Third of women say there are varying degrees of rape

(99 Posts)

..and that it isn't rape if the victim doesn't fight back.

Article here

How on earth do people still believe this kind of crap?? How do we change it?

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 10:16:00

That article could be so much more educational. Especially given that it is newsbeat and so aimed at young people.

How can people think those things? God knows. But they do - there have been surveys like this before with similar results.

I didn't fight back but it certainly still felt like rape hmm
I always thought I'd scream, kick, bite etc but I just froze.

It's easy to believe things like that when you haven't experienced I guess though. It's not just a physical experience & I personally think all the things that happen inside your head at the time and immediately after are worse than the physical aspect.

Still, it's mighty depressing & more could be done about it. It's attitudes like that (minimizing) which can lead to victim blaming etc.

Trills Fri 06-Sep-13 10:22:25

The title and your first line are different issues.

Were they asked as one question, or as two separate questions?

Nice I agree, it just presents the findings an misses an opportunity to correct them. Doesn't even need to be more than including the actual legal definition really!

Trills Fri 06-Sep-13 10:33:11

It looks like a very hastily-written article with no analysis or comment at all.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 11:24:37

Newsbeat is very disappointing around sexual violence. I think a bunch of us complained a few months back when they decided to feature a piece about a man who was falsely accused of rape on the same day as Kier Starmer of CPS released a report saying false rape accusations were rare.

They also misquoted the report and in the header of the article said false accusations were "very common" instead of "very rare" (or similar I can't remember exactly).

And they had a recorded section from a police officer saying all reports of rape were taken seriously and they chose to take some of her words out of context for the article which made it sound like she was threatening people who reported rape.

Given the demographic they are aiming at I think it is terrible that they are doing such a poor job with this. And often reinforcing rape myths.

It's really bad.

burberryqueen Fri 06-Sep-13 11:29:54

I do not want to be accused of being a 'rape apologist' but i simply cannot imagine the horror of being attacked and raped by a stranger.
on the other hand, yes I have been raped by someone already in my bed and it is upsetting/unpleasant but not horrific. Does that opinion make me a bad mumsnetter?

scallopsrgreat Fri 06-Sep-13 11:33:52

How you feel about your own rape is very different from expecting others to react and feel the same way, I think burberryqueen. You are entitled to your own feelings, basically. So sorry that happened to you sad

burberryqueen Fri 06-Sep-13 11:35:05

yes that is true, cheers

burberry When you are talking about how you feel about what has happened to you, I think that is ore than fair enough. Dodgy ground only if you were telling other people how they should feel though.

I wasn't attacked by some stranger but someone I had knowns years and it wasn't just once. I didn't fight back. He was bigger and stronger then me. All fighting back would have done is cause me more pain and probably prolonged it.

Burberry speaking of your own experience does not make you bad at all.

Trills Fri 06-Sep-13 12:05:25

This is the trouble with yes/no questions.

I would agree that there are varying degrees of rape if we say that the only person who gets to decide what "degree" of rape it was is the victim. Other people don't get to decide.

CailinDana Fri 06-Sep-13 12:59:32

Trills, it seems to me that both you and the article/survey have conflated two entirely separate things - the crime and the reaction to the crime.
Rape is clearly defined under law. It's not easy to prove, granted, but a fairly limited set of conditions need to exist for rape to have taken place. It doesn't matter what the person's reaction is - if those conditions are met the crime has occurred. Therefore even though my rape just pissed me off rather than devastating me I was just as much raped as someone dragged down an alley. Other victims may experience other crimes such as battery or kidnapping. Again that doesn't make me any less raped than them even though they have much more to deal with in addition to the rape.
The quote from rape crisis that rape is "the most horrendous thing that can happen" is extremely damaging imo because people who don't feel that way (like me) might well dismiss and minimise what happened resulting in them staying in an abusive relationship.
Talking about degrees of rape in any context is pointless imo. It is not a requirement for a rape victim to be a destroyed mess. Rape is rape and it's not for anyone to judge whether one incident is "worse" than another. By even suggesting that "degrees" exist you open the way for minimising bullshit.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 16:02:42

Declan Harvey was involved in this article. He's the journalist behind that Newsbeat article NiceTabard mentions - where Keir Starmer said that false rape allegations were rare, and in the article it said they were common. Oh, and the entire article was about how damaging false allegations were to the victim.

Sounds like he has an agenda, doesn't it?

I complained too, NiceTabard. Got a crappy generic response from the Beeb, saying that they had included the details of Rape Crisis in the article 'for balance' hmm. Unprofessional pillocks.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 16:03:46

*False allegations were to the accused.


SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 06-Sep-13 16:09:37

I well remember Declan Harvey's work on that Keir Starmer report angry I complained at the time too, but the beeb didn't give a fig.

I think he has a worrying agenda when it comes to rape, and it concerns me that he has a wide ranging, young audience.

That report is shoddily written too.

Trills Fri 06-Sep-13 16:12:16

The quote from rape crisis that rape is "the most horrendous thing that can happen" is extremely damaging imo because people who don't feel that way (like me) might well dismiss and minimise what happened resulting in them staying in an abusive relationship.

Yes, I agree with that.

Trills Fri 06-Sep-13 16:19:57

The trouble with the question "are there varying degrees of rape?" is that it could be interpreted to mean:

Are there legal differences? - e.g. like first and second degree murder

Are some rapes worse than others - more evil to commit? e.g. is it worse to drag someone down a dark alley than it is to carry on when your girlfriend says no

Are some rapes worse than others in their effect on the victim?

Unless they explained what they meant by "worse" it's impossible to tell what the people answering thought that they were saying.

absentmindeddooooodles Fri 06-Sep-13 16:22:52

I have wxperienced different degrees of rape. One was significantly more horrific than tje other.

The first was when I was 18. A new place of work, disnt know anyone and in a massive old building where the top 2 floors were stock and staff areas. Whilst getring changed an employe I only met that day came in and attacked me. He was bigger stronger and veey determined. I came away with broken ribbed, tears and had to go through all the horrid checks for stis etc. I became pregnant even after the morning after pill. I lost the baby at 10 weeks or so. The guy skipped the country. It took me a long time to get over that. I had nigjtmares for years.

About a year after my then bf raped me. Not the same. Much less traumatising, although obviously still upsetting and I am in no way underminning anyones feelings. I was in a relationship with him, I knew him. So in that way it was mire of a betrayal.....but still like i said not comparable to the horror of the first time.

Is it wrong for me to differentiate between the two? I think that there certinally can be varying degrees, although whos to say what a person would be morw upset by....

I know im not making much sense. Sorry

scallopsrgreat Fri 06-Sep-13 16:23:50

"The quote from rape crisis that rape is "the most horrendous thing that can happen" is extremely damaging imo because people who don't feel that way (like me) might well dismiss and minimise what happened resulting in them staying in an abusive relationship." Yes I agree. That worried me too. In addition the comment "It's going to affect women in exactly the same way" No no no. Women don't feel the same way about their rapes. I can't believe that someone from Rape Crisis made those comments. They are much more sensitive than that usually. I think that they mucst have been taken out of context or someone very in experienced has made them.

mercibucket Fri 06-Sep-13 16:26:28

thank you, CailinDana, your explanation makes a lot of sense to me

it is worrying to hear there is one man behind both these reports - agenda?.

CailinDana Fri 06-Sep-13 16:53:35

Absentminded, what I would say is that you were raped both times but that the first impacted on you to much greater degree than the second. You weren't "more raped" the first time but you were more gravely hurt both physically and emotionally.
So sorry that you experienced such horrible things. I hope you've had help and support to heal.

IMO the concept of "degrees of rape" only benefits rapists by unnecessarily complicating the concept of rape and allowing apologists to imply that rapes where the victim is drunk/asleep/uninjured aren't "legitimate" rapes. Rape happens at the point where a man inserts his penis into a person's body without their consent. How the rapist goes about getting to that point impacts in different ways on the victim but does not impact on whether or not a rape has occurred.

absentmindeddooooodles Fri 06-Sep-13 17:33:42

Well put cailin. I do agree that the second time was of less impact because of the first experience. I think regardless of that though the shock factor was much worse the first time. The police were heabily involved the first time, so did have support. However I think when it happens in a relationship it is usually seen as totally different. Not that I am condoning any viewpoints like that. But the reality was I never spoke out to anyone about it. I stayed with him for another two years before I found the courage to gwt out. This was due to a number of things, but I dont think alot of peoples outlook on that particular situation helped tbh. I found that I genuinpey disnt rhink people would believe me. Tjat I was playing the victim. He was a fantastic guy to the outside world. But not a soul would have bwlieved that every injury orargument was caused by him. This is what I think needs to be addressed.
Its the typical thing....I felt that by telling anyone it would seem attention seeking and sympathy grabbing. Silly in hindsight but I know so many people mist feel like that.
For the record I am not trying to come across as the eternal victim. These things happened, they were awful and mot caused by me. Im happy, not damahed emotionally anymore and have a lovely family. Just good to speak about it evwn on an anonymous forum.

