Friday, December 29, 2006

A Way to Boost Rape Convictions?

I know people who visit me here don't often read the daily snail, but I like to keep an eye on it online, primarily for pieces like this, which never fail to shock me. I shall let you read the article if you wish, but perhaps it is more disturbing to read their readers' comments. Should you read them online, you may notice some punctiontion has been corrected; it was so hideous I couldn't host it here! You would think those with such righteousness on their side would be correct in all matters, but it seems not. I should add that my comment that rape is not about sex but power has gone unpublished, I can't claim bias, sometimes my comments are published & sometimes not & there are a couple of more sensible notions amongst the detritus.

Originally I was going to add a comment here, after each of the comments, if you see what I mean. But my blood pressure wouldn't take it. What I do think is interesting is that rape convictions are notoriously low, & this newspaper has decided to interpret one way of addressing this as "Men face jail for rape if women are 'too drunk' to consent in bed to boost convictions." it is a subtle inaccuracy which assisted the 45 people quoted below to respond as they have.

So even one drink prior to consensual sex will now mean rape has taken place? What sort of nonsense is this? Adrian, Reading, UK

About time too. But if we're not going to name the female victims from the start then maybe we should treat the men as not guilty until proved otherwise. Nigel, Doncaster, England

Many of the drunken women I have seen are jumping on top of men wanting sex. If this law is brought in they better build lots of new prisons! Ray Baker, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear

Yet another new law that removes any personal responsibility from the "victim". Women do have the right to the protection of the law but they should also have the self respect not to become falling down drunk and have sex with people they meet out when drunk. Will a guy be able to use this law against a woman who takes advantage? Typical NuLabour encourage binge drinking and drunkenness and then legislate more to try and control the fallout. Helen, Northamptonshire

It’s a very grey area and the courts will have their work cut out! Donald Dehaviland, Fleet Hampshire

This is just the sort of thinking which results in serious injustice though I have no doubt that many people will agree with this populist change to the law. Peter Hargreaves, Stockport, Cheshire

Another depressing example of the Labour 'right on' brigade venting their hatred of men. 'All men are rapists' used to be their feminist war cry, and it looks as though they now want to enshrine it in Law. Vote them out, or there will soon be an on the spot fine for being male! A. Howlett, Manchester

How drunk is drunk? How is a young man who is also drunk supposed to know if the woman is drunk? More of Blair’s ill conceived laws. I have three grown up daughters and need them to be protected from rapists but this sort of law is unworkable and is designed to give the impression that Labour is doing its' job. There is a reason that crimes like rape are difficult to prosecute and that is simply because they are difficult to prosecute. I know that sounds a stupid statement but it is true. Rape is typically a 'private' crime and is often one person’s word against another. Many times young people have woken up with someone and cringed at what they have done. Believe it or not, that is now a crime as on many occasions the girl will now cry rape. As this will now be very easy to get a conviction on, the police will go out all guns blazing and meanwhile the really evil predatory rapist (who is difficult to catch) will ply his evil trade with impunity. Well done Mr. Blair. Ian, Lincoln

So, follow this scenario: What if the woman, the next morning and thinking better of it, decides that she has made a silly mistake, and to salve her conscience reports the sex act. As a fib, she adds that she was drunk. Whose word would be believed? We have seen enough cases of lying evil women shouting rape in the last 12 months, I think that this new law will make it far too easy for a malicious self serving woman to destroy some innocent mans life; possibly even open up a new avenue for blackmail. David, UK

If its rape when a woman is drunk, then every time a woman has sex with a drunken man she is also committing rape in such cases I would, respectfully, suggest that more men are raped than women. Richard Stratford, Lewes, West Sussex

Of course this means both parties would have to be breathalysed BEFORE the act, but by whom? Will this mean a government watcher in every room, because action is not necessarily restricted to a bedroom? Peter, Sittingbourne UK

If a male is drunk and decides ends up sleeping with a woman who he would not normally do, can he claim rape? And if they are both drunk, then who raped who? Paul, Livingston

Women must start showing more respect for themselves by not becoming so drunk and disgusting that they are putting themselves at serious risk. Claire, LONDON

Women should be encouraged to have self respect and not get drunk, but of course that doesn't fit in with PC women’s lib thinking does it? The stupid lefties have let down a whole generation of women and continue to do so. Kenny, south of the river

