to think that rape is NOT the only crime

(105 Posts)

that blames the victim? I keep reading this and think that actually most victims of crime are blamed to an extent. Did you leave your windows unlocked? Yes, then we're not paying out on the insurance for the burglary. Why were you walking down a dark alley with an expensive mobile phone on display? - of course you're asking to get mugged. Did you give someone else your password? Of course you are the victim of fraud. Did you watch your suitcase every second in the airport? No, then you allowed someone to plant those drugs in your case. I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying that it happens. I don't understand it when people say that this only happens in rape cases.

SPsMrLoverManSHABBA Tue 14-Jan-14 16:07:29

You can't compare those to rape so YABU.

So what crimes would you compare to rape to say that "Rape is the ONLY crime where the victim gets blamed"? You might as well say that "rape is the only crime at all" or "rape is the only crime that matters"

ChunkyPickle Tue 14-Jan-14 16:10:16

I think they mean once it goes to court - in burglaries for instance you don't get the barristers interrogating the victim on if they'd ever given anything away. Muggings if the victim had ever given money to people on the street, whereas the victim's sexual history and behaviour is seen as fair game in a rape trial.

SqutterNutBaush Tue 14-Jan-14 16:13:36

Might be something to do with the fact that rape is quite possibly one of the most traumatic crimes a person can fall victim to.

Blaming the victim belittles their trauma.


MelanieRavenswood Tue 14-Jan-14 16:15:03

As ChunkyPickle says - sometimes people comment on how much the victim was to blame in all the circumstances described in the OP, but when it comes to court or sentencing, there isn't this tendency to try and prove the victim was a willing participant.

EntWife Tue 14-Jan-14 16:15:19

There was a thread on this topic a couple of weeks ago. Most people spectacularly missed the point.

we do blame the victims of crime for being victims. As much as I have a perfect right to walk naked down my high street without being raped or being seen to invite rape, so do I have a perfect right to leave my door unlocked and my purse and mobile phone on display without being told I contributed to my loss.

CaptainHindsight Tue 14-Jan-14 16:15:58

Exactly what SP said.

Point taken chunky

DizzyZebra Tue 14-Jan-14 16:17:05

Well, you are right about those things, but the big difference isthe criminals in those cases would still be charged the same. Burglary is burglary and they will be charged as such, no matter how many people say "but you left the window open".

With rape cases, the rapist is often held less responsible or not responsuble at all.

I think it is the only crime where the victim gets blamed for the crime EXISTING rather than it happening to them. So, the person leaves their window open doesn't cause the burglary, just causes it to happen to them. Rape seems to be blamed on the victim like the rapist would have been a perfectly nice person had the victim not been drunk or wearing a short skirt. Everyone accepts that a burglar was going to rob someone but people seem to blame the victim, and women in general, for the crime of rape existing at all.

SqutterNutBaush Tue 14-Jan-14 16:18:35

I don't actually think you do have the right to walk down a street naked thigh hmm

I see what you mean OP but rape is a whole different category to any type of theft so the victim blaming (which does take place in most crimes as you rightly point out) has a much more severe impact.

WilsonFrickett Tue 14-Jan-14 16:18:37

If you can point me in the direction of a case where the victim of burgalry was cross-examined on their housing habits, door-locking habits, whether or not they'd been down the pub that night, whether they may have led their burglar on then I might take your points seriously.

Also, insurance companies are not the law - while I think it's poor for them not to pay out if they find victims of crime in any way at fault, it is wrong to conflate that with the criminal justice system and society at large.

Just cos Direct Line says it's so, doesn't mean it has any bearing on life in general and I prefer not to set my moral compass to financial services companies' whims.

I missed that thread entwife but that is the point I was trying to make

Your op reminds me of this

GlitzAndGiggles Tue 14-Jan-14 16:25:55

The sad truth is we're no longer safe to do these things and I doubt things will improve

Joysmum Tue 14-Jan-14 16:26:40

The victims of crime are never to blame, but common sense dictates that many of us are more at risk of becoming victims than others if we haven't taken sensible precautions to protect ourselves and our properties.

Risk management should be practiced by all to limit the risks of becoming a victim.