CailinDana Fri 06-Sep-13 18:18:03

I get what you mean about playing the victim. I felt the same about my rape - it happened while I was asleep I woke up, stopped him (with some difficulty) went to the spare room and broke up with him the next day. Nothing very traumatic it just pissed me off. But because of beliefs like "it's the most horrendous thing" I can't mention it because people automatically expect me to be devastated.

scallopsrgreat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:34:51

Apparently this 'report' was commissioned by Rape Crisis at all. They are supporting an initiative to increase the numbers of ISVAs but haven't done a survey (according to @RapeCrisisSth twitter feed). False reporting all round.

scallopsrgreat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:35:31

wasn't commissioned...

Kendodd Fri 06-Sep-13 18:46:48

I think there are degrees of damage rape can do, that could possibly be described as degrees of rape.

I think a man snatching and raping a child coming home from school is worse than a boyfriend raping his sleeping partner, she wakes up and tries to push him off. I think the problem is more that the second example (and other 'date rape' scenarios) isn't seen as a crime at all by many.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 19:02:58

I think its' the wording.

In law rape is rape - it is a very specific act. It is then combined with other factors such as kidnap / assault / GBH / attempted murder / blackmail or whatever might have happened.

So the law takes into account that different events that include a rape can have additional factors. A rape is a rape is a rape though, the definition is not complicated.

HOWEVER I am not surprised that if asked "are some rapes worse than others" lots of people will say yes as they will have different scenarios in their heads involving different levels of violence and so on.

Not that this is right - but I can understand how they got that answer and it doesn't necessarily mean that they are "downplaying" some rapes IYSWIM.

The "if there's no evidence of a fight / she didn't say no" stuff is much more concerning.

If the same man is involved in all these pieces then it looks like he has an agenda and as it's the BBC there should be somewhere to go about that. But I don't think there is. This man is not into neutral reporting when it comes to sex crimes against women, at all.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 19:04:25

Oh and with this man writing the article there is no guarantee that what he has reported rape crisis saying (which I agree sounds not like the sort of thing they would say) is anything like what they actually said.

CailinDana Fri 06-Sep-13 19:10:28

What I'm saying kendodd is that the idea that there are degrees of rape leads to the belief that situations like mine aren't a crime. It's true that a man snatching and raping a child has more impact than a man raping his partner but they are both rape because they both involve penetration without consent. The circumstances around the rape would be important in a trial but it can't be automatically assumed that a victim will feel or behave a certain way due to the "degree" of rape or that one "type" of rape isn't "legitimate."

Kendodd Fri 06-Sep-13 19:16:36

Well, as I said- 'I think the problem is more that the second example (and other 'date rape' scenarios) isn't seen as a crime at all by many.'

samandi Fri 06-Sep-13 21:41:37

Well, there ARE different degrees of rape. Just as there are different degrees of other types of assault. That seems pretty obvious. (Whether they are all legally distinct is another matter.)

It isn't not rape if the victim doesn't fight back, however.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 21:45:27

Legally there aren't samandi.

It's this:

"A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a)he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
(b)B does not consent to the penetration, and
(c)A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(2)Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents."

Rape is rape is rape is penetration with a penis without consent.
Other things like battery, level of injury are take into account / prosecuted as well.
But fundamentally, a rape is a rape is a rape. It is a very simple definition in law and that is what it is.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 21:47:06

Oh sorry didn't read your post properly blush

The problem is that lots of people / media seem to dismiss lots of rape as "not real rape".

The message that rape is what it is - penetration without consent - needs to be put out there more.

specialsubject Fri 06-Sep-13 21:55:23

headline doesn't match article. Very bad journalism, credited to Amelia Butterly.

the women said that they thought it didn't 'count' as rape if the woman was drunk, or if she didn't say 'no'. Nowhere does it say that anyone said 'there are varying degrees of rape'. Nor do any of the responses judge anyone.

implication from the survey results (not the crap journalism) is that the victims don't report as they don't think anything will happen to catch the rapist.

samandi No, rape is rape. It's that you can have other crimes on top of it.

GettingStrong Fri 06-Sep-13 23:22:16

Although the legal definition of rape is very clear, I agree that there are different degrees of rape wrt the experience of being raped. I have never been raped by a stranger but imagine that must be the worst possible context. In my own experience, being forced to have sex with a partner when I was ill was much worse than being forced when I was not ill.

But I don't really see why it is helpful to draw attention to the differences in degree though, given so many women minimise what has happened to them anyway. I recently watched the film 'the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and found myself watching the very brutal rape scenes in that thinking 'well, what have I got to complain about, nothing as traumatic as that has ever happened to me.' hmm

I am surprised at the comment from Rape Crisis about rape being the worst thing that can happen. Being raped by a partner certainly wasn't the worst thing that has happened to me. In fact the worst thing that this partner did to me sexually wasn't actually something that is officially classed as rape anyway. (And for ages after that I thought 'well, it wasn't rape, so why has it upset me so much he did that against my will?')

