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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33 Comments

  1. caroline
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    This is a shocking reality in the UK.
    However, I’d like to point out that the Sexual Offences Order (2008) for Northern Ireland will only be extended this summer, leaving issues of consent. Law in England and Wales was changed with the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the women and men of Northern Ireland where subjected to a rapists’ charter. It seems that some of the Irish attitudes to rape mentioned previously have been coupled with the legal issues mentioned above to ensure victims in Northern Ireland have no rights.

  2. identity
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    That’s horrifying. I know conviction and report rates were low, but…
    How much of an outlier is this in the western world? Are other European nations and the US this bad?

  3. SarahMC
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Well, in 1977 there was no Daily Mail online to convince the public that women are lying sluts.
    Rapists in the UK owe a LOT to that rag.

  4. identity
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Sarah, what do you expect from a paper that backed Hitler?

  5. ilikenoise
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    You beat me to the punch identity, that paper has been a force for bad for years.
    Also- the US conviction rate, is 13%, so still bad, but a lot better than Britain. Also it is important to remember that the conviction rate is for rapes that get reported, which in the UK is estimated only to be 10% of rapes. I could see this going down even further, as women are faced with the sort of attitudes described in the post, coupled with the poor state of rape survivor support and police investigation.

  6. jezzebell88
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    The conviction rates in the US are better but the same attitudes are prevalent. I go into schools and talk to kids about sexual based violence, and every time they blame the victim. It is across the board and sometimes the young girls in the class worse than the boys. It is really frustrating! We spend two class periods trying to get to the root of victim blaming and we make some progress but I need more time with the students!!

  7. Spicy
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Even more depressingly, the rape conviction rate in the UK is higher than that for domestic violnce cases (currently at 5%).
    Violence against women in the UK is practically legal.

  8. orchid
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I am shocked (seriously) at the low rate of convictions for rape. I had no idea that rapists were getting off at this alarming rate.
    Also, the poll that reports about one-fourth of people think that the rape victim was at least partially (or completely) responsible for being raped because of how she was dressed is extremely disappointing. I thought we had left this kind of stupid thinking well behind. I guess not. :(
    For some reason I would have thought that the UK had better stats on convictions than the US, but this shows just the opposite. For sure, the US rates are nothing to brag about but I’d be curious what are the rates for other serious crimes, murder, kidnapping – or is rape (and other crimes against women) unique in having low coviction rates.
    Very disturbing article.
    david

  9. Ismone
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I actually got a sense of how bad things were in England based on reading, of all things, british cosmo. (I subscribed for about a year and a half in college, because I loved how they “fancied people” and used words like “stroppy” and the like.) The main reporter would do things like work undercover in the financial district, and report on the ways she was harassed (we’re talking pornographic screensavers, inappropriate touching, comments about her body and what she wore, dirty jokes where she was the punch line–truly awful). And this was when she interned for about a week. It was really eye-opening. Here, that kind of stuff would get you a heckuva settlement, and sensitivity training for all.
    Jeez.

  10. Depressed-Single-Mother
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    That’s actually England’s conviction rate, not the UK’s. In Scotland it’s even lower at 3.9%.

  11. SarahMC
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Jezzebell88, do you have an email address you wouldn’t mind sharing?
    I want to ask a few questions about the work you do in schools but don’t want to derail the thread.

  12. draak
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Something that has always bothered me about so-called grey rape or date rape is that while rape is rape- how can we really know what happened between two people, if there were no other witnesses? Can we be certain enough to give someone a criminal record and/or a prison sentence?
    There’s no such thing as sort of raped or *only* date raped, but why does intoxication remove a person’s ability to consent but not the culpability of the second person? Drunk sex happens a lot. The victim knows the difference between rape and regret- I’m not questioning that. But how can the courts know?
    I’m not trying to be a jerk or blame the victims. I’m just struggling to understand. What’s the legal burden that a rape victim has now? What could/should it be?

  13. iqonefiftynine
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Jezz,
    You seem like you are in the know. Do you have any sample data that you can share? What age range is “kids”? What are their attitudes about non verbal behaviors… clothing, going to someone’s room, drinking, etc. Do tell!