I wish we could all live without fear of crime but we need to be realistic.

coppertop Tue 14-Jan-14 16:26:44

No-one tells a victim of burglary, "Well perhaps he thought you wanted him to break into your house. After all, you didn't tell him not to!"

Kewcumber Tue 14-Jan-14 16:31:49

rape is one of the few crimes I know where the victim is rarely seen as a witness (or at least not a relaible one).

How many times do you hear people say about rape "well the were no witneses so its just her word against his". If you saw someone stealing your purse and you reported it - no-one would say "well did anyone see him steal your purse" "yes me" "no I mean someone else, you might be lying"

Kewcumber Tue 14-Jan-14 16:34:35

EVeryone should be mindful of their own safety and most people are. But I don't so see topless men in shorts being told to cover up because other men can't possibly be expected to control themselves at the tempting sight.

I doubt many rapes are the result of women wandering around naked in public though hmm if thats what you think.

Kewcumber Tue 14-Jan-14 16:37:25

If you give someone else your password/PIN you're not a victim of fraud. As well as being an idiot you are presumably agreeing for them to access your accounts so you would just be arguing about whether they took more than you intended them to.

I'm not even sure that would be a crime.

Stellaface Tue 14-Jan-14 16:38:11

I have neighbours who had an expensive car nicked. It was evening, they were home (not sure if upstairs or not), the burglar jumped over the back fence and in through the closed but unlocked patio doors, lifted the keys and then drove the car away.

We heard about this through a community council meeting. At the time, the insurance were refusing to pay out due to doors being unlocked - despite it being daytime (about 7pm) and the family being home. Not sure if that changed but they haven't got a replacement car yet (6 months on) so I'm assuming not. Apparently the police were dubious as to whether they'd be able to catch anyone or convict them if they did as the house was unlocked and the keys unsecured, despite the family being mere feet away! They passed out the advice that we should all keep our doors locked at all times and always hide our keys. Everyone at this meeting agreed that it was definitely our neighbours' fault for leaving the door unlocked and the keys accessible. Tell me, how many people actually hide their keys when they get home?? I now do, out of paranoia, but previously left them sitting on the stairs...

So if I nip out to see my husband in the garage, about five feet away, do I have to lock my front door? Or if I leave our back door open in the summer whilst I'm in the house? Apparently so, otherwise I'll be at fault for inviting the crime.

DontmindifIdo Tue 14-Jan-14 16:50:18

I think your point about burglaries misses the point that often in rape, there is a question to if a crime has even taken place. In your example, someone might say it's the home owner's fault they were a victim of a crime, but leaving the window open doesn't make people claim the homeowner gave their possessions away.

Mind you, I do agree that others victim blame too, I used to live in SE London when there was a spate of stabbings, there were usually lots of people commenting that "they must have done something to deserve it" "they must have been involved in gangs/drugs" - young men as victims of viloent crime are usually seen as equally criminal.

WilsonFrickett Tue 14-Jan-14 16:56:27

But Stella, again it's not up to the insurance companies (or indeed the police) to determine if a crime has taken place. FWIW I would also disagree with the consensus at your meeting - it wasn't the owner's fault someone decided to burgle them.

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jan-14 16:56:40

YANBU, victim blaming is also wrong.

I think people are also belittling the effect of theft. It might not have an impact on some but then, for some rape is not traumatising either.

When I was raped I knew the guy, I didn't fear that I was going to be injured or killed, I wasn't in my own house and I got something happy out of it (my daughter). It was a horrible experience but it hasn't stayed with me. When I was burgled I felt violated and sick. Somebody had been into my personal space and taken my irreplaceable personal things. I didn't know if they were still in the house and I was terrified that there'd be a man with a weapon in the next room I walked into. I still wake up at night sweating and shaking because I've heard a small noise next door. I'd say I was traumatised by that.

My experience may be unusual but it doesn't make it wrong.

I don't think crimes should be compared as different things have a different effect on different people. And it is always the criminal's fault.

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jan-14 16:56:55

*always not also

LaGuardia Tue 14-Jan-14 17:00:08

Seriously, what kind of idiot leaves cars/doors unlocked at any time of the day? Who leaves luggage unattended? Who flashes expensive mobile phones in the street? It is all just asking for trouble imo.

