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Channel 4, Rape 'Who's on trial'

113 replies

MrMrsJones · 08/11/2021 21:19

Follows Avon and Somerset police after 2yrs investigations into 4 serious sexual crime investigations

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MrMrsJones · 08/11/2021 21:20

Sorry started tonight at 9pm

Then at 10.30 The rape debate

OP posts:

catzwhiskas · 09/11/2021 00:25

I thought the women in the room in the debate were fantastic. I didn’t think that rape should be framed as a debate . It was clear that women still don’t matter. And still the men who are perpetrators get off. Thank you to all the women speaking about their awful experiences.


MrMrsJones · 09/11/2021 07:54

I haven't watched it yet, I will tonight.

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ScrollingLeaves · 09/11/2021 09:28

I saw it and put a thread on AIBU last night ( had as I was watching regarding the fact that one problematic but believable case was instantly dropped by the police when they found she had sent the alleged perpetrator a photo of herself in a bra and a photo of her naked breasts. The police man said something like “You have to consider the message that sent”… eg that in itself would be considered consent.
So sexting is default consent to rape in practice.

I also noticed that the police man interviewer talking to a 19 girl who had been sleeping when her mother’s boyfriend got into bed with her and raped her. She had been shouting no loudly enough for her mother to come up. The police actually said to her, about the actual rape as it was happening, “How were you feeling then?” I found that an odd question.

The defense barrister at the end made it clear that a great deal hinges not deciding whether the girl or woman has consented, but whether the rapist believes there was consent.

Well, that means almost anything could be construed as consent. We all know of men who think that you fancy them if you so much as look at them. That in some cultures girls wear burkas because they are too inviting otherwise is like an exaggerated version of this way of thinking.

The prosecutor (?) of the Rotherham trials was there at the debate. He was brilliant and rather extraordinary. He noted that no representative of the CPS had agreed to come to the debate. He said the CPS was only willing to take on easy cases.


Mischance · 09/11/2021 09:33

I thought that the policewoman who is some sort of national lead on the issue was utterly pathetic. They need someone with a bit more brain functioning.


Thelnebriati · 09/11/2021 10:20

The link is here, you need an account and to sign in;


MoonlightApple · 09/11/2021 10:44

Thanks for sharing. It’s a national disgrace that the prosecution rate for rape is so low. Those involved should be ashamed of themselves.


Felix125 · 09/11/2021 12:03

Haven't watched the first program fully yet - but saw the debate.
Although I was shocked at the evidence bag being sealed with a cable tie???????? There's the forensics for that one out the window! I'm amusing that was just for ease for the TV program.

On the debate, there was a lot of people saying that the whole thing needs to be dismantled and rebuilt - but then no suggestions of what they would like to see as a replacement. Or what part of the process that they want to change.

CPS need to take more cases through to court to have the evidence tested there - but as the defence solicitor pointed out, the victim needs to be supported better to the points which the defence will raise - the court room should not be the first time the victim is presented with this.

The CPS representative made an interesting remark, that you will not know what prejudices the jury will bring in with them - even if you have an all female jury say - they might bring with them some misogynistic views or 'victim blaming' views - should we get rid of the jury in such trials?

I think the debate missed a trick by not having male victims of rape (and yes i know that the vast majority of victims are female) but it would have been interesting to see what there views of the process is. Do they get asked questions that makes them doubt the process or do they find prejudices thrown at them during the investigation and at court? Is it down to a misogynistic system - or if the male victims have similar issues then it might not be.


MedusasBadHairDay · 09/11/2021 12:16

That was rage inducing. So many rapists getting away with it, even the one in that programme who was found guilty will be out again to reoffend - he's already shown that he will. It's horrendous.


ScrollingLeaves · 09/11/2021 17:36

That was rage inducing. So many rapists getting away with it, even the one in that programme who was found guilty will be out again to reoffend - he's already shown that he will. It's horrendous.“

Yes, it was his case worker who recognised him in the posters. He already had a track record yet was out and about free to carry on.


JazzyBBG · 09/11/2021 17:55

@ScrollingLeaves was it Nazir Afzal?


Wheresmywoolyjumpers · 09/11/2021 18:04

I felt that the police officer and the defence barrister made some good points actually - but no one spelled out that as long as we have an adversarial system of law and one which assumes innocence until proved guilty victims will be treated like this.


Wheresmywoolyjumpers · 09/11/2021 18:28

On the point about CPS - knew someone who worked for them - the working conditions were atrocious and target driven, which meant they had extremely limited time to think about the cases they were presented with, and a push to only put forward cases they could win. This knocks back the police who respond to that. In addition the police culture is misogynistic, as we have seen. I felt sorry for the police rep - she is fighting such a difficult situation.


ScrollingLeaves · 09/11/2021 19:50

ScrollingLeaves was it Nazir Afzal?”

Nazir Afzal was one of the people at the debate afterwards. He was in charge when the Rotherham case was going on.


ScrollingLeaves · 09/11/2021 19:54

I think we heard the police woman who was speaking for the police say that 70% of the time they are dealing with rape cases.

As most of these are not prosecuted anyway it is all rather hopeless.


Felix125 · 10/11/2021 07:30


I think we heard the police woman who was speaking for the police say that 70% of the time they are dealing with rape cases.

As most of these are not prosecuted anyway it is all rather hopeless.

Its no way 70% of police time is dealing with rape case - not even close, when you consider all the other jobs which come in.