  14. ShelbyWoo
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    draak –
    why does intoxication remove a person’s ability to consent but not the culpability of the second person?
    Alcohol consumption isn’t an excuse for committing a crime.
    If drunk person gets in a car and hits a drunk pedestrian walking on the side of the road, we don’t hold the victim responsible (no matter how stupid walking along side the road drunk seems). We blame the person that was behind the wheel.
    The real questions are: why is our attitude different when it comes to rape? Why do we hold a person responsible for drinking and hurting someone with their car (or gun or whatever), but not for drinking and raping a woman? Why is a victim more responsible for the crimes committed against them if the victim is female and the crime is rape (this is especially so if she has dared to consume an alcoholic beverage)?
    A rape victim should have no more legal burden than a victim of any other crime should.

  15. Ismone
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Draak,
    The victim has no legal burden, but the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Rape cases are not the only cases that heavily depend on one person’s word against another.
    For example, in oral contract cases, it comes down to word vs. word, and judges and juries determine those cases. (Being civil, they are only decided based on a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not.)
    In the criminal realm, battery cases can often be he-said, he-said, and juries seem to have no issues with determining those cases (nor does the media usually get involved and say, oh noes! what if the alleged victim is lying?). In fact, the incentive to lie in a battery/self-defense case is higher than in a rape case, because the ‘victim’ can be charged with battery if it turns out s/he started the fight.
    When it comes to rape cases, often there is physical trauma, or other witnesses who can testify to the victim’s distress. Very rarely is it just one person’s words vs. anothers.
    If you want to know generally how people can decide cases based heavily (or solely) on testimony, here are some indications. How do the two witnesses appear? How consistent are there stories (internally, and compared to eachother)? (BTW, if they are too consistent, i.e. if witness said the same exact thing in three police interviews, a hearing, and at trial, that actually shows a little unreliability.) Is there relevant prior conduct by the alleged perpetrator? Do the two witnesses agree on the details of what happened, so that it is actually a matter of determining the legal effect of those actions/intent instead of ‘who is telling the truth’? Even if the victim was harmed (i.e., in the case of rape, s/he did not consent) was there something about the situation so that a reasonable person in the accused’s position wouldn’t have understood that there was a lack of consent? Did either party make inconsistent statements about important details? I.e., in a lot of rape cases, the alleged assailant initially says, I never had sex with that woman, followed with, say, she came on to me, etc., etc. If the victim and alleged criminal do not know eachother, was the lineup reliable? If the criminal is claiming mistaken identification, does s/he express compassion for the harm done to the victim, or does s/he attempt to blame the victim for what happened to them? What motives does each party have to lie? (The defendant always has the motive to avoid being put in prison, the complaining witness does not always have a motive.)
    Those are the basics.

  16. Ismone
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    And on the subject of alcohol, if two people are too drunk to legally consent to sex, but one takes the active role (think about it) they would be the perpetrator.
    (I.e., let’s say you got really drunk, and a drunk woman stuck a broomstick somewhere not nice, but you never said no. Or you got really drunk, and a buddy who was also drunk wanted to have a drunk boxing match and you never said no. That is how rape survivors are treated.)
    Shelby Woo is right, voluntary intoxication almost never negates intent, but it does negate ability to consent.
    Usually, in male-on-female cases, the female is more drunk because the male has to be physiologically capable of maintaining an erection.
    On an interesting side note, assailants are actually more likely than victims to be drinking in sexual assault cases.
    Now, would there be reasonable doubt if two drunk people had sex, and drunk alleged victim said yes and a reasonable person in alleged perpetrator’s shoes wouldn’t have known she was too drunk to consent? You bet. But usually, in those mutual drunken cases, alleged victim doesn’t say yes. She also doesn’t say no. She doesn’t say much of anything because she is that drunk.
    The point that I’ve tried to make over the years is that there should always be a presumption of nonconsent. Right now, I am not consenting to sex with anyone. I would never have sex with someone without getting unequivocal communication (in the form of words or actions) from them in a situation where they are in complete control of their faculties. If things became at all equivocal, the right thing to do is stop and clarify.
    Not being legally guilty of rape should not be the be-all end-all of sexual ethics.

