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Petition for ban on use of victim's past sexual history in rape cases

(58 Posts)
MostlyHet Tue 18-Oct-16 17:08:38

petition here

There's a thread in feminism, but I thought I'd try to bring it to a wider audience. (Not my petition btw, but I think it's a very good idea).

RedCrab Tue 18-Oct-16 17:14:54

Signed.

ThorandLokiSandwich Tue 18-Oct-16 17:17:33

Signed & shared

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Tue 18-Oct-16 17:20:56

A shame that the petition doesn't seem very well researched or aware. It is actually Section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act of 1999, and the section explicitly states that its purpose is to restrict evidence or questions about previous sexual history, subject to exceptions.

Now I am appalled that in this case the defence were allowed to invoke Section 41, but I don't think an inaccurately worded petition is going to really be taken very seriously. It is more likely just to add fuel to the flames of those who think the protesters against the verdict are just a load of hysterical women who don't understand the law.

MostlyHet Tue 18-Oct-16 17:30:48

I think the petition was started by women who are aware of section 41, Theonly, and are all too aware of the fact that it is regularly ignored in practice, and that in a substantial proportion of rape cases the woman's past sexual history, relevant or not, is still raked over in court. The only way to prevent this would be a total ban. (Incidentally, the prosecution is not allowed to mention the defendant's sexual history and past convictions for sexual offences).

venusinscorpio Tue 18-Oct-16 17:38:08

I've also started a thread in feminist chat if anyone wants to discuss either the technical legal issues or the feminist concerns about allowing sexual history evidence and the ethical issues on both sides.

I link to several legal documents including the relevant section 41 legislation. Someone else has linked to a Home Office report which raised concerns in 2006 about how the restrictions were being interpreted in practice by judges and barristers.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Tue 18-Oct-16 17:49:45

I get that, MostlyHet, and I do agree that Section 41 should be reviewed. I just wish the petition had been phrased accurately, that's all.

BeyondReasonablyDoubts Tue 18-Oct-16 17:54:02

It's bloody annoying that they can't be amended after being set up - I'm pedantic as fuck but noticed mistakes in one I did before after it was up and running. grin

Destinysdaughter Tue 18-Oct-16 17:56:33

Bloody brilliant idea! Someone's previous sexual history has absolutely zero relevance as to whether they have consented...

AristotlesTrousers Tue 18-Oct-16 17:57:21

I've signed it, though like the rest of you, I'd have preferred to have signed an accurate one. It's a shame they can't be edited. Ah well, I've signed. smile

JellyBelli Tue 18-Oct-16 18:01:17

I've signed anyway. I someone brings out a more accurate one I'll signt that as well.

If a rapist can be tried and not have his previous rapes brought up as evidence so as not to prejudice a fair trial, I dont see why his victims sexual history should ever be introduced.

Fuckingitup Tue 18-Oct-16 19:46:33

Signed and bump.

The wording shouldn't matter in terms of response. That the intention of the 1999 Act in relation to this was express gives weight to the issue. So it'd be a piss poor response to stop at that. Could hinder publicity I guess. Pretty sure a further petition wouldn't be allowed on same issue.

JAPAB Tue 18-Oct-16 20:01:50

Bloody brilliant idea! Someone's previous sexual history has absolutely zero relevance as to whether they have consented...

No, not on whether they were consenting, but in some cases it may have a bearing on the likelihood of whether someone else could have believed them to be consenting.

That said, if the exemptions and restrictions are being abused or misinterpreted, this obviously needs to be addressed.

WhoKnewSeamus Tue 18-Oct-16 20:06:41

Signed and shared

Felascloak Tue 18-Oct-16 20:10:35

Fuck off JAPAB. How on earth is someone's previous sexual behaviour relevant to whether they consent this time, with this man?

JAPAB Tue 18-Oct-16 20:11:56

Felascloak, as I said, it doesn't.

FucksSakeSusan Tue 18-Oct-16 20:13:11

Signed!

Felascloak Tue 18-Oct-16 20:16:08

" in some cases it may have a bearing on the likelihood of whether someone else could have believed them to be consenting."

How exactly does it do that?
Give me a circumstance where a woman's previous sexual behaviour can lead a man to reasonably believe she consented to sex with him?

BeyondReasonablyDoubts Tue 18-Oct-16 21:00:15

1,200 signatures now smile

MyWineTime Tue 18-Oct-16 21:14:39

Signed

MostlyHet Tue 18-Oct-16 22:41:09

Bump

WomanWithAltitude Tue 18-Oct-16 23:46:54

Over 3000 now

JAPAB Wed 19-Oct-16 06:53:01

Felascloak, Give me a circumstance where a woman's previous sexual behaviour can lead a man to reasonably believe she consented to sex with him?

That's not it. The previous history might go some way to supporting the defence narrative IF the man reports her behaving in ways that past history might witness as being her M.O. in the bedroom. When as a stranger to her he would have no way of knowing this and would have had to have made a lucky guess if lying. This would support his narrative and go against a prosecution narrative, say, that she was too out of it to participate or consent and he was having sex with an utterly out of it just lying there woman.

Surely only rare are the cases when this sort of thing might be genuinely applicable, and you can argue the point about whether it was in this case, but in principle, never say never to something like this being genuinely relevant.

venusinscorpio Wed 19-Oct-16 07:02:12

Thanks for bumping JAPAB.

acornsandnuts Wed 19-Oct-16 07:10:12

Signed

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