When is rape not rape?

Apparently, according to John Redwood, rape isn’t that bad if you know the woman first. Who knew? I’d always thought that ‘No’ means ‘No’ was a pretty universal truth, that it’s a horrific crime whether the rapist is a total stranger or whether they are someone they though that they could trust.

Here’s what he said, on his blog:

They [the Labour government] decided to set date rape alongside stranger rape. Again, none of us want men to rape women, but there is a difference between a man using unreasonable force to assault a woman on the street, and a disagreement between two lovers over whether there was consent on one particular occasion when the two were spending an evening or night together.

Labour’s doctrine of equivalence has led to jury scepticism about many rape claims, in situations where it is the man’s word against the woman’s and where they had agreed to spend the evening or night together. Young men do not want to have to take a consent form and a lawyer on a date.

When I read that this morning, my immediate thought was what if we replaced the crime of rape with another one. The Provisional BBC beat me to it with murder. You could try it with robbery or with child abuse if you like, just in case the full ridiculousness of the MP for Wokingham’s views aren’t immediately apparent.

Essentially, Redwood is saying that because it’s a bit hard to tell whether an alleged ‘date rape’ is genuine or just a woman getting revenge, we shouldn’t bother to treat in the same way as any other rape.

There is this attitude from the right that certain crimes are not really crimes. Speeding, for example, even when there’s pretty clear evidence and any driver ought to know what the limit is. And now it appears that rape can be added to the list of things that ‘law abiding’ people just happen to do, as if they aren’t in control of themselves.

It’s total rot, it really is.

In the same article, he argues that corporate manslaughter is being made ‘equivalent’ to murder (when in fact it isn’t, but it is being made equivalent to manslaughter), presumably because corporate negligence that leads to a employee’s or customer’s death shouldn’t be punished in the same way as any other deadly negligence. Under the Human Rights Act, limited companies are considered to have the same rights as people. So, under that basis, they should have the same responsibilities, surely?

Ahh, but of course the Tories don’t agree with the Human Rights Act. Despite the fact that all it is incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights into our law, so we don’t have to keep having cases heard at The Hague, and despite the fact that it is something that their great hero, Sir Winston Churchill, was fully in favour of.

David Cameron is trying hard to convince us that the Tories have changed. Redwood is giving the lie to any such claim.

Posted in Politics. Tags: . 1 Comment »

One Response to “When is rape not rape?”

  1. euandus Says:

    Thanks for your post. I just wrote one about what it means when such brutality is “normalized” by virtue of simply being used on a regular basis…when in fact it ought to be regarded still as beyond the pale. I am providing the link in case you are interested. http://euandus3.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/using-rape-against-political-protesters/

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