I think the way rape is sometimes treated in court is in a different category, but I agree about blaming people for being robbed because they used a mobile phone when they were out (That's what mobile means) or because they didn't lock the door while they were inside the house.

As for the police being "dubious as to whether they'd be able to catch anyone or convict them if they did as the house was unlocked and the keys unsecured" that is nonsense. They probably couldn't catch them - unless they wore stripy jumpers and carried a sign saying "it was me", but if they had then I'm pretty sure going in a house and taking the keys is illegal anyway.

Where do you draw the line. No payout because you didn't have armed guards and dogs?

lollerskates Tue 14-Jan-14 17:16:49

Can someone explain to me what walking down the street naked has got to do with rape?

Kewcumber Tue 14-Jan-14 17:32:44

apparently thats what rape victims do lollerskates - they wander around naked.

I think part of the problem is that theft is a pretty objective crime - did you take something that belonged to someone else without their permission and with the intent to keep it.

Rape, on the other hand, is an issue of consent to an action and someones belief that consent has been given. Hence extraneous shit gets dragged in to try to muddy the waters as to whether or not the attacker made a mistake about consent rather than they didn't care about or seek consent.

The walking down the street naked comment relates to the fact that someone shouldn't think that a victims behaviour such as walking around naked is an invitation to be raped.

Fancyashandy Tue 14-Jan-14 17:44:13

We often leave our doors unlocked, didn't realise that was a crime.

lollerskates Tue 14-Jan-14 17:45:16

Ah ok thanks Kew - so walking around naked is a big risk factor for rape, is it? Presumably most women who are sexually assaulted are scantily clad at the time? That's good to know. I'll stop walking around naked now that I know that.

WilsonFrickett Tue 14-Jan-14 17:50:02

You make a point there Chaz. I don't suppose defence lawyers spend much time trying to make juries believe consent has been given to take someone's car, use it in a robbery then set it on fire. They will spend time however trying to make a jury believe consent had been given in a rape trial for all but 'stranger in alleyway' rapes.

BrownSauceSandwich Tue 14-Jan-14 17:52:06

The justice system DOES NOT blame victims of other crimes. Like other have said, burglary, whether the windows and doors were open or not, is always a crime. Vandalism, even if somebody leaves out spray paint and a golf club, is still always a crime. Your insurance might not pay out... If you dont like it, take it up with them, but it's really nothing to do with the criminal courts. (I know I'm only repeating what other posters have said, but I don't think everybody's reading)

The other thing with rape, is that the reasons for blaming the victim are not causes of rape. Likelihood of rape is not a function of the attractiveness of the victim, or the amount of skin she/he shows. It's a function of the cuntishness of the perpetrator, how confident he feels tat hell get away with it. Victims have fuck all control over those factors, so victim blaming in rape cases makes about as much sense as letting somebody off with a burglary because the car was blue.

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 18:01:31

extraneous shit gets dragged in to try to muddy the waters

or, put another way, "further evidence is introduced in order that a more accurate picture of events may be drawn".

Not necessarily - the type of skirt the victim was wearing shouldn't really be relevant to anyone's perception of consent. To me that sort of thing is "extraneous shit".

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 18:13:54

It's in the very nature of the lynch mob to denounce anything said prior to sentencing as "extraneous shit".

Don't be so ridiculous. This is a thread on an internet forum not the Bailey or the RCJ. Pomposity is never a good thing. You know as well as I do that there have been serious questions asked about how victim's conduct has been dragged through the mud when not really relevant to consent. And as for the recent case where a 13 abuse victim was described as "predatory" the mind boggles.

13 year old

Fancyashandy Tue 14-Jan-14 18:23:50

Don't forget the case where the teenage victim's thong was shown in court for some reason (probably the extraneous shit reason). Unfortunately she committed suicide soon after, they think partly because of the way she was treated (degraded) in court.

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 18:37:11

There was a time and a place when, in a rape case, a lot of people thought everything that happened between the arrest and the hanging was "extraneous shit".

