He’s a wobber and a…

Without naming names, a quick scan of some of the chatter in the feminist blogosphere appear to indicate that David Cameron’s speech on rape has actually gone down rather well – or the very least he’s managed to produce the right of soundbites for that market but, if you look a little more closely at the detail of what he’s actually said that, I’m afraid to say, what you think you see isn’t going to be quite what you get.

“Just over five years ago Lindsay Armstrong was a bright, happy and vivacious sixteen year old schoolgirl, enjoying a night out with her friends. On her way back home she was approached by a fourteen year old boy. He dragged her into a local park, knocked her down and raped her. With incredible bravery, Lindsay went straight to the police and reported this grotesque crime.

The attacker was arrested, but for the next nine months, as she waited for the case to come to trial, Lindsay was tortured with fear and anxiety that I cannot even begin to comprehend. When the trial did begin she suffered a brutal cross-examination, spending an entire day in the witness stand, being forced to hold up her underwear at the time of the attack and detail her sexual history. In the words of her loving parents who tried to care for her at the time “she was shaking and crying uncontrollably”.

The boy was found guilty. But thirteen days later and before he was sentenced, Lindsay could no longer cope and committed suicide. This was, and remains, a truly harrowing story.

Harrowing, yes. But also, in terms of the actual patterns of rape and serious sexual assaults in Britain, relatively atypical – and if, as a politician (or a blogger) you intend to tackle the issue of rape seriously then the very thing you should do is ensure you put the issue into its proper context.

The same Home Office report (using data from the British Crime Survey) from which Cameron takes some of statistics in his speech includes a section (pp60-61) assesses the nature of the victim-offender relationship and notes that, amongst women reporting that they have experienced a serious sexual assault, only 11% indicated that the perpetrator was a stranger.

Horrific and (often) violent a stranger rapes are, they are, if the rape is reported promptly allowing good forensic evidence to be gathered, by far the most likely to result in a successful conviction. The most difficult task facing the police in such cases is that of identifying and capturing the perpetrator successfully. Once that’s done then everything else will tend to fall into place because, as mock jury studies have clearly shown, given solid factual evidence juries do convict and convict without any difficulty, precisely as they should.

Where the real problems lie are with the vast majority of rapes in which the offender is known to the victim. From the same data, 54% of women who reported having been raped indicated that the perpetrator was a partner or ex-partner, 4% reported that they had been raped by a family member and 40% by someone who was known to them as a friend, neighbour, date, work colleague, school mate, acquaintance or as someone in a position of trust.

(Yes, that does add up, in total, to 105%, but that because a proportion of women are, sadly, victimised on more than occasion by different perpetrators).

It’s these other categories of rape that account for the vast bulk of reported rapes that don’t make even to trial or which go unreported and they are, for the most part, the most difficult to unpick in order to secure a conviction, the ones that resolve down to a ‘he said, she said’ case in which the central issue is whether consent was or was not given in circumstances where there were no witnesses and in which forensic and other physical evidence is, at best, inconclusive.

If you are serious about tackling rape, then it with these cases that the work really has to start, not with stranger rapes.

But why mention it again now? Because, first and foremost, we must never forget stories such as these. We always run the risk in this country of shock and outrage one day – as there was five years ago – turning into a shrug of the shoulders the next. By keeping the memory of Lindsay Armstrong alive – as her parents do through their support group – we can make sure no one forgets the need to end sexual violence against women.

So, according to Cameron, we have two choices in the attitude we take to rape; ‘shock and outrage’ or complacent acceptance.

Its a false dichotomy, of course, and an crass and deeply stupid one at that.

One of the constant and recurring themes in the public debate around rape, for certainly as long as I can recall, has been the need to change certain attitudes in society, most importantly in getting over the simple proposition that rape is rape, no matter the circumstances in which it occurs; that there are no distinctions that can be reasonably or validly be drawn between so-called ‘real’ rape (i.e. creepy stalker guy drags woman in bushes) and other ‘kinds’ of rape (i.e. those perpetrated in the family home and/or by people known to the victim), the kind where some are wont to propose the the victim was ‘asking for it’ or which get written off as an ‘understandable’ piece of miscommunication in which ‘no’ was assumed to mean ‘yes’.

And yet here Cameron is, buying wholesale into precisely those false distinctions for the sake of nothing more than a headline grabbing rhetorical flourish and some cheaply won applause.

If we’re going to be ‘shocked’ and ‘outraged’ by rape, it shouldn’t be on the basis of horrific but relatively atypical cases such as that of Lindsay Armstrong. We should be outraged at the knowledge that more than half of all women who are raped are raped by a husband, partner, boyfriend or ‘ex’ of any of the former categories, that so many women are not only not safe on the streets but that so many aren’t even safe in their own fucking home.

That’s why we should not be forgetting the need to tackle sexual violence against women.