I am also surprised at the comment from Rape Crisis that 'it is going to affect women in exactly the same way'. I have certainly been affected by the time that I spent in such a crap relationship, but I find it hard to believe that I will have been affected in 'exactly the same way' as someone raped by a stranger in a dark alley.

Maybe it is just that the woman from Rape Crisis has been somehow taken out of context or misquoted.

queenofdrama Fri 06-Sep-13 23:29:08

If you don't say 'No', then it's not rape. It is different through if you're under the age of consent. IMO

WhentheRed Fri 06-Sep-13 23:32:55

I look at it the other way - if there is no "yes", then there is no consent. if you don't say "yes", then it is rape.

CaptChaos Fri 06-Sep-13 23:34:31

So.... saying 'get off' or anything other than 'no' doesn't count? Saying nothing because you're afraid means you have consented?

If you don't enthusiastically consent, then it's rape.

Even if you have consented before, if you don't consent this time, it's rape.

Anything else is a rape myth, and could be viewed as victim blaming.

Children under the age of consent cannot consent enthusiastically or otherwise.

queenofdrama Fri 06-Sep-13 23:38:43

Fgs. 'No' can come in many forms. Of course 'get off' etc means you don't consent. When, do you say yes everytime you dtd?

BasilBabyEater Fri 06-Sep-13 23:42:35

"If you don't say 'No', then it's not rape. "


Was that a mistake?

You do realise that's not right, don't you?

WhentheRed Fri 06-Sep-13 23:42:59

dtd? What's that?

"Yes" can also come in many forms. But what is required is an actual active consent. Simply not saying no does not equal consent.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 06-Sep-13 23:52:05

You don't have to say no for it to be rape. For the very good reason that if you are drunk, or otherwise incapacitated, you are unable to say no. You are also unable to consent.

Enthusiastic consent needs to be sought and ensured.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 23:52:39

did the deed

times when someone might not say "no"


Loads of people don't say "no".
I said "please don't"
For example

TooMuchFuckingPerspective Fri 06-Sep-13 23:58:23

I've just recently realised that I was raped about 10 years ago. I told friends what happened and none of them thought of it as rape. Actually my boy friend at the time didn't see it as rape but as cheating. I thought I was an intelligent person. Can't believe I'm finally saying this out loud. Feel ashamed.

CaptChaos Fri 06-Sep-13 23:59:59


I was so terrified and such a bloody innocent that I didn't understand what he was doing until he was doing it. Given that he had shoved an old worn pair of socks in my mouth, I didn't have a chance to say no, or anything else in fact. I tried to with my eyes though, does that count as saying no?

I assume that, when he drove me home telling me that I'd enjoyed it, he felt he had enthusiastic consent.

Good to know it wasn't rape though, all those years of trauma.

sad angry

GettingStrong Sat 07-Sep-13 00:00:05

Where partner rapes are concerned, I am not sure it is even as simple as it never being rape if you say yes.

E.g. if you end up saying yes because you are so worn down and fed up of trying to explain why you don't want to have sex and you know that if you say yes and get it over with you will at least be able to sleep in 10 minutes time.

Whereas if you continue to say no - you know the routine and you know that you will still end up having sex when he forces himself on you anyway. But maybe he won't do that until he's tried a bit longer to get you to consent first - and you are knackered and just want to get some sleep.

runningonwillpower Sat 07-Sep-13 00:00:25

NiceTabard describes it well.

There aren't degrees of rape. Rape is rape is rape.

But there are degrees of related violence. That's a fact - some women are beaten horribly in the commission of the offence. So the offences have to be separated. And should be tried as such.

You don't have to be battered to be raped. But the batterer should be charged with that as well.

But who is to evaluate the damage of rape?

Is it worse to be physically beaten by the stranger who leapt from the alley?

Or physically abused and emotionally damaged by the betrayal of a trusted friend/partner/relative?

How does anyone really estimate the damage done to another person?

WhentheRed Sat 07-Sep-13 00:14:08

Gettingstrong, I agree with your comments on "yes". It has to be a proper "yes" too.

Frankly, why should the "damage" of the rape be a relevant consideration? The damage is implicit in the very conduct that occurred. The crime occurs by virtue of the act itself, not the damage that results.