  17. ShelbyWoo
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    voluntary intoxication almost never negates intent, but it does negate ability to consent.
    Exactly, Ismone, that sums it up very nicely.

  18. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    SHELBYWOO: “Alcohol consumption isn’t an excuse for committing a crime.
    If drunk person gets in a car and hits a drunk pedestrian walking on the side of the road, we don’t hold the victim responsible (no matter how stupid walking along side the road drunk seems). We blame the person that was behind the wheel.”
    I don’t quite understand how that analogy applies to a case where two drunk people have sex.
    If two people have sex when drunk, isn’t that more like two drunk drivers hitting each other? Or two drunk people getting in a fight?
    I think I can see where the analogy comes from – if one person has more power than other (physical; social; etc.) then maybe it makes sense to give one a car in the analogy and not the other (or at least a car vs. motorcycle). But the aptness of making that assumption would seem to vary according to the relative size and status of the individuals. Also, what if both individuals are men or women? Which one is the car? I’m having trouble with that analogy.
    I’m not questioning the idea that people are taken advantage via alcohol or that people use the double-drunk defense as an excuse, but I am questioning the aptness of the analogy especially because it keeps popping up on this site.

  19. jamespi
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    those basics explain a lot of the problems for me in getting convictions in rape cases where it is even a little “he said/she said”. Taking all those basics into account, and theyve been gone over many many times, I just cant see how I could find someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a lot of the cases I’ve been shown. Does the fault not also lay with the DA or whoever bringing a crappy case or not being prepared adequately? I’ve been involved in a few rape cases personally, as a character witness or involved somewhere in the process and even when i believed a rape had occured, i still couldnt think of how to prove it. Some crimes are just more difficult to prosecute than others no matter what we do no?

  20. Ismone
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    UCLA Bodyimage–The problem with your fight analogy is that it involves people agreeing to hit eachother, (who are presumably equally drunk) not two people intoxicated beyond the point of consent agreeing to have sex with eachother–usually the woman not saying ‘no’ is considered enough for ‘consent,’ which is odd, because it is like saying that letting someone hit you when you are too drunk to consent is a mutual activity.
    Also see above about physiological difficulties if male is even close to being ‘too drunk to consent.’

  21. Ismone
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    jamespi,
    I think rapes are harder to prosecute because people act like the accusing witness has to prove s/he is truthful. We don’t expect that in assault cases, even where there is mutual combat. If someone swears to tell the truth, appears truthful, and doesn’t have a proven motive for lying, I would believe them. Then the only issue comes down to intent (unless there are i.d. problems.)
    A lot of times when convictions don’t happen, it is because juries choose not to believe alleged victims because they think the victims would have acted differently if they were true victims.
    The answer to that is expert testimony explaining how people react to trauma, so the jury can judge for themselves based on good information, not preconceived notions.
    Like I said, why aren’t your concerns equally applicable in battery cases?

  22. ShelbyWoo
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    UCLA – I was specifically responding to draak asking:
    why does intoxication remove a person’s ability to consent but not the culpability of the second person?
    I wasn’t comparing the crime of drinking and driving to the crime of rape. I was using drinking and driving as an example to say we don’t excuse people from the crimes they commit because they are drunk – even if the victim is drunk, too (expect, apparently, in rape cases).
    See Ismone:
    “voluntary intoxication almost never negates intent, but it does negate ability to consent”

  23. sojourner
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “I think I can see where the analogy comes from – if one person has more power than other (physical; social; etc.) then maybe it makes sense to give one a car in the analogy and not the other (or at least a car vs. motorcycle). But the aptness of making that assumption would seem to vary according to the relative size and status of the individuals. Also, what if both individuals are men or women? Which one is the car? I’m having trouble with that analogy”
    As Ismone explained up thread he “car” is the person who takes on an active role is teh car. Relative size is irrelevant, as in teh exampel of a woman sticking a broomstick up some guys ass. Even if both were drunk, the woman would be the rapist. Another example is if the woman is somehow able to put the man’s penis inside herself, without his cooperation.