Which brings me to the second reason why I have mentioned this story. When it comes to ending sexual violence against women, we still have so far, too far, to go in this country. And to get to grips with the problem, I think we need to focus on three things.

First, convictions and sentencing. Second, victim support, and third, cultural change in attitudes towards women and sexual violence. Let me take each in turn.

Interesting order of priorities there, Dave.

I suspect that many would argue that changing attitudes towards women and sexual violence in order to reduce the incidence of rape should be the number one priority – after all, in an ideal world, the optimum number of rape convictions each year would be zero on the premise that there are no convictions because no one was getting raped in the first place.

But, as Chris Dillow notes here (in a different but very applicable context):

3. Any policy requiring “cultural change”. For example, Brown says: “it is time to replace a culture of low expectations for too many with a culture of high standards for all.” Such policies fall to the question: where’s your tool? The fact is, government just doesn’t have the policy levers to change culture. At best, it can only use law and taxes to change incentives.

Cameron does propose his preferred ‘tool’, which we’ll get to in due course, but Chris’s general point is sound.

Governments don’t have the means to change culture, merely levers (the law, taxes) which can change incentives, and this is well reflected in Cameron’s order of priorities in which he puts convictions and sentences (law) and victim support (public expenditure, which is the product of taxes) ahead of ‘cultural’ change.

The good news is that at least he’s setting his order of priorities in the order in which he could, in government, exert some influence. The bad news is that he’s taking the easy options and not seeking to tackle the core issue.

First, convictions and sentencing. According to the British Crime Survey, one in twenty adult women in the UK have been the victim of a rape, and a recent Government report estimated that at least 75 percent of these are never reported to the police. Of those that are reported, just 5.7 percent result in a conviction – down from 33 percent in 1977. Of course, comparative statistics must be treated with care and more work needs to be done to understand discrepancies, but in Italy, it’s almost 50 percent, and as new analysis commissioned by the Conservative Party shows, England and Wales have the lowest rape conviction rate of any leading European country. Taken together, this means just fifteen in every thousand women who get raped in England and Wales see justice done.

The most accurate statement in this whole passage is this:

Of course, comparative statistics must be treated with care

So let’s start to unpick the statistics for accuracy.

For starters the British Crime Survey does – on a sample of just over 13,000 women in 2005/6 – indicate that 5% of women responding to the survey reported having been raped, hence the ‘one in twenty’.

That’s a figure for prevalence of rape.

At the same time we have the police’s crime statistics, which indicate that for the same year the number of reported rapes came in at a little under 15,000 (I’m rounding up the numbers here to make the calculations that follow a bit easier to follow) to which we have to factor in the estimate than only 1 in 4 rapes a reported, giving an estimated annual incidence of rape of around 60,000 women a year.

Let’s look at how those two figures compare.

Again, for simplicity, we’ll limit out calculations to women aged 15-45, which the BCS data indicates is where the primary risk of rape lies, giving us a thirty year spread and a current female population of 11 million women, and we’ll assume (again) a consistency in both trends (i.e. the contention that its not the incidence of rape that’s rising, but rather the reporting of it) and and even spread in rapes across the whole 30 year age rage.

On that basis, and because prevalence is a cumulative measure of lifetime incidence, if 5% of women have been raped at some point, and there are 11 million women in the UK aged between 15 and 45 years of age, then the BCS prevalence data suggests that there should be 550,000 women in the age range who have been raped at some point in their life with an estimated annual incidence of rape of around 18,300 a year, about 20% above the current number of reported rapes but a long way short of the 60,000 derived from estimates of the under-reporting of rape.

Working the other way, from the 60,000 estimate for the number of rapes a year, if that’s spread evenly across the age range that would give us a prevalence figure of 1.8 million women in total across the full age range and we would expect to see 16.3% of women indicating that they had been raped in the BCS survey.

Mmm… something’s not right there, is it?

The point here is not to draw any conclusions from such discrepancies, merely to illustrate the perennial problem that arises in trying derive anything meaningful – in a political sense – from unqualified statistics relating to offences where the data is notoriously difficult to assess due to the problems in assessing the extent to which rape is actually under-reported.

Cameron makes the point that the apparent conviction rate in Italy (derived from dividing the number of offences per 100,000 population by the number of convictions per 100,000 in tables taken from the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics – pdf) is almost 50% – actually it’s 46% but we’ll give some licence here – and you may well think this to be a fair comparison to the UK. Using data from the same source, but would you be quite so confident if he’d drawn a comparison with, say, Albania – which has a conviction rate calculated on the same basis of 60%?

How about Georgia (48%)?

Or Moldova (74%)?

Why not Romania (87.5%) then?

Or why not compare the UK to the very best, Slovenia, which has a ‘conviction rate’ of a whopping 190%?

Does the data look quite so valid now, or are you starting to think that maybe its a bit more complicated than Cameron suggests?

How can any civilised country, that sees the sanctity of consent to sex as a vital right for every woman, accept these facts?