JessePinkmansBitch Sat 07-Sep-13 00:15:14

It can be pretty fucking difficult to fight back when you're fucking unconscious! hmm So what anyone is allowed to penetrate you when you're asleep/drugged up to your eyeballs/passed out drunk, and it's not rape because you didn't fight back? Stupid arse fucking article written by a stupid arse fucking author. hmm

mirry2 Sat 07-Sep-13 00:17:02

So Samandi, you're saying you're walking home at night and a stranger gets hold of you, marches you down an alley and rapes you and you just go along with it because you're frozen with fear, it's not rape because you haven't said no? It happens. it's rape.

gettingstrng I have been there. I have been forced into sex, in that, I didn't want to do it at all, but it was far easier to just shut my eyes and let it happen then deal with the violent fallout that I had experienced before. I never fought, never said no. But I also never said yes, explicitly, I just let it happen for want of a better phrase. Just in case he would get violent.

Rape is rape is rape. A penis (or anything else?) penetrating another person without obvious consent is rape.

CailinDana Sat 07-Sep-13 07:55:42

Queenofdrama - I absolutely say yes every time I have sex, by smiling, kissing and participating enthusiastically which all shows that I am happy and joining in without fear or reservation. Any normal man can tell a yes from a no just from his partner's body language. If I seem even a tiny bit uncomfortable or unhappy my dh immediately asks me if I'm ok. For a man to claim that he "didn't realise" his partner wasn't willing is utter bullshit - what he means is he could see she wasn't enjoying it but he couldn't care less and he can cover his rapist arse by saying "she didn't say no" because people like you are only too happy to excuse him on that basis. I didn't say no to my rape because I was asleep. Do you consider me not to have been raped?

Toomuch are you ok? Do you want to talk more about it?

Is active consent really that hard a concept to grasp? I hate this weird OTT response that certain people have to the issue of active consent being a requirement. Active consent doesn't mean signing a bloody contract beforehand, it just means consenting, and it's a bit more than just "not saying no".

Anniegetyourgun Sat 07-Sep-13 14:22:36

Kind of like saying that if your window isn't broken you weren't burgled. Or that burglaries where windows get broken are worse than ones where the intruder used a skeleton key. The question is did the accused come into your house uninvited and take your stuff? If the answer is yes, it was a "real" burglary. He could also be done for the additional offences of breaking and entering or criminal damage, but your house was no less entered nor your stuff less stolen if he didn't also break something. If you invited him round for tea a few hours before, that doesn't make your possessions any less gone than if a total stranger had driven in from out of town to take them. And only a very weird person would suggest it did.

I like that Annie

Anniegetyourgun Sat 07-Sep-13 14:43:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BasilBabyEater Sat 07-Sep-13 15:08:11

There are loads of reasons why women don't say no when men rape them, quite apart from the obvious ones of being asleep, unconscious or too scared.

It took me years to analyse why I didn't say no, but one of the reasons was because subconsciously I knew there was no point anyway as he was going to rape me whether I said no or not and also, because it may have made things more dangerous for me.

This man had already overrode all the boundaries I'd tried to set. He'd already made it perfectly clear to me that "no" wasn't going to stop him doing what he wanted with me. He'd kissed me when I hadn't wanted him to, he put his hands all over my body when I was trying to pull away from him, he'd pulled me down an alleyway laughing when I'd said it was getting late and I needed to get home. "No" wouldn't have stopped him, but what it would have done, is brought out into the open, that what he was doing, was rape. Men are supposed to stop when you say no, so if they don't, it's clear to both of you, that what is happening, is not a misunderstanding or a mis-communication, it's a rape. If you make that clear by saying no, then there it is, there between you - he's a rapist and you're his victim. And then you won't both be able to pretend it's all OK, you've just had sex, and that might be dangerous because rape is a very serious crime and men are supposed to be sent to prison for a long time for it. And in order to stop that happening or to punish you for the fact that it might happen, he might do something much, much worse than raping you. And so actually, it's better not to say no.

And then rapists and people like queenofdrama who take their cue from rapists, can tell you that you were never raped at all and just had bad sex that you regret and that you should have said no if you didn't want it, because how is the poor guy to know if you don't say no?

CailinDana Sat 07-Sep-13 15:30:57

Well said Basil and Annie.

CailinDana Sat 07-Sep-13 15:32:51

I said to the guy who raped me "I didn't want sex and you went ahead and did it anyway while I was asleep," to which he replied "You're making it sound rapey." Nice, eh. I should have said "Well yes that's because it is rape," but at the time I just wanted to finish with him and forget about it. I still long to confront him about it but for complicated reasons I can't. Bugs me.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 07-Sep-13 15:44:59

I'd like to confront the guy who raped me in my sleep too, caillin. I didn't have the chance to say no - didn't even see it as rape until I joined MN.