It seems we haven't progressed very far.

struggling100 Tue 14-Jan-14 18:37:55

The difference between blaming a rape victim for being raped, and blaming the victim of a burglary for leaving their doors unlocked is that behind the former lies an extremely negative picture of gender relations, which has damaged women for centuries. It says that men cannot control their desires once stimulated, and that they have a 'right' to have sex with any woman who looks attractive to them. Further, it's connected to the idea that women who dress in a way that is thought of, culturally, as attractive are somehow consenting to sex.

struggling100 Tue 14-Jan-14 18:42:10

Oops, posted too soon...

It is like arguing that, because a door is painted a particularly delicious shade of red, passersby were overcome by its beauty and were simply forced to rob the house. They couldn't help themselves. The door was just too enticing. And the house deserved forced entry for looking so pretty.

Sadoldbag Tue 14-Jan-14 18:46:30

I think sexual abuse often get turned round

I did read in sad story the mum actually testified on behalf of the step dad shock and was saying how the daughter was asking for it ECt always walking round in her night ware

Very sad I do believe the daughter actually had a baby by the dad and kept it very sad

You are not coming over as well as you might think you are. The legal profession is not beyond reproach and the more we duck questions and hide behind pronouncements the worse it is. There are serious problems with the reporting, investigation and prosecution of rape in this country; you only have to look at the statistics so see that.

When was rape a capital crime in the UK?

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 18:58:59

When was rape a capital crime in the UK?

I wasn't referring to this sceptered isle but, to answer your question, rape ceased to be a capital offence in England in 1841.

Quoteunquote Tue 14-Jan-14 19:02:06

Devon and Cornwall police have run in the past campaigns, that deal with exactly this problem, a lot of it aimed at OAPs, who feeling they have been stupid in been conned keep quite,

The true extent of crime is underreported, because people feel they are to blame,

If the police force think the victim blame culture stops people coming forward and have funded campaigns to get people to speak up, they think there must be an issue.

WilsonFrickett Tue 14-Jan-14 19:04:58

There was a time and a place when, in a rape case, a lot of people thought everything that happened between the arrest and the hanging was "extraneous shit".

susanne care to explain your point? Because I'm not getting it.

sashh Tue 14-Jan-14 19:08:43

Leaving your windows open does make you more likely to be burgled. Walking around with expensive gadgets is certain areas make you more likely to be mugged.

What makes you more likely to be raped?

Being a woman.

Not wearing certain clothes, not being in a certain area, not drinking.

rpitchfo Tue 14-Jan-14 19:12:19

Yes, good example Quote - it's the whole you must be stupid to be a victim of crime mentality.

The big difference is that although society may victim blame for most crimes objectively the courts don't victim blame with any other crime (that could have a potential outcome on the verdict) other than rape.

I am aware of that. I just wondered why you were bringing hanging into the discussion at all.

Fancyashandy Tue 14-Jan-14 19:16:01

Actually we were burgled after leaving our front window open at night so obviously it might not have happened if we had shut it. However, the police were wonderful and we were never made to feel we were to blame in any way - and they caught the guy and offered victim support if we needed it.

Bootycall Tue 14-Jan-14 19:16:06

suzanne don't understand your points,

manicunsomniac very brave and excellent post. I too was raped as a teen by an ex bf although at the time I would have used the words ' persuasive sex and going too far' and although upset at the time and fucking angry now as an adult with dds ,it does not compare with the absolute hatred, fear and emotion of being burgled.

the consequences of that to me and my dds have been just dreadful. far worse than the sexual assault.

the crime is what the victim says it is and not what others say it should be.

Bootycall Tue 14-Jan-14 19:25:35

op I guess the point is people are always searching for an answer or a solution/prevention.

in the case of rape this of course can be presented in a dreadfully insulting way as in 'was the victim wearing a short skirt?' which should be met with so bloody fucking what!

I had a wooden panel on my back door, didn't expect a fucking bastard burglar to kick it in.

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 14-Jan-14 19:25:49

The burglary analogy is not good: insurance is a negotiated contract. If you want cheap(ish) insurance then you buy a policy that covers you for burglary only after forced entry, if you pay more then your insurance policy can cover you whatever the circumstances - I do not have to lock my windows, or my doors and I am still covered for burglary because I have chosen that policy. Just because an insurance company won't pay out on your policy if you left the door unlocked, does not mean anyone is blaming you. It just reflects the contract that you decided to buy.... the more risks you want covered, the more expensive it will be. It is not victim blaming.

suzanne You say:

" "extraneous shit gets dragged in to try to muddy the waters" or, put another way, "further evidence is introduced in order that a more accurate picture of events may be drawn"."

