......but if I was a woman I'd make a fortune out of "rape" allegations...Easy money..
- Taxpayer, Hammersmith UK, 13/8/2008 1:36
It's almost impossible to parody people on the Mail's messageboards because I'm always half-wondering if they're taking the Michael themselves. But as I discovered with Jeff Marshall, a lot of them really aren't and really do believe the stuff they write. So when someone calls himself 'Taxpayer' they really mean it. And when they say they could make 'a fortune' out of '"rape" allegations', they mean it.
That's despite just six per cent of rape allegations resulting in a conviction (and yes, in the past, in a tiny minority of cases, the criminal injuries compensation authority has paid out despite there not being a conviction, but this is by far the exception rather than the rule). Despite that, 'Taxpayer' backs himself against those incredible odds, were he to be a woman, to make 'a fortune' by falsely making rape allegations against men. Despite the fact there might be men like him present on a jury, if you see what I mean.
These, then, are the comments for the story I wrote about earlier, regarding Roger Graef's article on rape.
It makes for depressing reading, on the whole. I say 'on the whole' because there are many articulate comments laying into the idiots, but there are many idiots too. As is often the case with discussion of rape at the Mail, many commenters attempt to rubbish the idea of rape and claim that a lot of it's made up by man-hating women. So you get:
Women think they can have it both ways: be promiscuous, but if they have regrets the next day, claim rape.
- John Kantor, United States, 13/8/2008 3:23
But... this isn't what this story's about. It's about a woman whose rapist was convicted by a jury - and 14 others in the same situation. There was no 'claim'. These were real crimes committed by real rapists against real women. This commenter links the idea of rape with promiscuity, as if a claim of rape is equivalent to moral regret over casual sex.
Considering that 94% of rapes go unconvicted (aka false allegations), I would say that the 60% figure quoted in the article (of false reporting in the 1970s) was rather modest. How about some justice for all those innocent men falsely accused?
Though I won't hold my breath for that anytime soon, not with our current, anti male government.
- Leory, Doncaster, UK, 13/8/2008 5:05
No, the fact that 94% of rapes do not result in conviction does not mean these are false allegations either - our justice system, rightly, requires proof beyond reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. Which is as it should be. It's also the case that, because of societal attitudes towards victims of rape (ie blaming the victim because she drank alcohol) that convictions are possibly not as high as they should be.
What an intelligent, well written and balanced article.
Genuine victims of rape would have a massively higher chance of getting a conviction if we as asocierty regarded false malicious rape claims as the horrific crime that they really are.
Attempting to frame someone for rape is clearly a sex offence and those guilty need to be on the sex offenders register. Only when there is a reasonable disincentive for making false rape claims can genuine victims be confident in getting justice.
- John Kimble, Southampton, 13/8/2008 5:35
Why this obsession with false allegations? I would go back through the Mail's archives if I had time and I think I'd find the answer. Deep in the back of my mind there is the idea that the Mail has concentrated in the past on 'false accusations' and debating the truthfulness of 'date rape' allegations. There is a sneery, nasty tone to soe of these comments.
f you're an adult,you are responsible for yourself, AND your behaviour, AND for the consequences of that behaviour, or misbehaviour.
If you go out and get so blind drunk you don't know what's happening, then go off with a stranger whom you've picked up in a bar late at night, do you really think he's going to discuss literature, or philosophy, or politics with you all night?
It's that simple. Stay in control. You owe it to yourself.
- Debbie, Sharjah, UAE, 13/8/2008 6:38
There's also a very moralistic judgmental attitude towards victims of crimes based on lifestyle choices - if you drink, so goes this logic, then you pretty much deserve what's coming to you.
This probably won‚t be very popular with the ladies but one of the results of alcohol consumption is a reduction in inhibitions. If the next day when you sober up and the inhibitions return you feel guilty about the sex you had the night before, it wasn‚t rape. It was sex.
Rape is when you say no and are forced. It is not feeling guilty about a decision made when you were intoxicated.
- David, Albright, USA, 13/8/2008 7:13
Taking the previous comment to its logical conclusion - alcohol makes you allow yourself to be raped; then you sober up and think you didn't want to be raped, when in fact you did, so you call it rape, even though it wasn't.
Charles continues the conspiracy theory of the man-hating NuLab government and judiciary with this comment, again emphasising the belief that most rapes aren't really rapes at all:
Maybe the conviction rates aren't high because most of the crimes just did not happen in the first place. So why should manipulation of the facts and more focus on getting a conviction at all costs be the main goal? Look at the conviction rates for burgalry or street robbery. Almost no one is convicted for these crimes, crimes where there is clear physical evidence rather than evidence based on one word against another in private. You don't see a herculean effort in these cases being made by the police and CPS to secure a conviction.