He was a trusted boyfriend. It was in our bed, in our flat. When I ended the relationship I hadn't consciously thought it was because of this - I thought I had just fallen out of love with him. Sex with him had started to make my skin crawl - it never occurred to me at the time that this was linked to the sense of violation and the betrayal of trust because of what he had done to me (many times).

He was thought of as an all-round 'nice guy' by everyone, too. sad

One of my exes attempted to rape me (in a fucked up way I was lucky he tried it anally and couldn't force it in) didn't realise the severity of it until years later thanks to MN, like so many I've never confronted him. As far as he is concerned he's just a nice guy, not an attempted rapist. sad

GettingStrong Sun 08-Sep-13 12:36:08

I did try confronting the ex who forced me into sex on numerous occasions. I wanted to make him to see it how I saw it, to make him realize he wasn't being a nice guy but a rapist. I perhaps naively hoped he would understand how much he had upset me and change his ways.

But confronting him didn't work, I couldn't get him to understand. It may have been partly the way I phrased it, as I didn't call him a rapist but instead phrased it along the lines of 'when you force me it feels a bit like rape'. So not exactly direct, but he was my partner at the time and I hoped I could get him to change. He couldn't accept it, and I wish I never bothered to confront him tbh, because he came up with all sorts of reasons why it wasn't rape, to explain and justify his behavior. And for some reason I ended up believing his rationale, and went back to not seeing it as rape. I think I just didn't really want to believe it was rape either. He told me all sorts of crap about men having to have sex when aroused, and I ended up believing stuff about that at 19 that I hadn't believed at 16 hmm

So confronting didn't really do me much good.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 08-Sep-13 12:57:49

I'm not sure it would do me much good either.

I know that he would just do a horrified, put upon look that he was so good at, and say something like 'I would have stopped any time you wanted to' and probably sincerely believed that. Fact was, of course, I was always in a deep slumber and wasn't really in a position to stop him... the sense of having my slumber and peace in my own bed violated like that stays with me still.

I haven't seen him for well over a decade. I think he's with another woman, who I used to work with and know quite well, now. I often wonder if he does it to her. sad

BasilBabyEater Sun 08-Sep-13 13:57:00

I think this is what women mean when they assent to the idea that there are "different degrees of rape".

A quarter of us experience rape or sexual assault. But most of us don't report it, partly because we're aware that the "different degrees" idea means that there is simply no point. No jury will convict a nice guy who rapes his sleeping girlfriend. I knew a jury wouldn't convict the "nice guy" who raped me because I couldn't remember if I'd actually used the word no (and still can't tbh). I also wouldn't have wanted them to convict him - I thought he was a nice guy who had not realised he'd raped me, I thought I was responsible for not having said no clearly enough and I would have been horrified to have had him sent to prison just for accidentally breaching my bodily integrity.

It didn't even occur to me that it was his job to prevent my rape, not mine. I had the same attitude that queenofdrama and most of the rest of society has - that it's women's job to prevent rape, not men's. Part of doing that job properly is to say no (even if it would be dangerous to do so) or not to have given mixed signals by being in a relationship with a man or married to him or sharing a bed with him because we live with him, or having had sex with him or someone else previously, or having flirted with him or not having reported him for sexual assault immediately when he put his hand where we didn't want him to. So we accept that there are degrees to rape and resign ourselves to the fact that men are legally entitled to rape us in most circumstances, because we didn't stop them.

That's what rapists want. And there are only too many people willing to support them in that. Some of them are working at the BBC.

zatyaballerina Sun 15-Sep-13 17:01:22

There are varying degrees, just as there are varying degrees for any other type of assault. Being dragged off the street and viciously gang raped by a group of men would obviously be far more horrific and traumatising than being raped by a partner, they are both awful crimes but in no way equal.

No zatya there is only one degree of rape. What you are getting confused by is that there can be additional crimes on top of it.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 15-Sep-13 20:15:20

I think also - before you think of the rape of a woman by her partner as 'better' than a stranger rape - you have to consider the immense breach of trust involved when you are raped by someone you love and trust. It may not carry the immediate fear that being dragged into an alley by a stranger carries - but being raped by your partner, ie. the one person who is supposed to love and care for you beyond all others, can have long-term affects on the ability to maintain future relationships.

