This morning, there was consternation among anti-rape campaigners when the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, was reported to have said that if "more difficult [rape] cases" are brought to court there will likely be more acquittals and a consequent fall in the conviction rate for rape.Why so? He’s merely stating the truth.
Our concern was how his comments might be understood – was he suggesting that difficult rape cases shouldn't be prosecuted?No-one sensible could read it like that. Only activists with a one-track mind and a desire to ensure that their ideology gets front-page attent…
Oh. Of course.
… this work has too often turned on a close examination of victim behaviour and credibility.Well, yes. Of course it has. Most of these cases happen in private, it’s a ‘he said, she said’ situation. But you know all this.
What can be implied by caution around bringing difficult cases is a belief that inevitably when the story is told in court, juries with prejudices will acquit. But, in fact, progress is being made here too. In court, there are specialist sexual violence prosecutors trained to argue the strongest possible case and to challenge the use of rape myths by the defence. Judges are accustomed to directing juries as to what is admissible and what the law says about rape and consent. But there is more to be done.*sigh* Of course. There always is, isn’t there?
We urgently need compulsory sex and relationships education in schools, which deals with consent, respect and equality, mirroring perhaps the excellent Home Office campaign aimed at teens, This is Abuse. In addition, we need to ensure there are specialist support services available to women and men who have suffered sexual violence when they seek help, and whether or not they report it to the police.And we have both of those things.
What are these two women really demanding? More of the same? Jobs for the girls?