But hey, it's all about a woman versus a nasty man. And in modern day UK a man is allways a beast and a woman can do no wrong and must be believed at all costs.
The justice system in this country requires evidence and proof to be able to convict. If that can't be presented to the CPS or the court then I'm sorry girls, but a conviction cannot be arrived at. You know that. So don't expect the system to be changed for political reasons.
- Charles, UK, 13/8/2008 7:53
These views show that there's a long way to go. Some people (do they represent the majority?) think most rapes are really regretted sex and that most people who are raped kind of deserve it. Maybe this is the reason why conviction rates are so low - because of these attitudes.
But there are more hopeful comments which prove that not all Mail readers (or people reading this story) are absolute fuckwits:
This article misses the point that the woman in question, 'Helen', was raped by a total stranger who jumped out on her on the way home. She wasnt blind drunk and half naked with a man she had been snogging earlier. Are women not supposed to drink alcohol at all? Or not to walk home on their own? The message we seem to be getting here is that women should stay at home and only venture out wearing a burka.
- C Lewis, bristol, 13/8/2008 8:14
At what point does drinking alcohol make acceptable for a man to take advantage, one drink, two drinks, three, four? How would you test the exact amount that a woman/man consumed at the point of the rape? What if you were drunk when burglars came and robbed your house, would that be your fault? If you were mugged and beaten senseless on the street but had a glass of wine at a dinner party, would that be your fault? Bearing in mind only 5% of REPORTED rapes end in a conviction, I don't think would be rapists have much to be concerned about. If you take away any amount of compensation from someone who has been raped, it is like saying you are to blame and that is not right.
- M, Beds, 13/8/2008 8:40
Charles, how can you compare a rape to burgulary or street robbery? Rape is a violation of a person's body and as a rape victim, I can tell you that I'd rather be robbed once a week for the rest of my life than raped again. This is not a woman v man issue, it is a criminal issue, and one where, as you say, the odds are stacked against the victim because of the usual lack of witnesses. I hope you realise that what you're saying is that most rapes should go unpunished for this reason. People like you hand these rapists a blank cheque to do whatever they like. I'd love to know how your views would change if this ever happened to your wife, mother or sister. I bet you'd think differently then.
- Sally, Sydney, Australia, 13/8/2008 8:52
Do you think a drunk man is in any way responsible if he gets stabbed during a night out?
- Anna, London, 13/8/2008 8:54
Having being raped at the age of 15 (and still a virgin at the time) I found this article deeply upsetting. I am now approaching 40 and the memories never go away. I agree that there are too many women who cry rape when they are simply regretting their actions the next day, but equally, there are far more women who are afraid to report their rape for fear of having to be "raped" again in the witness box. My rape wasn't reported even though my father was a serving police officer because, back in the "good old days" if you were wearing a short skirt and had had a drink you were "asking for it". I am glad attitudes have changed somewhat but the police and judiciary still have a long way to go.
- LM, Croydon, UK, 13/8/2008 9:11
"When I was a young man, flirtatious women often said no, while sending strong physical signals to the contrary." [this was what Graef had said in the original article]
No means emphatically NO! It's absolute fantasy and self delusion on the part of the man to believe that a woman actually wants it when she says no. Some men see a woman's desire not to be impolite or rude to a man pestering them, as a come on - it really isn't - it's all in your mind!
- Sue, Cheshire, 13/8/2008 9:19
And my favourite comment of the lot:
I wonder if someone were to kill or mug a drunk man, whether it would be as acceptable because the man was 'asking for it'? Sure it is advisable for a woman to be careful, but that decision is her prerogative. No man can even begin to comprehend the mental terror that a woman lives under while travelling alone or late at night even when sober. It is not for the men out there to judge a woman's morals based on how much she's drunk or what her sexual history has been. Infact it's not about this issue alone, I think women are always held up to scrutiny more. Whether its having a career, choices about NOT starting a family, sexual history. Men certainly spend a lot of time getting judgemental about a woman when it is to their advantage. Of course when it comes to them doing the same thing...'its biological...men will be men...' etc. etc.
- K, Delhi, India, 13/8/2008 7:51
So there you have it. Many thoughtful comments; many other not very thoughtful comments. The voices of sanity just about win, but maybe the others shout louder. But it's an insight into views that still hold sway, about rape and about women, which mean that justice will be hard to find for some time yet.
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