Tuesday, September 02, 2008

When Rape isn't Rape?

Helen Mirren doesn't think rape is always rape when it happens on a date; "It's such a tricky area, isn't it? Especially if there's no violence. I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don't think he was a rapist."

To recap on the Tyson case: in 1992, he was indicted for the rape of Desiree Washington. Of course it was Washington's word against Tyson's, but corroborative evidence includes the hospital emergency room doctor who examined Washington and found "abrasions consistent with forced or very hard intercourse", and the chauffeur who saw Washington directly after the violation "dazed, disoriented ... scared" and "in a state of shock".

One of the key points of Tyson's defence and attempted appeal was that he didn't use a weapon. (Washington, incidentally, weighed 7st. But of course, if she were a bona fide rape victim, she should have been able to fight a gunless Tyson off with thumbs and panache.) It is true that Washington suffered no other serious physical injuries, but if we require women to be beaten to a pulp before a rape conviction can be upheld, why even bother having a law against rape? Why not just file it all under GBH?

Tyson, incidentally, emerged from the three years served of his six-year sentence having converted to Islam, and yet was not so filled with the spirit of Godly peace that he didn't say this: "I just hate her guts. She put me in that state where, I don't know, I really wish I did now. Now I really do want to rape her."


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