Wheresmywoolyjumpers · 10/11/2021 10:56

How do you know they are not spending 70% of their time on that, @Felix125? Not a goad, just interested. It was a shocking claim but I don't know what the police get involved in these days enough to evaluate it. In fact, if it is true, it makes the picture even worse for the police and their effectiveness.


ScrollingLeaves · 10/11/2021 15:52

I think we heard the police woman who was speaking for the police say that 70% of the time they are dealing with rape cases.

As most of these are not prosecuted anyway it is all rather hopeless.
Its no way 70% of police time is dealing with rape case - not even close, when you consider all the other jobs which come in.“

Felix, I thought that was what was said on the debate. I’ll try watching it again. Maybe I was wrong given you feel sure.


Felix125 · 10/11/2021 17:07

You'll have to give the full quote on what she said - maybe it was part of specific unit that was taking 70% of their time. But if she's saying 70% of all police time is taken up with rape cases, then she misguided and obviously hasn't been on the front line for many years.

I've been a police officer now for 20+ years and a SOLO (rape trained officer) for a while now. There's no way that our time is taken up with 70% rapes.

Front line officers deal with all sorts of things - thefts, frauds, criminal damages, domestics disputes/violence, missing from homes, sudden deaths, burglaries both dwelling and non-dwelling, public order, child concerns, vulnerable adult concerns, mental health cases - you name it really. If the initial attendance by officers reveal that this will lead to a more protracted inquiry, then you might be able to pass this on to a specialised department (CID, DV, HBV units etc) but you often find that they will be too busy themselves to take a lot on.

And then there is all the paper work & case file side of things.........

I could go on for days....

As a guess - I would say the figure would be about 5% - but it probably varies from place to place too


migmogmash · 10/11/2021 17:23


The 70% figure was referring to her unit, not police as a whole. I can't remember exactly how she worded it though.

The whole programme was a frustrating watch- if some of the officers involved are victim blaming (thinking of the woman who sent pictures particularly) then what hope is there of changing public perception. That some people 'ask for it' by how they dress or behave. Nobody ever deserves to be raped.

I don't know what the answer is, but I came away from it still thinking I'd done the right thing not reporting the man who raped me. I couldn't cope with them looking through my phone etc and treated like a guilty party for CPS to drop it and the report to go nowhere. It just adds an extra layer onto the trauma. I'm sure many others feel similar. Sad


Felix125 · 10/11/2021 18:07


That would make more sense with the 70% figure. Depends what her unit is though and what other things it deals with. If its just rapes, then I wonder what they are doing with the only 30% of the time....???

Victim blaming is wrong and if officers are doing this or suggesting it, then it needs to stop. Particularly at the first encounter with police. For me, I work on the premises of believing the victim from the onset - so if they have been raped - then they have been raped and I set the wheels in motion from that.

It was interesting that the people in the audience never said if their experiences were recent or not. Whether things are changing? I know the SOLO courses (rape trained) always go by the premises of believing the victim unless there is something really off with the account given

The one thing that the programme didn't mention was - was there a reason for officers asking what the victim was wearing? We might have to do this for CCTV purposes as we need to describe the victim to the CCTV person who is going to review it. Perhaps the police didn't make that clear to the victim when they were asking maybe. Most CCTV is not as good as the stuff shown on TV.

The sending of the pictures. Again nothing wrong and certainly doesn't give anyone permission to do anything against the victim. But, if the victim has said that she has had no contact with the suspect, then the police find that victim has sent a number of photos/texts before the incident - then it casts doubt on her initial account. Now, that's not to say that it gave any permission to the suspect - but the defence will jump all over that and suggest to the court 'if the victim has been untruthful about that, what else are they being untruthful about'

From a police point of view - do we wait until that goes to court before its revealed, or do the police raise that with the victim before hand? And then from that, does the victim think 'the police don't believe me'

I don't know what the answers are either. It was interesting to hear the CPS suggesting that jury trials may need to be scrapped - as a lot of jury members will bring their own prejudices into the court with them. That might be one way forward.

Your situation is not uncommon and i hope you were able to get some support for what happened. A lot of rapes I deal with the victim either just wants access to support services - or is happy that we have arrested the suspect and they have spent the night in the cells - beyond that they just want to leave it, so they can get on with dealing with whats happened in their own time and not to re-live it through the courts in 6 months time.


reesewithoutaspoon · 10/11/2021 18:58

As long as the standard is "beyond reasonable doubt" then juries will continue to return not guilty. When it comes down to 'he said she said' and the defence barrister can manage to seed doubt in the mind of the jury with common rape myths, then I don't know how this will change.
Beyond reasonable doubt is interpreted as absolutely no doubt and unfortunately, as rape isn't often witnessed, juries err on the side of caution.


ScrollingLeaves · 10/11/2021 19:03

The 70% figure was referring to her unit, not police as a whole. I can't remember exactly how she worded it though.”

Thank you for explaining. I apologise for being misleading. If I watch it again I’ll try to get the exact quote.


Wheresmywoolyjumpers · 10/11/2021 19:07

@Felix125 - thanks for your answer and interesting point about asking about what the victim is wearing and why this may be - I would not have thought about CCTV identification. Are barristers still allowed to ask about what people were wearing when they are in court and to imply it was provocative? Could police be asking for that reason, or do you think there are just some officers who are biased/prejudiced? I thought the police in the program came across pretty well but there was one point with the woman who had been assaulted in the toilets which made me massively uncomfortable.


ScrollingLeaves · 10/11/2021 19:08

@migmogmash I am so sorry you were raped. I can well imagine you could not face reporting it.

Did they say only 1% do?
And 7% get through the CPS?

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