Brian Paddick busts a rape myth
As part of the We Believe You campaign, our guest bloggers bust a different rape myth each day. Our guest blogger Brian Paddick is London Lib Dem Mayoral candidate and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police. He explains why we should take sex workers' reports of rape seriously.
MYTH: It's not rape if a woman has consented to some sexual intimacy, or has previously had sex with many partners
Whatever the circumstances that lead to a man and a woman being in an intimate situation, at any stage the woman can draw a line and say “no further”, whether she changes her mind or because she never agreed in the first place. Some men may think this is very difficult or very frustrating, but that is no excuse. No matter what their natural urges might be, no matter what the “provocation”, if a woman says ‘”no”, a man who doesn’t listen is a rapist.
I conducted a review of rape investigation when I was a senior police officer. I was very concerned about the number of allegations reported to the police in some parts of London where the woman was not believed. Some cases are complex; cases where women cannot remember what happened to them because they were either drunk or had been drugged, other cases involving women who have learning difficulties and others involving sex workers.
No matter what happens, unless a woman is in a position to freely give conscious, informed and explicit consent, the police must record the allegation as rape. Even if a woman is paid for sexual services, she has the right to change her mind or to be believed is she says she consented to some forms of intimacy and not others.
Every woman who reports that she has been raped has the right to be believed. Some cases may be difficult to prove, some survivors may not want to take the case to court but the way they are treated by the police, the care they receive as a survivor, can be just as important and seeing the offender brought to justice. The most important thing police officers can say to a woman who reports that she has been raped is “we believe you.”