  24. EricBrad
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m confused about this part….
    “…and more than a third (37%) held the same view if the woman had failed to clearly say ‘no’ to the man.”
    Isn’t that pretty much the conventional definition of rape? I mean, unless she’s drunk or under the age of consent, if she doesn’t say no, how is it rape? Or did the question imply from the previous one that she was still drunk?
    I have trouble seeing how that last part is really an indictment of the Brits, but wow, like we need any more evidence that they aren’t getting it from the rest of the story.

  25. Ismone
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Eric,
    I haven’t said no to sex with you. Does that mean I have consented to sex with you?
    Failing to say no =/= consent.
    Failing to say no + other indications of consent (participation) might = reasonable belief that there was consent.

  26. Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    The more informed I am the better. The more I can be strong and continue fighting the good fight. This is horrific to hear the conviction numbers in the UK. As someone who has been in sexual assault and harassment this deeply impacts me!

  27. EricBrad
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Ismone,
    I don’t mean that in such an abstract sense–I don’t believe that sense every woman in the world hasn’t said no to sex with me, that I can have sex with any woman in the world.
    But in the practical sense, when a guy and a gal start having sex, unless she says no, I think it’s usually understood that there’s consent. The first time I had sex with my girlfriend, I asked specifically first, but since, we just start and if she says no, we stop, and if she doesn’t, we don’t. Does that make it rape?
    I also don’t say this actually implying this is what feminists believe–I just say it as an example of how someone could interpret the pollster’s question in a less than abominable way.

  28. iqonefiftynine
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Eric,
    Laws vary form state to state and country to country, but you would be extremely correct to assume that the Public views rape as “against someone’s will”. For the average person sex activity is binary. You either welcome it our you don’t. There is also the burden of proof concept at play here in the U.S.

  29. Ismone
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Eric,
    See, the language you are using is very problematic. “when a guy and a gal start having sex.” This, to me, sounds mutual. If both people are doing or saying things that indicate consent, that sounds fine. But if two people (who are not sex partners and have no prior understanding) are alone together, and one starts removing the other’s clothes, and puts a body part or object inside the other person, and the second person says nothing, doesn’t help remove the clothes, doesn’t do anything to respond or encourage the first person, that is entirely different. That is rape.
    (That’s why I used the me and you example. Two random people at a party have just as little reason to have sex as you and I do. Well, except you and I are both in relationships, but you get my drift. The reason people at parties don’t go around telling eachother they’re not interested in sex is because it is assumed that no one is just going to start trying to have sex with you.)
    In the experience of most of the men, and even the majority of the women on this board (assuming 1/4 victims of attempted/completed rape), what happens is what you described. A guy and a girl have sex. So when there is alcohol involved, and one person says they didn’t say no, we think of all the times we had sex when alcohol was involved when we didn’t say no. Or our partner didn’t say no.
    But stop and think in more depth about your experiences, and all the ways another person says yes to you. Smiles, caresses, giggles, physical responses, kisses, taking off your clothes, taking off their own clothes, etc. And if you care about the person you’re having sex with, what happens if they stop doing these things? Do you look in his or her eyes? Do you ask if things are okay? (I’m thinking the answer is yes.)
    Once, at a party, a guy put his hands around my neck and squeezed. Not hard, but it was still offensive and scary. I didn’t tell him not to do it. I didn’t even react much (I pulled away a few milimeters, literally). Then I made a joke about what he had done. He put his hands around my neck a second time. This time I threw a block. I still didn’t say no, or act like his behavior was out of the ordinary. I would say I acted exasperated, not afraid or angry. I was not until he groped my thigh that I managed to SPEAK about what he was doing, at which point, I said something articulate like, you can’t do that on my leg, do that on your own leg. Did I tell him to stop touching me? No. Did I tell him I wasn’t interested? No.
    The point is, our bodies are our own. He had no right to touch me (and actually committed three separate acts of battery), and it didn’t matter that I didn’t say no, even after he started. If we had been alone in a room and he had taken off my shirt, and I had said nothing, that still wouldn’t mean that I was consenting to anything, that it was okay for him to take off my shirt, or that it was okay for him to do more. This does go both ways. I don’t get to go around putting my hands on a guy’s thigh either, and from talking to my guy friends, when women do that, it can be very unwelcome. I think the difference, in most cases, is the lack of fear. But both are bad.

