Learning from women: tears will gain you forgiveness for all your crimes

A 35-year-old woman planned and carried out a series of rapes of a 12-year-old boy. A news headline explained that she had engaged in “clandestine sex trysts” with the boy. The headline reported that she “burst into tears” at her criminal sentencing. Can you imagine such a headline describing a 35-year-old man raping a 12-year-old girl?

Former Ravens Cheerleader Completes Weekend Jail Time For Rape Of Teen Boy.” She was 49. He was 15. If a 49-year-old man had raped a 15-year-old girl, would he have been sentenced just to weekend jail time?

A 35-year-old English teacher raped a student eight times in the classroom and in a car. The teacher was sentenced to 10 years of probation. The teacher-perpetrator was a woman, and the student-victim was a boy. Do you think that gender pattern biased the criminal sentence?

While mainstream media and legal authorities largely ignore gender bias in the criminal justice system, ordinary persons are starting to notice the terrible injustice of gender-biased criminal justice. Suppose a woman rapes a boy. Suppose the rapist gets pregnant, doesn’t chose to have an abortion, doesn’t chose to legally abandon the child, and doesn’t chose to put the child up for adoption. Under what kind of justice system would the rape victim then be legally forced to make large monthly payments to his rapist? That happens under the U.S. justice system, and probably under other justice systems around the world.

Grass-roots activists have interpreted gender injustice in new ways that are far more significant than the gender ratio in particular employment categories. The point, however, is to change gender injustice. For that task, the medieval Latin masterpiece Speculum stultorum provides vital guidance. With freedom of speech that probably would not be acceptable today, that medieval Latin work boldly described cloistered nuns in England:

They’re serpent-bodied, siren-voiced, with breasts
of dragons, Paris’s heart, Susanna’s charms.
But still they have one motion that rebuts all,
a ceaseless flow of tears before their God.
With these they pray to God and win his grace,
with these they cleanse their hearts of all their crimes.
{ Corpore serpentes, sirenes voce, dracones
pectore, Susanna smigmate, corde Paris.
Sed tamen illud habent, unum quod cuncta refellit,
ante Deum lacrimas quae sine lege fluunt.
His Dominum placant semper veniamque merentur,
his sua cunta lavant crimina, quicquid agunt. }

Men too deserve forgiveness for all their crimes. To achieve gender equality with women, men must cry openly and profusely in the face of appalling injustices against men.

God hears the cries of the poor, even while gynocratic society ignores them.


The above quote is from Nigellus Wireker, Mirror of Fools {Speculum stultorum} ll. 2379-84, Latin text from Mozley & Raymo (1960) p. 67. I’ve adapted the English translation from Regenos (1959) p. 114.

[image] Woman crying. Image created by the U.S. Marine Corps for National Domestic Violence Awareness month in 2009. Via Wikimedia Commons. The U.S. criminal justice system gender-profiles men for arrest for domestic violence. The U.S. also administers separate and highly gender-unequal services for victims of domestic violence.


Mozley, John H., and Robert R. Raymo, ed. 1960. Nigellus Wireker. Speculum stultorum. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Regenos, Graydon W, trans. 1959. Nigellus Wireker. The book of Daun Burnel the ass: Nigellus Wireker’s Speculum stultorum. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Article published under CC license.

Recommended Content

%d bloggers like this: