Michelle Martinez (formerly known as Miguel) has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for sexually assaulting (it appears to be actual rape) a 10-year-old girl in a bathroom. Martinez denied the charges saying it was a “publicity stunt,” and that the girl was “talking crap.”
Martinez was reported to the police by the mother directly after the attack. The child was taken to the hospital where she was examined and the nurses found that she had indeed been sexually assaulted.
And while we are all rightly horrified by this violation of a child, it begs a larger question. Martinez identifies as a woman, but does that mean that she is one?
Will Martinez be sentenced to go to a female prison? Is this safe for the other inmates? Or will she be sent to a male prison (and doubtless become yet another campaign)?
I firmly believe that if someone wants to be treated in the way they identify themselves then we should treat them that way…It's just common courtesy. But with that comes a certain amount of responsibility. The next part will be graphic, so please don't continue reading if you find this too distressing:
If someone who identifies as a woman uses their penis to sexually assault someone, they forfeit the right to be treated as a woman. It costs us nothing to treat that person as a woman in their everyday lives, but rape with a penis is a male thing. Martinez has just forfeited the right to be regarded a woman.
It also brings to the forefront the question of “gender-neutral” bathrooms.
Martinez is not the norm, let's not fall into that trap. But the issues raised in this case need to be examined carefully, otherwise, we will have more of these violent sexual assaults. The courts, for once, got this dead right.