  30. Scilian
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    “See, the language you are using is very problematic. “when a guy and a gal start having sex.” This, to me, sounds mutual. If both people are doing or saying things that indicate consent, that sounds fine. But if two people (who are not sex partners and have no prior understanding) are alone together, and one starts removing the other’s clothes, and puts a body part or object inside the other person, and the second person says nothing, doesn’t help remove the clothes, doesn’t do anything to respond or encourage the first person, that is entirely different. That is rape.”
    I guess this is where I question the validity of defining rape. I see younger girls doing this all the time with wallets.
    Occasionaly it makes it into the media where a women completely defrauds men in exchange for money, and wipes the guy clean and moves onto the next one.
    Whenever these cases go to trial, it is generally understood that unless the man physically prevented her from removing money from his wallet or accounts, or at the very least said no, it isnt robery.
    So if it isnt roberry in the legal sense, how is having sex with someone who never once says no, says they arent comfortable, or give any indication this isnt what they want, rape?
    Doesnt make sense at all, and seems outright intellectually dishonest in not addressing the same behavior that is very common in women today.
    And what would make people happy, for a 100% conviction rate?
    And wasnt it the regulars hear who said, dont worry about the definition of rape or how loose it should be, since everyone is entitled to a fair trial, it will sort itself out.
    Why are convictions rates suddenly an issue? Did you ever think solid evidence is need to convict someone? Why would you want skip a fair trial for someone accused of a crime?
    What exactly is the goal here? To get 100% conviction rates for everything from rape to regret sex? Or better yet, just skip the trial all together? What exact definition of rape is being aimed for here? I have tried and tried to understand this the best I can, but the meaning changes every week here.
    It also wouldnt hurt to get the women on board with rape too. Last time I checked, no less that 8 – 10 women a week were getting busted for raping their students, and these are the only ones that have been reported… Think of the thousands (according to the regulars here) that go unreported. But never once was that topic brought up.

  31. Scilian
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    One other question, since rape convictions being low equate to guilty men going free here, how come no one complains about the conviction rate and punishment disparities between women and men?
    Why wouldnt low incarceration rates for women equate more scum out walking the street? Seems very hypocritical to me.

