I was interviewing a young lady a while back who is appealing against a decision to stop her Incapacity Benefit. She has been diagnosed with depression so severe that she is on twice the dose of medication I am, meets her community psychiatric nurse weekly and attends counselling.
Her depression was triggered by a rape that took place eighteen months ago. The culprit was questioned but it did not get to court.
Anyway being ill prepared for the interview I was leafing through the papers as I was talking to her. One moment I was making all sorts of sisterly noises the next I entered a state of such bewilderment I had to leave the interview room.
It's the oddest thing but there in black and white on real paper was a letter of support for the forthcoming tribunal from her counsellor who outlines her case much as I have above but goes on to inform the reader that '[she] blames herself for the rape because she had consumed alcohol that evening and is unable to remember the assault'.
Having reflected for a moment, I returned to the room. I casually asked if she had been violently assaulted during the rape and she replied that she had not and I returned to my previous state of total bewilderment.
How in God's name does she know she was raped? She might in a drunken moment have instigated sex and forgotten. Alternatively and more likely the creep she was with might have spotted a golden opportunity and decided to make whoopee while the lady snored. Of course there may not even be one person who knows the truth given the remarkable resistance of the teenage boy's libido to the effects of alcohol.
The policy of automatically accepting the word of every woman who says she was raped is a well intentioned attempt at a corrective to the bad old days when a disgusting crime was excused on the basis the victim was good looking, ugly, wearing a miniskirt and so on but is anyone doing this girl a kindness by accepting her word on this.
At the risk of sounding catty we are talking about an exceptionally dim girl of eighteen here. Surely the decent thing to do under the circumstances is to explain to her that getting so drunk that you blackout is to put yourself at risk and that as a result no-one, not even her can say with any certainty that she has been raped. That being fall down drunk is to be vulnerable to theft, sexual assault and humiliation. That whilst she has an absolute right to control access to her body, with that comes the responsibility to protect it or accept the consequences.
Instead this young lady is being aided and abetted in her totally unfounded belief that she is a victim of crime. Both her counsellor and CPN have advised her that she will never get over what has happened to her but may with work learn to manage her pain. I hesitate to use the word but that is evil. I claim no great insight or expertise in these matters but wouldn't a talk on the real facts of human nature, a sympathetic but honest ear and some practical help and guidance regarding what on earth she intends to do with her life help her a lot more than wallowing in the aftermath what is little more than a drunken fuck.
For those of you wondering why I haven't given the girl the talk I shall tell you -I'd be sued into the next world, not to mention sacked. In any case three 'experts' before me have failed to do so, no doubt because if you do not accept the every word of a self proclaimed victim you are accused of being 'pro-rape'. Incredibly that expression is actually used. By God if I were were pro-rape you'd know all about it.
I mention all this because I note that 'Big Div' Cameron and the Tories wish to obtain more rape convictions through the introduction of tougher laws. It's changed days when I of all people am forced to mock the Tories for being too nice. But come on they want the back of their legs slapping. Make no mistake I am not defending rape, it is a disgusting crime deserving of a harsh sentence but a look at the facts tells you why rape convictions are so low.
For a kick off 8 out 10 reported rapes are alleged to be committed by someone known to the alleged victim. Many of those fit the 'date rape' description in which people express an interest in each other one thing leads to another in one mind at least. If there are no signs of violence or there is a neutral witness date rape is impossible to prove. Unless we just go straight from allegation to sentencing with no trial in the middle -a horrifying prospect, then what else can be done? Nobody should be forced into unwanted sex, nor should anyone be convicted of rape without any evidence. Human nature being the flawed beast that it is, would it not be more sensible to tell women they need to remain vigilant to defend their rights rather than trust that 'nice' boy they met several vodkas ago?
Of course the Tories aren't the only people under the impression that women require protection more akin to that offered to toddlers than competent adults. Our glorious Labour masters announced five years ago that; 'Women who are drunk or under the influence of drugs will automatically be regarded as unable to give consent to sex'. That being the case, it is my grave duty to inform you that I have been raped on a weekly basis and maybe more depending the the drink/drugs consumed for the last ten years and on many occasions over the last seventeen years. Clearly I'm so in thrall to my abuser I hadn't noticed. Naturally Mr Clairwil and his predecessors will be turned in to the authorities forthwith.