There's nothing better than a bit of sexual assault and injustice to cheer one up on a Sunday. My jaw is on the floor after reading this over at Pickled Politics. If you haven't read the story yet prepare yourself for a shock. I thought I'd clicked on The Onion by mistake but no!
'A judge was accused yesterday of appalling insensitivity towards women after allowing a sex attacker to avoid jail on the condition that he write a letter of apology to his victim.'
I would have thought that a jail sentence might be in order for this type of offence but unlike the judge I have overlooked the 'cultural' aspect of this. The rapist in question is Indian, naive and apparently unfamiliar with western values, despite spending four years at university in America. Good God what next a summing up where the judge explains the accused is a 'negro' and therefore unable to control his 'animal' urges? It's about the only thing I could think of that would be more stupid, irresponsible and racist.
I want to chuck my tuppence worth in here from a slightly different angle. There is much made of the poor conviction rate for rape. In England and Wales of the 11,766 rapes reported there were only 655 convictions. The law demands that juries convict only when they believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. This creates a problem when one considers that most rapists are known to the victim and it is a crime that is very rarely witnessed. In other words it is very difficult for a jury to establish with any level of certainty what took place in the absence of any obvious signs of violence.
It seems clear to me that the law offers inadequate protection against rape and whilst I think reforms that allow for 'degrees of rape' and longer sentences would improve matters, I don't think the law alone is sufficient. Ideally rapists would learn to behave but let's face it there isn't much incentive for them to do so when the odds are so heavily in favour of them getting away with it. It then falls to women to establish how best to avoid rape. Before everyone starts leaping up and down and accusing me of blaming victims, I don't believe anyone deserves to raped and whilst one can always be unlucky, there are certain steps one can take to avoid it.
For example the case of the naive rapist above, involved him raping one of three drunk women he'd taken back to his hotel room. Now imagine if we all agreed that going back home or to a hotel with a man was consent to sex and therefore didn't do it unless one was in the mood? That isn't blaming women, it's telling men that until they all learn to behave, first night sex is cancelled. It's not fair but nature is like that. Hence why women can abort a pregnancy, lie about paternity, sell the baby on the internet or deny access whether men like it or not.
Of course being a woman addicted to learning things the hard way, I only arrived at that conclusion after being raped in similar circumstances. In my defence I was underage and under the impression that I could act as I like without consequence. Which I could have done if everyone behaved ethically, but they don't. That's why we should look both ways when crossing the road, keep our wallet in an inside pocket, lock our front doors and refrain from being alone with strange men.
I'm also a bit concerned by this notion that has sprung up that drunk women are incapable of consenting to sex. No gentleman would fuck a semi-comatose drunk, but who considers themselves a gentleman these days? In any case I've had drunk sex that I've dearly wished I hadn't (Jamie, Simon, whatshisface, whatshisface, 'slipper boy', 'shower cap', 'fart gag') and so on. None of these men were guilty of rape, I was drunk, I made mistakes. They are all certainly guilty of telling me puerile jokes, boring me and being very unimaginative but sadly these are not acknowledged crimes. On a happier note Mr Clairwil and I got together whilst I was roaring drunk. I'd never have had the guts to capture him otherwise, for he is a very unapproachable fellow. He is certainly not a rapist. Unfortunately as someone who is very fond of the bottle I'm sad to report that it's probably best not to get drunk in situations where you are vulnerable.
**Posting when you're tired leads to stupid mistakes, like failing to add the last paragraph**
I realise that the idea women should change their behaviour to avoid rape is not popular. Morally speaking, the argument that women can do as they please and men have a responsibility not to rape is entirely correct. It's just not very realistic. Sadly I think the governments current campaign aimed at men is doomed to failure. Decent men would no more rape a woman than they would molest a child. Rapists rape because they enjoy it and no advertising campaign however slick is likely to change that. The money would be far better spent giving young women a crash course in the harsher facts of life, before some sex case does.
That's all for now.