And that's not to say that women are not raped and murdered by their partners - so it's not as if the fear of violence is absent just because he's your partner.

learnasyougo Sun 15-Sep-13 20:42:42

A man leading out of the bushes and forcing sex is rape.
A friend who pressurised you into sexual activity you are not comfortable with is rape. the boyfriend who mounts his sleeping girlfriend is rape. However, I do still think there are degrees of rape, in the same way there are degrees of theft. Someone could violently mug you, mug you with only the threat of violence, a friend could steal your phone, your boyfriend steals your credit card. All are theft, but different degrees if it. in none of those scenarios is the victim to blame, though. (not even if you were out late at night, alone, you left your wallet in plain view, your boyfriend knows where you keep your credit card). Saying there are degrees of rape us NOT like saying there are degrees of victim culpability, just that rapists have different modus operandi. I would expect a violent mugger to get a heftier sentence than the wallet stealing friend, and the trauma felt by the victim to be different. But that doesn't mean the person who had her card stolen by a ratbag boyfriend should feel fine, but I'd expect the violently mugged to be a but more shaken up.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 15-Sep-13 20:45:40

The violence is a crime in itself though, surely? If a rapist punches a victim first, then he's guilty of assault and rape. The rape is still rape - but with aggravating circumstances - it's not "degrees of rape."

CaptChaos Sun 15-Sep-13 22:05:37

There are no degrees of rape.

Rape is rape is rape. There might be aggravating factors, but the rape is the same.

For those that believe that being raped by someone you know is less awful than being raped by a stranger, can you tell me how much worse it is? A ball park percentage. Is it better to be raped by your partner or a family friend? I'm interested to know, so I can understand just how horrific and traumatising my rapes were allowed to be. A scale from 1 to 10 would be good.

I'm interested to know because it would seem that the family friend who raped me and my ExH who repeatedly raped me as part of his DV toward me shouldn't have traumatised me as much as if a stranger did it. I'm probably not being very rational about this, but it sounds to me as if some people would suggest that I might be over dramatising it all, that it wasn't really too bad. It was. It just was.

ModeratelyObvious Mon 16-Sep-13 08:23:41

Do people think that there are different degrees of GBH, depending on whether a friend, a family member or a stranger breaks your arm?

DropYourSword Mon 16-Sep-13 16:10:53

I'm confused as to why people are so adamant that there are no "degrees" of rape and that it's very clear and black and white. While at the same time saying they hadn't realised their experience was a rape until coming onto a site such as MN. Surely if that's your experience, then other people will also believe there are different degrees / levels.

Because we are socialised to think of "rape" as being a stranger dragging an innocent women down an ally and forcing her, despite her struggles.

We are not socialised to think of coercion into having sex or a partner starting to have sex on someone when they are sleeping as rape.

It's only when people describe their experiences to others that they realise that they had sex to which they didn't consent, the definition of which is rape.

Because believing there are different degrees doesn't make it true. And it's wrong that so many rapists get away with it because people have been convinced that sex without consent is ever anything other than rape.

ModeratelyObvious Mon 16-Sep-13 19:27:04

A child might not understand they were abused until they are an adult and describe what happened in their family to someone else. Doesn't mean they weren't.

Some people think that if, say. your DP has a key to your house and takes something of yours, it isn't theft cos they had keys. They are wrong (confusing an insurance claim basis with a criminal claim, I think)

So whilst it's not surprising people think that way, they are still wrong!

JoTheHot Mon 16-Sep-13 20:02:39

There are different degrees of a rape. The UK doesn't explicitly split offences into sub-categories, in the way the US does, but some rapes are nonetheless seen as more serious than others. Rapes with pre-meditated intent, for instance, will be given longer sentences. Conversely, recent prior consensual sexual activity may reduce the sentence.

ModeratelyObvious Mon 16-Sep-13 20:04:57

Hi Jo

Have you got some examples?


NiceTabard Mon 16-Sep-13 20:17:28

In England and Wales this is the rape law:

"A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a)he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
(b)B does not consent to the penetration, and
(c)A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(2)Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents."

A case may have factors which are considered as aggravating / additional offences, or mitigating.

However the law on rape is very very very simple. It is penetration without consent.


Jo that's not degrees of rape that's a judge making a sentencing decision. What you seem to be suggesting is that if a woman is raped by a partner she loves and trusts, that's less serious? I'm afraid I can't agree.

CaptChaos Mon 16-Sep-13 22:45:22

Jo the fact that a judge, who is overwhelmingly likely to be male, decides what cursory sentence a man who, by some miracle, is convicted of rape gets, based on nothing more than their personal opinions, doesn't constitute any kind of statutory degrees of rape. In fact, all it serves to do is reinforce rape myths and make it even less likely that women will come forward IMO, as the risible sentence a man who has severely traumatised a woman by raping her gets makes it look less worth the extra pain and heartbreak of going through with a trial.

Just to recap. Rape is rape is rape. It really is THAT simple.

jo Again, the variation on sentencing will be because of taking into account whether there are additional crimes.

This happens with every crime.

So rape + assault will likely get longer than rape on it's own.

