Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Anonymity of Rape Perpetrators

  The war against women continues, this time the chairwoman (that’s right, woman) Maura McGowan QC, has called for anonymity to be granted for rape perpetrators until conviction.  Victims of rape and sexual offences, who are overwhelmingly women and children, are granted anonymity as soon as they report a sexual offence against them.  Why is granting rape perpetrators so bad I hear you ask, after all innocent until proven guilty right? 

  Well there are many things wrong with granting them anonymity.  First off, only 2% of rape cases are false, whilst 82% of rape defendants walk. That is the highest rate in any crime.  No other perpetrators of any other crime are granted anonymity, except in very rare and extreme circumstances such as the perpetrator being a minor. 
  There are an estimated 78,000 rapes committed in the UK each year. 16,041 of them are reported.  2,873 prosecuted and 1,153 are convicted.  This is pretty disgraceful.  45% of rapes are committed by a current partner, which could explain why so few rapes are reported; also the fact that very few are prosecuted and then convicted plays a huge part as to why so many women don’t report rapes. 
  The big reason as to why I think rape perpetrators should not be granted anonymity is because this only helps rapists.  We already live in a rape culture where rape and sexual violence has been normalised and excused.  Only yesterday did I read a Facebook status where a guy asked "Why don't girls like to be raped?"  I mean really?  Do guys just not get that women don’t like to be touched without our permission, we don’t find it flattering and no, funnily enough we don’t like to be raped.   
  Victims are so often the ones to be put on trial when they have done nothing wrong, they are accused of being ‘sluts’ ‘liars’ and even ‘fantasists’.  They are often blamed for their rapes for just wearing a skirt or walking down the street at night.  I think if we were to grant rape perpetrators anonymity we would pretty much be saying “go right ahead, have your fill.” 
  Women are already frightened of reporting this horrific crime; you only have to look at the stats.  One great thing about the perpetrator being named, is other women who have also been a victim of this crime by this particular person, will find the courage to come forward when they know someone else has.  You only have to look at the Jimmy Saville case. 
  So no, rape perpetrators shouldn’t be given anonymity.  They should be named and shamed, sending out a message to other people who think they can get away with this hideous crime, that they will get the book thrown at them.  Well, that all depends on whether the defence decides to call the victim a fantasist or whether the judge wants to tell her to be more careful next time.    

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