I have seen rape trials where all sorts of IRRELEVANT evidence that does NOT help draw an accurate picture of events, has been presented in order to try for a "jury verdict" ie a verdict where the jury has chosen to disregard the law and the Judge's directions because for some (illogical, sexist, oldfashioned) reason they have thought a logical verdict would be in some way unfair on the defendant eg if the woman was "asking for it." I saw one trial, in which there was overwhelming evidence of guilt, where the defence barrister tried to argue that it was impossible to put a penny in a bottle if the person holding the bottle didn't want him to. He spent quite some time on this line of argument in his closing speech. The basis of his argument amounted to a proposition that rape was not possible. I could see several jurors actually looking puzzled as if they were trying to imagine the bottle and the penny. This was NOT further evidence presented in order that a more accurate picture could be drawn". It was "extraneous shit". And it is extraneous shit that is the problem and that tends to consist of irrelevant evidence about what the woman was wearing, her past sexual conduct, the fact she was friendly to the rapist, the fact she survived the attack, the fact she was not injured enough, the fact she was too frightened to scream etc etc

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 20:32:17

Since the earliest days of criminal law, there have been occasions when an arrested person has been convicted in the minds of the public (or a significant section of the public) not only before the all evidence has been weighed but sometimes immediately the arrest is announced.

Crowds would (and still do) gather outside jails and police stations, demanding that the alleged culprit be handed over to them in order that s/he may be dealt with both violently and immediately, without troubling the courts.

Sometimes - notably in the southern states of the USA - being black was and is sufficient reason in the minds of many people to lynch any man accused of rape.

And sometimes - everywhere in the world - being accused of rape was and is sufficient reason in the minds of many people to lynch any man accused of rape.

In either circumstance, the mob deems everything that happens between arrest and conviction (or execution if the law allows it) to be 'extraneous shit'.

That was the point I was making.

Wallison Tue 14-Jan-14 20:38:54

I think the difference between rape and say burglary is that rape often comes down to the issue of consent. No-one can consent to a burglary - that is mad thinking. But barristers etc will argue that the victim has consented to the crime, and in order to establish this consent will bring up other examples of when the victim has consented to sex. Which misses the point entirely - just because a victim has consented to sex and some point in their lives, it doesn't mean that they have consented to sex at that particular time. It's pretty useless trying to draw parallels between that and burglary because as I say consent is not an issue there. So your entire thread is based on a false premise. Sorry.

Wallison Tue 14-Jan-14 20:45:31

Also, no-one would ever try to argue that a burglary hasn't taken place because the person being burgled consented to it. But people will try to argue that rape hasn't taken place because there was consent. Rape is almost unique in that sense in that it hinges on the issue of consent. There was a case years ago when there was some fairly heavy s&m activity going on (bollocks being nailed to boards and the like) where the issue of consent did arise, but in pretty much every other criminal case - murder, assault, burglary etc - the issue of consent does not figure.

WilsonFrickett Tue 14-Jan-14 20:47:03

Thank you for explaining. It isn't a particularly relevant point IMO. No-one here is suggesting a return to lynch mobs or anything of the like. We'd simply prefer rape trials to be tried on the relevant evidence, which doesn't include skirt length or inebration or the fact you consented to sex last Tuesday.

I note your post conveniently left out the 'extraneous shit' when discussing inter-racial rape in Southern America that your posited situation simply wouldnt happen in the case of a white man raping a black woman. Suggesting the issue in that case is race, not gender.

WilsonFrickett Tue 14-Jan-14 20:48:08

Sorry. Last post was to susanne


You are spectacularly missing the point. If the evidence being adduced in court is relevant to consent then, by definition, it is not extraneous shit. The cut of the victim's top and her prior sexual history is irrelevant and is extraneous shit. The court should be focusing on relevant matters.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 20:52:42

Does anyone blame the victims of burglary, fraud etc? Radio 4 Money Box live regularly features stories about fraud where tbh I'm thinking how on earth could you fall for that, but it's never ever done in a way to blame or belittle the victim(and quite rightly so)

DawnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 14-Jan-14 21:55:00

Hi all,

Thanks to those who reported this thread to us.

