miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Some people will find this entire entry triggery. I apologise for that in advance, but I think what I am putting here needs saying. I've put the worst bits behind a cut.

Sometimes a person fails through lack of empathy; this is not their fault, necessarily, although it can be if they do it wilfully. But mostly, it's just that they haven't really thought about what it would be like to be another person. There has been a lot of vilification of Ken Clarke today for comments he has made about rape, and I find the revulsion that he has triggered in many people entirely understandable. But then, I have been raped. I suspect Ken Clarke hasn't. And I further suspect that most of the people who think the way that he seems to on the matter of rape have not been raped either. It seems to me that most of the people who think that way have only considered the physical ramifications of a rape: if you are forced to have sex against your will by someone you have never met, there is much more likely to be the use of a weapon and much more likely to be serious physical injury, therefore that is worse than so-called "date rape".

This takes no consideration of the psychological effects of rape whatsoever.

I'd like to put forward four scenarios for your consideration, dear reader, and then there will be a poll. I'd like you to answer for yourself in the poll because obviously, none of us can know how another person will react. As always, if you don't have a Dreamwidth account you can log in with openID (any google, blogger, yahoo, myspace, wordpress, flickr, or lots of other accounts can function as an openID) here.

Scenario 1 You are on your third date with someone you have known for a while. At the end of the evening, which has been a pleasant one, you are tired and just want to go home. Your date wants to have sex. Despite your unwillingness, your date presses the matter, and forces you to have sex against your will. You know that nobody will believe that you didn't do this willingly, because your date is seen as a good person by your social group - otherwise you wouldn't be dating them in the first place.

Scenario 2 You are sitting in your living room watching TV. Suddenly, the door flies open, and a masked person with a weapon bursts in. This person threatens you with the weapon and forces you to have sex with them against your will. You have no idea who they are, and they leave immediately afterwards.

Scenario 3 You are walking home from work. You get dragged into a secluded area by someone you have never met before and forced to have sex against your will.

Scenario 4 You are in an abusive relationship. Your spouse regularly forces you to have sex against your will, and today is no different. You have lost count of the number of times your spouse has raped you.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 26


Which scenario do you think would have the worst PHYSICAL effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
1 (3.8%)

2
17 (65.4%)

3
15 (57.7%)

4
15 (57.7%)

Which scenario do you think would have the worst PSYCHOLOGICAL effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
11 (42.3%)

2
9 (34.6%)

3
3 (11.5%)

4
22 (84.6%)

Which scenario do you think would have the MOST LONG-LASTING effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
5 (19.2%)

2
5 (19.2%)

3
1 (3.8%)

4
25 (96.2%)

Which scenario do you think would have the worst OVERALL effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
2 (7.7%)

2
3 (11.5%)

3
2 (7.7%)

4
26 (100.0%)


For me, scenario 4 is the worst by far. Each individual occurrence is at least as bad as scenario 1, and it keeps happening, and you have no way of knowing when or if it will end. If you tell anyone what is happening, it is extremely likely they will say to you why don't you just leave? ignoring the fact that countless statistics say that leaving an abusive relationship is the most risky thing you can do, in terms of your survival. You can't rely on anyone for support, and the situation is ongoing.

Scenarios 1 and 2 are both equally bad to me. In both you are having your world shaken. In 1, your judgement is called into question. You trusted this person enough to go on several dates with them, and they have shown they cannot be trusted. How many other people you trust can't be trusted? How many people whom you think you know and love will not believe you when you tell them your date has raped you, because your date would never do a thing like that, and it's not rape-rape if you didn't fight back hard, and anyway, it was the third date, shouldn't you have been giving up by then anyway?

At least in 2 people will believe you have been raped, but the sanctity of your home has been breached. Your safe place no longer feels safe. Is ANYWHERE safe?

Scenario 3 is still bloody awful, but for me it's the least awful. The physical damage to my person is likely to be more, but in my mind, I can depersonalise the attacker and rationalise it. I don't have to look my attacker in the face every day and pretend everything is normal. Nobody is going to disbelieve me (unless I was wearing revealing clothing, or had had a drink), and the police will investigate the matter thoroughly. There is the prospect of closure, of seeing my attacker punished, which is just not there in scenarios 1 and (to an extent) 4.

I can understand what people are saying when they say that you can't classify rapes; that each rape must be considered on a case by case basis, and that ranking types of rape is wrong. I can understand it, but I don't fully share that view. I do rank types of rape. I classify them and I rank them. The problem is that I give far more importance to the psychological damage caused by rape, and therefore my rankings are radically different from the rankings of those who only consider the physical damage caused by rape.

For me, I can conceive of cases of date rape that would be less awful than some forms of stranger rape, for example if if a stranger rape happens in a place where you previously felt safe, like your home. But if all other elements of the crime are equal (level of force applied, etc.) date rape is a lot worse than stranger rape. Where I do agree with those who say you can't categorise rape is that each case should be considered on its own facts, and no case of rape should automatically fall into one sentencing bracket or another.

But then, I think that about ALL crimes.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
Agreed with every word. The one point I'd make though is that Clarke later said he'd confused the terms 'date rape' and 'statutory rape' and hadn't been talking about 'date rape' at all.
(Personally I loathe the very term 'date rape' which trivialises a horrible, evil act).

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 09:46 am (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
Agreed.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
innerbrat: (opinion)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
He even clarified what he meant several times in the transcript I read. It was pretty obvious that he meant statutory rape.

And given that, and what he acctually said - I think about rape the way he appeared to think in that interview; that way being:

- IF reducing the sentence for pleading guilty alleviates the trial process for the victim/witnesses and increases the number of convictions, THEN there is a valid argument for reducing the sentence on a guilty plea.

- Increasing the number of convictions, making the trial process smoother for victims and witnesses and therefore increasing the number of charges (i.e. victims coming forward to be counted) is more important than satisfactorily exacting revenge on the one or two scenario 2s and 3s we're able to convict.

- Lumping all convictions for unlawful sexual assualts (including statutory rape) into one sample size and selecting the mean is not a valid way of assessing the recommended/average sentence for any of the scenarios presented above.
[Having said that, the sentence for my scenario 3 was seven years. However he was a minor at the time]


I agree with everything Jennie says, except the part where she namechecks Clarke, who is being scapegoated for a brainfart level word replacement.

(Also, I didn't vote. Can't rank those scenarios, sorry.)

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 10:52 am (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
Again, agreed with everything, and was defending Clarke on most of those grounds yesterday. *Except* that 'statutory rape' *isn't* counted as rape in British law unless the victim is under 13, so Clarke was wrong on a point of fact about that, and as Justice Minister he should know that.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
I wasn't aware of that - I thought Clarke was making more of a mistake than he was, then.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 11:12 am (UTC)
innerbrat: (opinion)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
Jennie's clarification aside, one of the other biggest mistakes Clarke ade was not calling the interviewer out when she talked about rapists being re-released 'on the victim's street'. He should know that the sex offender's register does not leave the offender alone after release, but monitors his movements beyond the original sentence, and that the VLS keeps the victim informed of major location changes over those years.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
innerbrat: (go baby go)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
Fairy nuff :)

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
The other thing which people seem to be missing (not saying you or Jennie are) is that these aren't just plans about rape trials, but covering *all* criminal trials. It's a general thing to allow judges more discretion with sentencing across the board, and might not lead to a single reduction in sentence for a single rapist.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC)
innerbrat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
I did not know that at all! Thank you.

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.



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