexual assault alone carries a maximum of 14 years' imprisonment.
It's possible that I missed some condemnation of the sentence by the vast army of feminist-commentators and feminist quangos: but if I did, it wasn't for want of trying. But imagine the outcry -- and very properly -- if a man who had raped and sexually abused his 14-year-old daughter was sentenced to just seven years' imprisonment by a male judge.
What troubles me most about these feminist institutions, and the feminists who run them -- not all of them women by any means -- is the double standards which are now a norm. There seems to be no empathy, no regard, no compassion for male victims. So the case of Michael Hannon is particularly shocking, not merely because it could so easily happen again, but because of the lack of outcry resulting from it. Twelve years ago this innocent young man was framed by a malicious 10-year-old girl, Una Hardester, and duly found guilty of assault and sexual assault. His life could have been ruined. That it wasn't was because his family believed in his innocence.
That same year, three young Irish soldiers on holiday in Cyprus were similarly accused by an Irish girl. Only 15 hours later, after the men had been arrested on charges of rape, and under questioning from a detective who doubted her allegations, did the accuser break down and admit that her claims were baseless. She was sentenced to four months imprisonment.
Cue, outcry from Irish feminists, not over the attempt by a young Irishwoman to use the proper loathing for the crime of rape to ruin the lives of three innocent men, but because she was imprisoned at all. Condemning the jail sentence, Olive Braiden of the Rape Crisis Centre, said it would deter rape victims from reporting cases, and anyway, there was more to this case "than met the eye": whatever that cheap slur might mean. Anne O'Donnell, formerly of the Rape Crisis Centre, similarly dismissed the seriousness of the false allegations of rape, and, briefly appointing herself as both judge and jury in some hypothetical Cypriot court, declared that the woman's word alone would never have been enough to have secured a rape conviction. Ah. So that's all right then.
Fast forward to the Hannon case. Racked with guilt, Una Hardester returned from the US nearly three years ago to admit to her false allegations. Her sworn statement was known to An Garda Siochana and the office of the Director Public Prosecutions. But, quite scandalously, it was never passed to Michael Hannon's solicitor. Michael only discovered its existence purely by chance, after his sister encountered Hardester at a petrol station. Thus, no petrol, no justice. And it gets worse. For this state then flatly refused to declare that a miscarriage had been done. Michael Hannon, having once been the victim of the law, was then obliged to return to the courts to fight for a certificate of miscarriage of justice, which the Court of Appeal issued last week.
Now, we can be quite certain if a woman had been so gravely wronged by the State in some matter relating to sexual crime, that the feminist sirens, media and quangos alike, would have been howling in anger, and demanding enquiries and heads. But in the aftermath of this case, nothing: the sirens remained as quiet as a mountain lake. For the victim is a man, so really, the injustice done to him really doesn't count. Not in 1997, not today, and no doubt, not in 2019 either.
- KEVIN MYERS