We think this would be a good time to link to our rape awareness campaign, We Believe You.

WestieMamma Tue 14-Jan-14 22:26:28

I think it's different because rape is the only crime I'm aware of where the actual crime taking place is questioned and where consent is such an issue. For example if you leave your window opened and you get burgled nobody would say you didn't get burgled because you left the window open. You may have made a mistake but the fact that you were burgled isn't in doubt. Whereas if people blame a rape victim saying stuff like 'she chose to go up to his room' it implies there was some sort of consent and the crime didn't happen.

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 23:08:29

The cut of the victim's top and her prior sexual history is irrelevant and is extraneous shit.

Many jurors would agree with you, and many would disagree. The important thing is that a defendant in any trial is allowed to defend himself to the best of his (and his barrister's) ability.

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 23:13:58

I note your post conveniently left out the 'extraneous shit' when discussing inter-racial rape in Southern America that your posited situation simply wouldn't happen in the case of a white man raping a black woman. Suggesting the issue in that case is race, not gender.

I didn't mention inter-racial rape.

And whether the issue is gender, race, religion, politics or anything else, my point is that there should be no assumptions made concerning a defendant's guilt until a court of law weighs the evidence and makes that decision.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 14-Jan-14 23:16:03

Suzanne, afaik those things are no longer allowed to be brought up in court (not without very good reason and special application to the judge, anyway). Because it is irrelevant and extraneous shit.

No what matters is that it is determined that the relevant elements that make up the offence are proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is for the prosecution to prove the case all the defendant needs to do is demonstrate reasonable doubt.

It's not about whether or not jurors agree. It's whether or not matters are relevant to consent.

I am genuinely shocked at your response. A good defence is not the same as open season on the alleged victim.

My post is to Suzanne

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 23:24:25

In pretty much every other criminal case - murder, assault, burglary etc - the issue of consent does not figure.

One can give consent to be assaulted: boxers do so every time they enter the ring with an opponent. Even if one fighter beats the other to death (while obeying the rules of the sport), he is highly unlikely to face criminal charges as the now-dead man consented to being attacked by him in a very violent manner.

The same principle applies is many other sports where violent bodily contact is an accepted part of the game.

It is important to note that it's not simply a matter of consent: it's a matter of consent in a situation where the law allows consent to be given.

neontetra Tue 14-Jan-14 23:43:54

Surely the law allows me to consent to people taking my stuff (free cycle etc). When I don't consent! that's theft.
Similarly, the law allows me to consent to sex. When I don't consent, that's rape.
Currently, I can't consent under British law to someone killing me. But that's about it.
The difference is, you rarely find people telling the victims of theft that they are lying. With rape, it happens all the time.

ComposHat Tue 14-Jan-14 23:44:41

I don't think it is rape per se that invites victim blaming, it is when the woman is a victim and the crime happens in a public space. I've heard similar rhetoric when women have been out in the evening and have been mugged or assualted 'what did she expect going out alone after dark'

I think it comes from an idea that women shouldnt access public Space (especially unshaperoned women after dark) and gives rise to a culyure of victim blaming.

SuzanneUK Tue 14-Jan-14 23:52:30

A good defence is not the same as open season on the alleged victim.

Again, many people would agree and many would disagree.

If a woman has been raped, it is a tragedy of colossal proportions that she subsequently be made to re-live the events in court while having her character dragged through the mud in front of a room full of strangers.

Equally, if a woman has not been raped but claims that she has, it is I suggest a tragedy of no small magnitude that an innocent man be sent to prison for many years simply because his barrister was not allowed to test the woman and her evidence to the best of his/her ability.

There can be no winners in rape cases: victims (alleged and actual) and perpetrators (alleged and actual) all come out of it battered and bruised (emotionally and often physically too).

And in almost every case, an innocent person (be it the victim or the falsely-accused defendant) is scarred for life.

neontetra Wed 15-Jan-14 00:01:17

Suzanne, not sure I'm too worried if actual perpetrators of rape find the trial quite tough.
Falsely accused defendants of any crime presumably find the trial etc quite scarring.
Exactly what are you suggesting should happen?