  32. Jabes1966
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that one of the reasons that rape convictions are so low is due to the rape-shield laws (I’m fairly certain that there is a UK counterpart to these laws that state the ALLEGED victim can’t be named, and her sex history can’t be gone through).
    Don’t you think that this may cause some women to lie about being raped?
    There are lots of reasons for a girl/woman to lie about being raped. She’s afraid of shame from loved ones about having casual sex (particularly if she’s very young), revenge, or to cover an infidelity in a marriage. Now with (ALLEGED) victim compensation funds there is one more reason for a woman to lie.
    So in addition to all of these motivations for falsely alleging rape the woman can now do it from a position of total confidentiality.
    I believe this is what happened to Kobe Bryant. The lady who worked at the hotel hit on him, they went back to his room they had sex, then she screamed rape to get a big settlement. It’s funny that the bell-hop who saw her come out of Bryant’s room disheveled and scared WAS HER BOYFRIEND! She had no bruising or abrasions, and when they performed the rape test kit they found THREE OTHER GUYS SEMEN on her panties (she waited 12 hours to allege rape). When the judge finally ruled that the fact she slept with three other guys (after supposedly being raped) and her mental health history were allowed (she had been in several mental health & rehab hospitals), she refused to cooperate with the prosecutor any more.
    The feminist viewpoint that false allegations of rape are very very rare is that it hides from the fact that there are many very very fucked up women in the world (just as there are men).
    When I (or any well-adjusted man) hear about men raping pre-pubescent girls (or other attrocities) we’re like: “how can this guy do this, I can’t believe it!?”
    But that’s always peppered with the knowledge that there are some truly fucked up men in the world.
    But when anybody brings up false allegations of rape feminists say “uh-uh, no-go, no fucking way!” Why!? Because YOU would never falsely allege rape, but you (ALSO) need to get your head around the fact that there ARE some royally fucked up women in the world!
    Simply because YOU PERSONALLY would never falsely allege rape doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
    Just as simply because I would never rape doesn’t mean it never happens.
    As an example I present the Marv Alberts rape case. Marv Alberts was a sports caster who was accused of rape, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual assault.
    The reason Marv Alberts was forced to plead guilty is that (after the prosecutor parading his previous lovers to prove he liked biting women during sex) he was forbidden to prove that the accuser ALSO LIKED being bitten (by parading her previous lovers on the stand).
    With this kind of unfair theft of due process from male defendants it doesn’t become totally insane that some women are going to falsely allege rape, especially now that women can enact civil litigation for sex assault and they have the victim’s compensation fund (which the Kobe accuser received like $6000 from). This fund should be unconstitutional. #1 it’s a presumption of guilt to call her a victim and give her money for it.
    I’m also of the very firm belief that women who it can be proven no rape occurred and recant their story should do time! They should be looking at a sentence of no less than half of what her victims would have gotten. I’m talking about Tawanna Brawley and Crystal Gail Magnum types here, not mistaken identities.
    The simple fact of why there are so few convictions (in my estimation) is the lack of physical evidence. So these become “he said/she said” cases. Lacking physical evidence it isn’t fair, just, or legal to send one person to a lengthy prison sentence (coincidentally being anally raped the whole time) on ONE PERSON’S ALLEGATION ALONE (with no other witnesses or physical evidence). That’s called a god-damned witch-hunt! I don’t care who’s alleging what to who, that’s bullshit. The day this can happen is the day we have to start travelling with our papers Komrade.
    Imagine you get sold a lemon by a used car salesman. You take him to small claims court. BUUUUUT! Before you do, you find a whole bunch of other people he has sold lemons to.
    When you get to court the judge says you can’t bring those other people up. Why? Because he’s Italian and the govmt has a new anti-disparaging to Italians law.
    But the used car salesman can bring up (somewhat) frivolous lawsuits you’ve made when you tripped and fell on a neighbor’s porch and other crap.
    In these “he said/she said” cases there has to shine an unfettered spotlight on everybody to ascertain CREDIBILITY. And yes that includes the (ALLEGED) victims sex history. Why? Because somebody who has a very very casual view of sex is exactly the type of person who would falsely allege rape. Doubt it?
    Do you think it’s any coincidence that Magnum (a STRIPPER) falsely alleged rape?
    For a fair trial the ability to establish (or destroy) credibility is an essential part of due process for a fair verdict.

  33. Ismone
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    The goal, Scilian, is to have equal conviction rates as crimes with similar evidence rates. Despite the fact that, your and Jabes’ posturing to the contrary, very few rape cases are simply one person’s word against another.
    And even when they are, as I stated above, this is very common in battery/self-defense cases, where there is always a motive to lie. (He who landed the first blow, is a felon afterall).
    Both of your comments reveal such ignorance of the criminal justice system, and crimes committed by men and women that there really is no engaging with them. But briefly–yes, embezzlement is a crime (which, like almost all crimes, is committed in larger numbers by males), yes, female sex criminals should get put away, and anyone who followed the Duke Lacrosse case would know that the accuser was mentally ill. Which is why she was never charged with anything. One of the investigators said that he thought she still honestly believed she was raped.
    WRT false allegations of rape, innocence stats. have shown that the no. 1 cause of wrongful rape convictions is misidentification, usually based on poor lineup procedures. By way of contrast, the no. 1 cause of wrongful convictions in homicide cases is perjured testimony by a witness to the homicide. Let me say it slowly for you. Murder witnesses lie about the identity deliberately, and it leads to convictions, rape victims do not lie about the identity of their sex partner/assailant.

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