Friday, June 09, 2006

Note to the Sentencing Guidelines Council: Yes Means Yes, No Means NO!

I would have posted something about the latest guidelines from the Sentencing Council yesterday but Blogger seemed to be throwing a wobbler.

According to the report, rapists will receive reduced prison sentences if the "victim has withdrawn her consent to sex at the last minute". The Sentencing Guidelines Council directs judges that "date rape" or "acquaintance rape" is as serious as " stranger rape" but it said that there should be less severe punishments in cases where the victim "said 'no' to sexual intercourse at the last moment. This could be a mitigating factor.

Ruth Hall from Women Against Rape, accused the Council of creating a two-tier system for rape allegations and that women have a right to change their minds at any time. The number of rapists successfully prosecuted last year fell, despite an increase in attacks. Four out of five are between sexual acquaintances.

But the more difficult area involved rapes where the couple had sexual familiarity, according to the Sentencing Guidelines Council.

Ruth Hall is spot-on in her criticisms highlighting the fact a two- tier system for rape allegations will appear. These Guidelines throw up the usual contradictions where rape is seemed to be taken seriously but at the same time there are the panderings to sexist stereotypes. There was a case in the States recently were the rapist was the victim's ex-boyfriend because of this "sexual familiarity" his sentence was reduced.

Women have a right to say no at any time. Unlike so-called feminists like Camille Paglia who argue that if a woman goes back to a man's place she is given out "mixed messages" and that the man will obviously think sex is on the cards.

Hey Camille, which bit of "NO" is a mixed message?? Who needs bourgeois commentors when you have old reactionaries like Camille!

I am worried that these proposals are spousal immunuity by the back door. Bear in mind that spousal immunity wasn't abolished until 1990.

Are we going back to the days where a woman will be expected to "honour" a man with her body even when it's against her will?

To restate the obvious, rape is rape and no means no!

There is a post about these Guidelines on Mind the Gap