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 15-Jan-14 00:15:41

If a woman has been raped, it is a tragedy of colossal proportions that she subsequently be made to re-live the events in court while having her character dragged through the mud in front of a room full of strangers.

She, unfortunately, has to relive her experience in order to obtain justice, and for the defendant to have a fair trial.

She, however, does not have to have her name dragged through the mud.

Whilst it is correct you can consent to an assault under certain circumstances, that consent is often expressly given, in writing, in advance e.g. a consent form for surgery. Usually insurance will also be in place for harm other than that consented to. Any harm greater than that consented to can still be an assault e.g. Ear biting in a boxing match.

If I go into hospital and sign a consent form for surgery and don't revoke it then there is no question of my consent. Nobody infers my consent because I am wearing pyjamas or sitting in a hospital bed.

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 08:33:13

Suzanne, not sure I'm too worried if actual perpetrators of rape find the trial quite tough.

I didn't suggest anyone should worry about the stress on guilty defendants.

Exactly what are you suggesting should happen?

I'm suggesting we should judge defendants rationally and fairly - no matter what their alleged crimes - upon a case-by-case basis and upon the entirety of the evidence.

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 08:48:50

If I go into hospital and sign a consent form for surgery and don't revoke it then there is no question of my consent. Nobody infers my consent because I am wearing pyjamas or sitting in a hospital bed.

And this is why increasing numbers of men are asking women to text their consent before the deed is done.

Not very romantic, is it?

I think most men preferred the days when arriving home to find you wearing pyjamas and sitting in his bed was a strong indicator that you were happy to do the deed.

WilsonFrickett Wed 15-Jan-14 09:33:30

I don't actually give a flying fuck what most men would prefer. I will (am) teaching my son about consent and will teach him well, I hope.

And no-one on this thread is suggesting we should not judge defendants rationally and fairly, I'm curious to know where you've picked this point up? All that has been suggested is that matters extraneous to consent - the absolute key issue in a rape case - are neither pertinent or relevant and shouldn't be brought up in a case. It's a fairly simple concept to most people.

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 09:52:58

I don't actually give a flying fuck what most men would prefer.

And yet you expect men to give total consideration to a woman's preference when it comes to her having or not having sex?

What a wonderfully fair and rational attitude.

limitedperiodonly Wed 15-Jan-14 09:56:46

I put it to you, m'lud, that someone has been reading the Perry Mason Book For Boys.

ComposHat Wed 15-Jan-14 09:57:21

Err yes Suzanne cos if you don't respect someone's right to consent to sex then that's rape.

WilsonFrickett Wed 15-Jan-14 09:58:51

Of course I do. For the purpose of absolute clarity for you let me repeat: I do expect men to give total consideration to whether a woman has consented to sexual intercourse.

Again, your point is?

WilsonFrickett Wed 15-Jan-14 10:00:33

grin limited

Oh and Suzanne, before you come back to spread more ill-informed bile, I also expect women to give total consideration to a man's preference when it comes to having or not having sex too.

I'm an equal opportunities consenter, me.

CaptainHindsight Wed 15-Jan-14 10:09:51

Suzanne likes to mansplain i think.

She also loves biscuit

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 10:10:11

I do expect men to give total consideration to whether a woman has consented to sexual intercourse.

Good. You are in that respect at one with all right-thinking people.

Again, your point is?

Eluding you, it seems.

Welshwabbit Wed 15-Jan-14 10:10:54

The reason why the conduct of the victim is explored more in rape trials than in e.g. a trial for theft or burglary is, as many people have said further upthread, because consent is so often in issue in rape cases. Also, in most rape cases the only witness is the victim, and the only physical evidence available is often consistent both with a crime (rape) and something that is not a crime (consensual sex). In a theft or burglary case you are more likely to have witnesses, and more likely to have physical evidence that is probative of the crime (e.g. alleged burglar says I never went near the place, but there is CCTV evidence of them outside and evidence of their DNA/fingerprints inside the house. In a rape case, where the issue is consent, that would prove nothing).

