Tag Archives: rape

Rape victims should not have to hand over phones to get justice

Yesterday’s news that victims of rape and sexual assault in England and Wales are among those who could be required to hand over their phones for scrutiny as a precondition for getting justice is a very worrying development.

It is hardly going to encourage people to come forward if they have to allow Police to trawl through their entire public and private social media and many will fear that material which is entirely unrelated to the offence could be used in evidence. You also need to take into consideration that messages sent could be used to imply consent that simply was not there at the time the offence was committed.

Victims fear that giving defence lawyers access to their data will simply mean that they will face the sort of character assassinations in court that women who dared to wear short skirts in public used to get.

There is nothing about a person’s clothing or behaviour that ever justifies rape. End of.

What has been interesting is that many of the usual media suspects have published articles opposing this policy.

An anonymous writer int he Guardian describe her experience.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 29 Comments

Alison McInnes questions comments of rape trial judge

Last week, I read a blog post by legal expert Andrew Tickell which horrified me. That post, and the judgment of the Appeal Court to which it refers had me feeling sick and shaking, so be aware that it contains some horrible details of rape of adults and children  and the sexual abuse of a child before you click on it. The judgment was for an appeal by the prosecution in a case of rape and sexual abuse which ultimately had the rapist’s prison sentence raised from five to eight years.

The judgment drew attention to remarks made by the trial judge which belittled the rape and suggesting that the victims had acquiesced to or condoned the rapes and that they were minor.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes has taken this up with one of Scotland’s most senior judges as Scottish Legal News reports:

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Opinion: “Victim-blaming” 101: why sexual assault is different to other crimes

Sussex Police has produced a campaign poster encouraging women to stick together on a night out to reduce their chances of sexual assault. There are so many ways this poster is stupid: it perpetuates the myth of stranger rape as the only “real rape” (an idea which helps acquaintance rapists get away with it over and over again), it ignores male victims of rape, and it suggests women should fear sexual assault more than they value their sexual liberty.

But there’s only one issue I want to address now. On Monday, Caron Lindsay called the poster “victim-blaming”: she was right, and it’s worth explaining why victim-blaming is so much more harmful in cases of sexual assault than other forms of crime.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 46 Comments

Why are police forces getting away with misogynistic, victim-blaming rape prevention campaigns?

I was horrified to hear this afternoon that Sussex Police are launching a campaign to encourage women to stay together to avoid the possibility of rape and sexual assault. This is what they tweeted last week:

So, now your friends come above the perpetrator of any crime when there’s blame to be handed out.

Looking a bit further afield, I found the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Be Smart campaign, which is even worse. Three quarters of the page is taken up with advice for women like:

Would you go alone into a stranger’s house at 11am in the morning? No? So why do it at 2am drunk? Arrange to meet new acquaintances when sober.

It’s the sort of victim blaming nonsense that is counter-productive. Going to someone’s house is not a crime. Raping somebody is against the law. If you had been raped, how likely would you be to report what had happened to you if you thought you might be judged and blamed for the crime that you had been subjected to? I thought we’d moved on from that. To add insult to injury, as an afterthought, there’s an “And for guys” bit at the bottom of the page, reminding them that “rape convictions last forever.” The effects of being rape are pretty much a life sentence, too, you know.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 100 Comments

Rape anonymity for the accused: well-intentioned but wrong

Nigel EvansRape anonymity — the right of the accused in rape cases to have their identity kept secret — is in the news again today, after Conservative MP and deputy speaker Nigel Evans was named publicly following his arrest on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.

The Coalition Agreement said the Government would ‘extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants’. Though the pledge hadn’t been included in either party’s manifestos, it was Lib Dem policy, agreed at the 2006 party conference. The Lib Dems’ then home office minister Lynne Featherstone …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Opinion: Sex education must be reformed to combat sexual abuse

This post carries a trigger warning for domestic abuse, sexual assault and rape. 

The author’s name has been changed to protect her identity. 

The allegations of Jimmy Savile’s serial sexual abuse of young girls have been met with universal outrage. It has helped many more women to speak up about their own horrific stories. Rape and sexual harassment happens to women daily across the country, the majority of whom never speak up.

I was raped by a friend from university earlier this year. He never apologised and I suffered abuse from his friends worse than the incident itself. They routinely mimicked my screams …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 25 Comments

Lynne Featherstone MP writes… George Galloway’s comments on rape are totally unacceptable, and they have an effect

In recent days, on both sides of the Atlantic, there have been not one, but two expressions of the kind of attitudes on rape you had hoped died with the Dark Ages.

First, a US Republican Senate Candidate, Todd Akin, suggested that most women do not become pregnant after being raped as their body can, and I quote, ‘shut that whole thing down’.

Then Britain’s own George Galloway, while offering his opinions on the Julian Assange case, took it upon himself to assert that certain acts of sexual violence are nothing more than ‘bad manners’, and that having …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 49 Comments

Opinion: It’s time for Assange to stop using WikiLeaks as a smokescreen

On Friday, three women in Russia were handed two year prison sentences for walking into a Moscow cathedral and performing a three minute protest song about the rotten state of their government, led by one man (Putin) in some shape or other, for nearly 13 years. The verdict has been condemned by the UK, US and German governments, human rights groups and the EU, who see this as a real test of Russia’s and Vladimir Putin’s credentials as a the leader of a ‘democratic’ state, something that has been …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 102 Comments

Paddick: some Met detectives adopt a “she wants it really” attitude to women alleging rape

The Lib Dems’ London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick is interviewed in today’s Guardian, and has some strong words for his former employers, the Metropolitan police:

Paddick warns that some detectives adopt a “she wants it really” attitude to women alleging rape and sometimes refuse to acknowledge that some types of men, such as licensed cab drivers, can be rapists.

The former deputy assistant commissioner is placing the Met’s mixed performance on dealing with rape at the heart of his campaign as the Liberal Democrat candidate in May’s London mayoral election. Paddick, who told the Leveson inquiry this week that he toned

Posted in London and News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

PMQs: Broadcast the Prime Ministerial Test Card

He’s been one of the safest pairs of ministerial hands over decades. But he dropped a serious brick during a Five Live interview this morning. Then he wouldn’t answer his phone even when it was Number Ten trying to urgently contact him. Then the Leader of the Opposition called for his sacking at Prime Minister’s Questions. Then Number 10 went ballistic and sent him out to do another round of media interviews to try to mitigate the damage. It was quite a day in the life of one Rt. Hon Kenneth Harry “Ken” Clarke QC MP.

When the Prime Minister has …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments
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