Abysmal rape conviction rates in the UK

The Washington Post has an article (and video above) about the very low conviction rate in UK rape cases.
As Vanessa reported last year, 33% of reported rapes ended in conviction in 1977. By 2005, that number had dropped to 5.4%.

In Britain, a nation whose justice system has been used as a model around the globe, government officials and women’s rights activists agree that rape goes largely unpunished.
Solicitor General Vera Baird, who oversees criminal prosecutions in England, estimated that 10 to 20 percent of rapes are brought to authorities’ attention. According to government figures, 14,000 cases a year are reported and 19 out of 20 defendants walk free.
“There will never be proper female equality and appropriate dignity afforded to one-half of the population if it’s possible to rape somebody and get away with it,” said Baird, one of the highest-ranking women in the British government.

The article also reports that “acquittals are often won on the ‘mucky sex’ defense — that the man got mixed signals from the woman and what resulted really wasn’t rape.” Mucky sex? Is this the UK version of “gray rape”? Kill me now.

And, of course, let’s not forget that Amnesty International report which showed one in three people in the UK believe that women are least partially responsible for being raped.

More than a quarter (26%) of those asked said that they thought a women was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing, and more than one in five (22%) held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners.
Around one in 12 people (8%) believed that a woman was totally responsible for being raped if she�d had many sexual partners.
Similarly, more than a quarter of people (30%) said that a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk, and more than a third (37%) held the same view if the woman had failed to clearly say ‘no’ to the man.

Some past pieces on the low conviction rates in the UK can be found at the f word, and The Guardian.

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