So I think there are valid reasons for exploring the victim's behaviour towards, and relationship with, the alleged perpetrator in rape trials where consent is the issue. What is, in my view not reasonable is the more general commentary around women "asking for it" by going out in "provocative clothing". That's just general anti-woman stuff, as far as I'm concerned. There's no evidence that the way you dress makes you more likely to be raped, and even if there were, it's really not desirable to give women a message that the way they dress makes them responsible for other people's violence.

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 10:29:55

Careful, Welshwabbit.

By sticking to the topic and offering unbiased opinions upon same, you might deter people from launching personal attacks upon others whose views they either disagree with or fail to understand.

Welshwabbit's post is very good and very clear.

Read and learn.

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 10:46:13

Welshwabbit's post is very good and very clear.

Yes, and with no hint of personal animosity towards other contributors.

Let's hope a few people do read and learn.

WilsonFrickett Wed 15-Jan-14 11:21:12

I agree suzanne your point does indeed continue to elude me. Welshwabbit's however does not.

Welsh I think there is a preconception, valid or not, that exploring issues round consent will by their very nature be prejudicial to the woman - who after all is a witness, not on trial. I think a pp upthread talked about the case when a 13 yo was described as 'predatory' - no doubt that was felt a valid contribution to whether she consented or not. sad

ProfPlumSpeaking Wed 15-Jan-14 11:26:45


""The cut of the victim's top and her prior sexual history is irrelevant and is extraneous shit."

Many jurors would agree with you, and many would disagree. The important thing is that a defendant in any trial is allowed to defend himself to the best of his (and his barrister's) ability."

you have hit on the point of the thread here - the problem is that whilst the LAW agrees that the victim's top and her prior sexual history is irrelevant, many JURORS would indeed take it into account if this evidence were presented to them (which is why, generally, it is not allowed to be these days). The OP is asking why that should be the case, and why it is the case amongst the general public (not in the jury room) who have a tendency to exactly take that kind of thing into account and then blame the victim.

Welshwabbit Wed 15-Jan-14 11:58:49

WilsonFrickett, I understand and sympathise with that preconception. My experience of trials relating to rape and sexual assault is some years out of date now, but I think that in most cases judges do their best to limit the questioning and submissions to what is relevant (which is an important part of the job they are there to do).

The case where the 13 year old was described as "predatory" was really unusual, hence the widespread news coverage, the subsequent inquiries, and the CPS's decision to remove the prosecutor from prosecuting sexual offences - see this report:

Even in that (appalling) case, it seems that the remarks were made by the prosecutor and the judge at the sentencing stage, so would not have influenced the jury's verdict.


The remarks were made during sentencing. It does highlight a worrying perception from both the barrister in question and the judge that her behaviour was relevant and contributory to her assault.

At least the AG's referral to the Court of Appeal led to the sentence being properly reviewed.

Welshwabbit Wed 15-Jan-14 12:10:52

Agreed on all counts, ChazsBrilliantAttitude.

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 15-Jan-14 13:16:02

Hello everyone,

Thank you to those who reported this thread to us. We'd think it'd be apt to post a link to our rape awareness campaign We Believe You.

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 15:13:04

I'm not surprised this thread was reported.

The problem with this thread is that a number of people seem to think that 'Let's give all alleged rapists a fair trial' means 'Hooray for rape!' and they respond accordingly.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 15-Jan-14 17:18:51

I think quite the opposite, Suzanne. I imagine it was reported for perpetuating victim-blaming rape myths.

MHHQ responded by bringing people's attention to the We Believe You campaign - you know - the one that myth-busts nonsense such as wearing a low cut top is relevant to rape/ a rape trial.

limitedperiodonly Wed 15-Jan-14 17:47:48

I have no legal training sabrina but I believe the technical term for what you're doing is 'pissing into the wind' wink

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 15-Jan-14 17:53:32

Sadly, I believe you may be right grin

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 18:31:53

I imagine it was reported for perpetuating victim-blaming rape myths

Okay, if you say you, we believe you.

Proved beyond reasonable doubt wink

Grammatically incorrect sarcasm rarely hits the mark.

SuzanneUK Wed 15-Jan-14 19:02:03

Grammatically incorrect sarcasm rarely hits the mark

I think you'll find that's another myth.

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