After 25 years I can shed a tear knowing that the courts wouldn't point the finger at me if that rape had occurred at this time in history. I was very young and had gotten drunk at a party. Some older men were there (I was 17 or 18) and I was raped by one man who had secretly had an attraction to me. This has haunted me for years and had changed my naturally easy going, open personality ever since. I feel satisfied just with this new today. All men are not rapists, but men who take advantage of a drunken opportunity to violently force themselves on a woman are. Kim, New York City

How about ending 24 hour pub opening that way there may well be less drunken women and no need for this flawed law not likely to happen, as the only thing this government is competent at is denying it makes mistakes. Don, Cheltenham

And for married men? Is it rape if a couple go out and get plastered first? This will mean most consummations of marriages are rapes, as most wedding couples drink plenty of champagne during the day! Bring on the Tory landslide. We need these nut jobs out of power! Frank, Crawley, UK

If I were a man I would have a letter drafted up that showed consent by the woman and have her sign it provided of course she can write whilst being slightly intoxicated. Juli, London

It will take decades to put right the damage caused to our judicial system by this Government. Paul, Rochester, UK

Prescott, beware. Mike, Coventry

What are men supposed to do, carry a breathalyzer? Mike, Coventry

This law could easily become abused, as David, UK, has stated. Women still have a responsibility not to drink to the point where they are incapable of making a reasoned decision. Maxine, Taipei, Taiwan

The comments on this website, as usual are from angry men thinking that women make false rape claims when they have a change of mind the morning after. This is absolute nonsense. The percentage of women making false rape claims is the same for any other crime, around 4% whereas only 6% of reported rapes result in a conviction. I can't understand the mentality of a man who wants to have sex with a woman who is so drunk she has been sick or is unconscious. I certainly find drunken men a big turn off. I can only assume that these men use the opportunity to take advantage of women who have had too much to drink and should rightly be charged with rape. Not only that, I was under the impression there were levels of alcohol which make it impossible for a man to "perform" reducing his chances of having sex when very drunk. The government is attempting to make men responsible for their actions; something it seems most men are very reluctant to accept. Sarah Turner, London

To Sarah Turner, the 4% and 6% figures you cite are proven cases (of false reports and conviction rates). If you accept this as accurate, you must accept the 94% found not guilty to be the correct verdict. If you don't agree with that, then the 4% and 6% you quote are evidently nonsense. This proposed law will mean that men, in any condition, are the sole judges of precisely how drunk a woman is. A court may later decide otherwise, who weren't witness to the situation. Everyone has a responsibility to themselves if you don't like the judgements you make when drunk, then don't get drunk. John R, Essex UK

It is vulgar to abuse a woman who is in any sense seriously drunk, but where do you draw the line, legally? This will result in a lot of rape cases being brought to Court, the cases falling into the grey area where the woman was drunk, was thought by the man to have freely consented and then, for any one of many reasons, decided to report the alleged rape the next day or two later. This can only lead to injustice. Ian Millard, Exeter UK

The question that has to be asked is; when is a woman drunk? I suspect that different women have a different tolerance to alcohol. Some women would be drunk after a couple of glasses of wine; others will need a couple of bottles. Adrian, Witney, UK

Sarah, it's all right to say men should be responsible for their actions, but what about women. Nowadays you see far more females falling about drunk than males I work in the pub game so I do know what I'm talking about this law is very dangerous and as previous comments on this page have said, it is the government’s way of clearing up the mess they have created by introducing 24 hour drinking. Also, not all men are impaired by drink and many women (like men) have a definite rise in their libido when uninhibited due to drink. This is very dangerous ground and WILL lead to many false accusations. Cathy, Watford, England

Another half-baked law from a half baked government. Jeff, UK

Are the government worried about women and rape OR are they more worried about their statistics looking poor. Ah let me think? Doug, Birmingham UK

How come a drunken man is held accountable for his action but a drunken woman is not. The court seems to have double standards, while it is ok for a drunken woman to behave like an animal and be considered under the influence but a man under the influence must be able to behave like a gentleman. Both are equally guilty for drunkenness and whatever the consequence to that. Women should not drink more than the limit that makes them lose their judgement and alertness. Ann Hunter, UK

