As we know from the media, a group of about a dozen 17-year-old youths in Melbourne s-xually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in a most degrading way, filmed the assault and proudly posted some of it on the Internet.

They made DVDs which were sold in schools. The girl and most of the youths are identifiable on the DVD. Nobody has been charged. The question arises as to whether the media should publish excerpts from the DVD that may identify the youths.

Progressive lawyer John North (Crikey yesterday) says that the criminals (he calls them “minors”) should be protected. He says the crime was caused by “modern technology”, stupidity, peer group pressure, lack of understanding of the victim’s feelings. He says these are the reasons that the law has to protect the youths from themselves.

He says that they should not be identified because they will be subject to “vilification within their own community” and this is something the criminal law avoids.

Well, so much for the protection of the criminals. Not much in his comments about the protection of this girl in particular and women in general.

These very male comments exemplify the problem. Men just do not get it (refer “Catsmeat” al-Hilaly). North should be demanding that (as the girl’s father said) the criminals suffer the full force of the law. The law itself already provides adequate protection for criminals, but not much for young female victims.

Should the media publish the images? Of course they should. If these criminals suffer shame and vilification in their own communities, they will learn that such conduct is totally unacceptable. Better still, other young criminals with similar views of women might think twice if they are to be exposed and shamed before their families and friends. Protecting these criminals only encourages them.

Lawyers with views like North dominate the legal profession in Victoria. One can understand why Attorney-General Hulls appoints so many women to the bench.