Tag Archives: sexual assault

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.

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Anonymised incident reporting – a way forward for our disciplinary processes

Last Spring, I spoke against our party’s disciplinary motion. “Our party aims to be agents of change and we do so by producing progressive policy’, I nervously spluttered, my first ever time speaking in that bright-lit yet mustardy stage-space. So it is a natural progression then, that this Autumn conference I have submitted my first ever amendment. Heart palpitations aside, I am hoping to positively reform the Party’s disciplinary procedures, so that we can take an innovative and user-led approach to tackling the scourge of sexual harassment and assault.

My proposed system, Anonymised Incident Reporting (AIR) maximizes complainant control when reporting or logging an offence, offering victims a variety of ways to anonymously detail what has happened to them or what they have been witness to. 

To summarise, AIR allows survivors of sexual assault to securely create encrypted, time-stamped records of their assault, and to only formally hand their report to the party as a full complaint when they’re ready to take action. It encrypts all information on both the complainant and assailant, and offers victims multiple options in how they handle their report and whether to turn it into a formal complaint. 

Callisto describes itself as “a non profit organisation that develops tech to combat sexual assault and harassment.”

A year after deciding to report my assault, I ended up finding the process of reporting to be more traumatic than the event itself. Feeling not believed by the people who I thought were there to project me was incredibly destabilizing.

said its creator Jessica Ladd.

An AIR system would allow the party to offer some initial support and advice to anonymous victims both about how they move forward with their report and what other support they can seek.

I, along with others, have developed these ideas along similar lines to the Callisto system used on US college campuses – the technology is now available and using encryption we can give more and better options to survivors. This amendment is nonetheless intentionally open-ended about some of the precise details of the system, in order that we can move towards an AIR system that is well researched and workable for all those concerned. It therefore offers the party scope to see what they are able to adopt, whilst pushing for a radical new approach that puts victims’ agency and their choices at the heart of our disciplinary procedures.

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Why I’m not going to castigate Jeremy Corbyn over women only train carriages

Twitter is having one of its more febrile moments over Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for women-only train carriages.

I actually think that there are reasons to praise Corbyn for floating the idea.

First of all, it’s pretty good to see a male politician think that the issue of sexual assault on public transport is an important one that we should do something about. Where were the other politicians, including Liberal Democrats, when the statistics showing showing an increase in reported sexual assaults came out last week?

Secondly, look at what Corbyn actually said:

Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women only carriages.

My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 117 Comments

Opinion: Sexual Assault and Fear of Sexual Assault: A Civil Liberties Issue

I recently went to the Lake District for a short break. I was walking alone in a relatively remote area with no one much around and when going through a small campsite a man came out and stared persistently as I went past. The thought went through my mind I wonder if he’s going to follow me. He didn’t, but I sat down some yards on and the thought dawned on me that for virtually my entire life I have had to process the risks of sometimes travelling alone, walking in remote places alone and going home late alone. That’s when I decided to write this article for LDV.

When I was at university there was a serial rapist on the loose in Bristol so we were told to ‘be careful’’ Friends at a better university down the road had to deal with a similar scenario. Every once in a while, and certainly too often, we hear of a woman who has disappeared after leaving a nightclub, a scenario that usually ends in tragedy. Those of us old enough may remember the fate of Rachel Nickell some years ago, innocently jogging on Wimbledon Common in broad daylight. This situation represents a basic infringement of women’s human rights. Women are used to making risk assessments all the time, about where it’s safe to go, particularly late at night, by what mode of transport and in what clothes, but why should we have to?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments
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    N Hunter - I'm not sure that the identification of "women's issues" would go down well with a liberal audience, and I don't think that...
  • User AvatarMary Reid 23rd Jan - 10:25pm
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