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Guest blog: Rape myths are like zombies which refuse to die

(13 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Mar-13 16:35:28

This week, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer announced new research which shows that false allegations of rape are far less common than many believe. As if to prove his point, the BBC chose to focus not on the myth-busting figures themselves, but on some of those very rare cases of false allegation - thus adding to the public perception that women often lie about rape (MNers are discussing it over here.)

In our new guest blog Holly Dustin of the End Violence Against Women Coalition deplores their approach - and argues that rape myths are like zombies, refusing to die even in the face of the facts.

Do have a read, and let us know what you think? If you post on this topic, leave your URLs on the thread - and do have a look at what Mumsnet Bloggers Glosswitch, My Elegant Gathering of White Snows, and A Hot Bath Won't Cure It have to say about it.

Pennykettle Fri 15-Mar-13 10:37:33

I know that rape stats - that's genuine incidents of rape - are much higher than reported, because not everyone who's raped reports it (whereas wrongful rape allegations probably are reported). Consider why rape isn't reported: you've just been raped, the first thing you want is a shower and most of all to be left alone, to process. Why would you go to an organisation you KNOW has covered up KNOWN child abuse and ask for justice? In my humble opinion any woman who reports rape is very brave indeed. The BBC is clearly staffed by people whose attitudes cause the problems we've seen there in the treatment of more junior staff and even children. Mostly dominant males. If we don't change attitudes we won't change the outcome and part of that change has to be caused be effective punishment for wrongdoing. So we could pressure the BBC but I also think an effective change could be made in the police and of course the CPS should maintain anonymity of victims. For how can we encourage more people to report the vile criminal actions of others, including whistleblowers at the BBC?

Kirk1 Fri 15-Mar-13 12:34:15

The reason for wanting anonymity for men accused of rape is that it is a stigma that sticks worse than other accusations. I think the reason for this stigma is the horrendous conviction rate. If you know someone who has been accused of rape, the chances of them being "falsely accused" is (can't remember exactly)2%. Even if they are subsequently not prosecuted, the chances of them being guilty are still 98%.

So I think it's a stigma that should stick because until women can be certain that they will get justice, the reporting rate wont increase. Until more women report it will continue to be a crime that men can get away with. Until the conviction rate improves the stigma will stick. While this state of affairs lasts at least it gives the rest of us a chance to avoid the known creeps.

TheFallenNinja Fri 15-Mar-13 13:13:05

I think it would be helpful to understand exactly how and what evidence needs to be gathered and how this is done. Uncertainty of the process may remove one of the bars to non reporting.

LineRunner Fri 15-Mar-13 17:26:22

The BBC reporting was disgusting. Its failure to apologise and understand what it has done is bloody awful.

whimsicalmess Fri 15-Mar-13 21:43:25

Tbh anonimity should be given to both parties, I really do not agree with criminal trials being turned into forum fodder or a media circus, where stigma is used and keyboard warriors are playing judge,jury and prosecution. I think personally completely anonymous is the way forward and focus on getting more convictions.

cockburnjohn8 Fri 15-Mar-13 23:52:00

The BBC rarely reports on rape. When it does it is often skewed. In this respect they are failing to deliver their objective 'to inform' as set by the BBC Trust, and in turn also letting down society by preventing the crucial debate we need on rape and rape culture. I blogged about this recently in my post below and am working on a more substantial piece at the moment.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 16-Mar-13 02:33:06

Whimsical, do you think all people accused of any crime should have anonymity?

TheProfiteroleThief Sat 16-Mar-13 07:24:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrickingFedUp Sat 16-Mar-13 08:10:32

If men accused of rape were not named then many serial offenders would never have been convicted. Making their names public means that other victims might come forward which strengthens the case, as obviously just raping one woman often is not enough of a crime to warrant punishment...hmm

whimsicalmess Sat 16-Mar-13 11:39:20

most crimes yes,

SolidGoldBrass Sat 16-Mar-13 14:34:51

WOndering why people insist on believing the myths .

SirEdmundFrillary Sat 16-Mar-13 15:53:12

All the reporting I heard concentrated on the wrong way round, which kind of proves the point.

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