How can a law JUST protect women? As previous comments point out what if the man has also been drinking? It is totally unworkable and very unfair to men. They used to call us the 'Fair Sex'. Doesn't really apply anymore. Women have a level of responsibility for their own safety make them take it don’t bring in stupid laws.
Ann, Tiverton, UK

Does this mean that if a man rapes a woman while he is drunk he will be deemed to be not responsible for his actions? Dej, Hagley, England

To Sarah Turner if women really want equality then it follows that the Government need to pass laws to make women more responsible for their actions too; judging by your comments here this seems something most women are very reluctant to accept. Andrew Murray, Forfar, Scotland

Which idiot thought this one up then? I am a woman but if I ever heard a proposal for a new law that was open to abuse and misinterpretation this HAS to be Numero Uno!1. How will anybody prove whether a woman was drunk or not after the event?2. How many women will say that they were drunk when they know that it cannot be proven?When, oh WHEN will women be MADE to start taking responsibility for their own actions? Mrs. C, Surrey

Why do so many people assume that if a woman regrets having consensual sex with someone will cry rape? Would it not just be easier to, oh, I don't know, not tell anybody? Victoria, Essex

How long will it be before just having sex will be rape? Sad sad England. Barry E Platt, Palm Beach Florida USA

Hey Sarah: This is not about your grip with the male population; this is about a law development so that drunken women who have sex can attempt to charge rape. You should have figure out that a woman who is so drunk, as you described, can't possibly testify since the alcohol messed with her brain. So, it's "I don't remember your honour, but I'm sure he raped me". You don't even need a lawyer for this one. Alan, Minnesota

I agree with Claire of London. The behaviour of many young adult females these days is really appalling. Magazines such as 'Heat' regularly feature celebrity snaps of females like Kate Lawler and Ms Spears overly intoxicated with some humorous caption alongside. 'Cosmo' and 'Glamour' magazines print articles about how to have a night out on the tiles with the girls and still look great afterwards. Drunken women are not fun, they are certainly not attractive and they are absolutely irresponsible. No one should have to look after a woman on a night out, she should be able to take care of herself. Wendy, France

There is, of course, a simple solution to avoid falling foul of this law for both sexes....don't get drunk and don't have casual sex!! E. Nelson, Liphook, England

This is ridiculous. So a drunken woman is not held responsible for her actions? But a drunken bloke is. This will get thrown straight out of court the law is wrong on this one. Jeez what ever happened to equality? Frank, Herts

Well, I'd have thought that about 99% of sex acts during dates in the UK are after the two lovers have enjoyed a drink together, so we'll need an awful lot more courts to deal with the malicious rape charges which will result. The Government doesn't hide the fact that its sole intention here is to lock up more men for rape it clearly doesn't care whether they are guilty or not. This is a bad news for justice. Doug, Glasgow

So what if the man is also drunk when he has sex with his drunken female partner? Why should he be held more responsible for his actions than the woman?If women do not want to risk involuntary sex or rape, they should not get drunk and incapable. Period! Basil Howitt, Perpignan, France

Well said Sarah Turner, amongst a sea of such nonsense your post was one of the few that made any sense. I would like to say to all you who are getting hysterical over this whether you actually know what it's like to report a rape and to go through everything that happens from then on. There aren't thousands of women queuing up to make rapists out of someone they had a drunken one night stand with. There are however many women and men who are victims of some man's calculating and predatory behaviour. For those females who believe that this law is wrong can I ask whether you would think it acceptable if you had a few drinks and were a bit tipsy at a dinner party, or after the theatre and were followed by a man and raped by a man using extreme violence? Would it be your fault as it is apparently wrong to have a social life and to be protected by law? Just remember that it isn't other women that this happens to; it's women like you, your sister, your mother, daughter, best friend. Kirsty, Rochester, UK

Sarah Turner is right. How many male desperados wait in the wings looking for some drunken woman to take advantage of? Women that normally wouldn't look twice at them. Pazza, Milan, Italy

To Sarah Turner: You state: "I can't understand the mentality of a man" and "I can only assume”. You personal views do not make a bad law good. In your view: "The government is attempting to make men responsible for their actions..." It seems to me that the government is also trying to make men responsible for their partner’s drunken actions. Nigel Roberts, Milton Keynes

Last updated at 21:04pm on 28th December 2006, Add your comment; 45 people have commented on this story so far. Tell us what you think.

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