This doesn't mean there are different levels of rape.

JoTheHot Tue 17-Sep-13 09:43:15

Variation in sentencing does not merely take into account other crimes. It also takes into account factors such as pre-meditation. This is not something I'm suggesting, nor is this just at the whim of the judge. It is laid out in the statutory guidelines:

Both legally, and in the prevailing moral view of the UK public, some rapes are more serious than others, i.e. they are of different degrees. Personally, I think a pre-meditated rape, where there is a prior intent to do deliberate harm, is a factor which makes a rape more serious. I appreciate all rapes are serious, and that not everyone shares my view.

Planning a crime is a crime in it's own right, you are still talking about additional things on top of the rape.

ModeratelyObvious Tue 17-Sep-13 10:04:44


Presumably the same is true of, say, GBH. - premeditation of breaking someone's arm would increase the sentencing (as would prior offences vs first offence etc I guess) - but people don't talk about degrees of GBH.

arsenaltilidie Tue 17-Sep-13 10:05:37

The 'varying degrees of rape' is question that's focusing on the victim again. It's dangerous because it sends the wrong message to women in abusive relationship.

Rape is rape and should be treated so because the perpetrators' motive are almost always the same.
The guy in the alley or the boyfriend raping his GF will have the same motive of getting sexual gratification at all costs.
Therefore should be treated the same.

people don't talk about degrees of GBH

No indeed. And perpetrators of GBH don't get lighter sentences because they've had a 'consensual fight' with that person before.

"Degrees of rape" is just a way of trying to identify how much society thinks the victim probably deserved what happened to her.

CaptChaos Tue 17-Sep-13 12:30:09

"Degrees of rape" is just a way of trying to identify how much society thinks the victim probably deserved what happened to her


This a million times.

JoTheHot Tue 17-Sep-13 18:47:12

'Planning a crime is a crime in it's own right' - Are you sure? This doesn't seem right to me. If you plan a rape, but never attempt it or do anything by way of preparation, I can't see what you can be convicted of.

People do talk about degrees of rape. See the OP and the linked article.

The 'varying degrees of rape' is a question that's focusing on the rapist and his actions. "Degrees of rape" is just a way of trying to identify how much society thinks the rapist is despicable.

I meant it in terms of it's considered an additional crime.

We know people talk about degrees of rape. Thing is that they are wrong.

ModeratelyObvious Tue 17-Sep-13 18:53:24


Why don't people talk about degrees of GBH, do you think?

CaptChaos Tue 17-Sep-13 21:16:00

Planning a crime can be a crime in its own right. A person can be convicted of conspiracy to murder when they haven't killed and conspiracy to commit various terrorist offences.

SinisterSal Tue 17-Sep-13 21:23:45

Rape has nothing to do with fists or boots or Rohypnol or anything. That'd be assault.
You can be assaulted without being raped, or vice versa, or both.

It may devastate you or merely irritate you, that's not the defining factor.

BasilBabyEater Tue 17-Sep-13 21:23:45

I'm astonished that in this day and age when information is readily available, people can so confidently assert that "obviously" it's worse to be gang raped than raped by a partner.

It's not for anyone else to decide which rape victims should feel more traumatised by their rape than others, and anyway they're wrong. Knowing that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time and just had a stroke of ill luck in meeting a rapist, can be much easier to come to terms with with the right support, than being left with a feeling that if he can do this, then any man can. The actual fear and terror of being attacked by a stranger may be worse, but the psychological recovery from that, may be quicker and more complete than the psychological fuck-up of having had your sense of safety and belief in your ability and right to set boundaries and have them respected, utterly destroyed by a man you trusted. Some rape victims are more damaged by the violence at the time; some by the psychological destruction afterwards; our job as reasonable human beings, is to listen to them and honour what they say, not tell them how much trauma their rape qualifies them to feel, FFS.

It's so irritating to read such ill-informed crap being asserted so confidently. Sorry to be tetchy, but really - rape is one of those subjects, like teaching and breastfeeding, that any random feels qualified to talk crap about in a way they don't feel they could about quantum physics. It's just so annoying.

SinisterSal Tue 17-Sep-13 21:27:08

Plus the fact that you not even feel entitled to your feelings Basil. The world tells you of course he didn't rape you in your sleep, he's your husband!
So something must be wrong with you to feel so traumatised. You crazy bitch, etc

BasilBabyEater Tue 17-Sep-13 21:37:28

Absolutely - attention seeker, drama queen, taking away from real victims etc.

It's just awful.

MatildaWhispers Wed 18-Sep-13 00:12:45

Plus the fact that with a partner, because some women don't feel entitled to those feelings, they can then end up being raped numerous times.

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