Facts? Hang on, I thought you were just saying that we should be careful no to read too much into comparative statistics and yet now they’re ‘facts’.

I do wish you’d make your mind up, Dave.

And what about when the perpetrator is convicted? The average custodial sentence handed to rapists in England and Wales has fallen over the last three years for which there is published data to around 80 months.

80 months, eh?

Let me explain what Cameron’s up to here, because its an old trick and one you’ll find all the time if you look at advertising for loans and other forms of credit.

Cameron’s playing a carefully constructed game with peoples perception of time, the same game that loan and finance companies play when they include information on loan repayments and durations expressed in terms of months. The trick, itself, is a simple one. Expressing a period of time in months rather than years tends to contract people instinctive perception of time – you think about things one month at a time and as a month seems a lot less time than a year, so a period of time expressed in months can ‘sound’ like its less than the same period expressed in years.

80 months is six and a half years, but to say something will last for 80 months sounds is if its somehow sounds as its it take less time than if you say it will last for six and half years, just as finance companies know that telling someone that it will take them 60 months to pay off a loan sounds much less daunting than if you tell them it’ll take 5 years.

Cameron’s speech is playing will just that perceptual anomaly. If you say that the average sentence for rape is 80 months, many people will think ‘well that’s not very long’ but if say thats its six and half years people will think that that’s quite a long time as prison sentences go.

Given all this, we have a situation where.. rapists think they can get away with it, while victims fear not being believed and wonder what’s the point of pursuing the criminal process. This represents a real challenge to the British criminal justices system. Of course, this means doing all we can to help the police catch criminals. That’s why we’ve laid out extensive plans for reform of our police. It means doing all we can to help victims, by understanding the harrowing circumstances so they don’t feel intimidated when presenting their evidence. And it means making sure the length of sentence is proportionate to the crime.

Aside from citing statistical information the full ‘mid-term’ report of the Tory’s Police Reform Policy Group includes only two specific references to rape.

The Government claims that crime measured by the British Crime Survey has fallen, yet the British Crime Survey massively underestimates crime. It covers only half of recorded crime and ignores murder, rape, fraud, crimes against under-16s, commercial crime including shoplifting, and crime where there is no direct victim such as drugs dealing. Estimates suggest the true figure of crime in England and Wales is roughly three times the level indicated by the British Crime Survey.

If the BCS ‘ignores… rape’ then where did Cameron come up with this from?

According to the British Crime Survey, one in twenty adult women in the UK have been the victim of a rape…

Being of a naturally helpful disposition, I’ve uploaded to MoT both the most recent primary Home Office report on crime –hosb1107.pdf – and the most recent supplemental report on violent crime, including rape and other intimate offences – hosb0207.pdf – just on the off chance of any members of the group swinging by. Its pages 49-72 of the main report and the whole of the supplemental report you need to looking at, folks.

That said, special mention needs to go to the assertion that the British Crime Survey ‘ignores’ murder.

You’ll have to excuse me for hitting swearblogger mode for a second… but it’s a fucking survey!!! You know, the kind where you give people a questionnaire which asks them if they’ve personally been a victim of crime. I mean, for fucks sakes, what kind of fucking answer are you expecting to get to the question:

Have you been a victim of murder in the last twelve months?

D’oh.

The other reference to rape is this one:

However, in practice summary justice has had mixed results, frequently leading to soft justice, and in some cases no justice, or petty justice. The Sunday Telegraphrecently reported that a woman who falsely accused a man of raping her was released with nothing more than a PND and an £80 fine. If her story had been believed the man she accused could have been jailed for life and if she had been taken to court she could have been jailed for six months for making false rape allegations.

On the subject of police and other related ‘reforms’ that would would make a significant different to convictions rates, particular specialist prosecutors, investigators and forensic teams of the kind introduced in a number of US cities, some of which have conviction rates for rape of 90% plus, the Police Reform group have nothing whatsoever to say…

…and nor, from his speech, does David Cameron.

That is why I can today announce that the Conservative Party’s review of prisons and sentencing, led by Nick Herbert, will look at this specific issue, and provide recommendations on changes to sentencing for rape convictions.

I should note, at this point, that new sentencing guidelines for rape and other offences under the Sexual Offence Act 2003 were only introduced in May of this year – SOA 2003 – new guidelines (pdf), see pages 23-28, and it remains to be seen whether these have the effect of increasing sentences – the starting point for sentences for a ‘one-off’ offence where the victim is over 16 and there are no aggravating factors whatsoever is five years, with a sentencing range of 4-8 years but the tariffs do rack up pretty steeply if there are aggravating factors and/or violence is used and in all cases Judges are required to consider whether a longer sentence is justified on grounds of public safety.

Given the new guidelines, the sensible approach is to hang back and see what effect they have on overall sentencing, not least because assessing such things in terms of average length of sentences is rather misleading when dealing with a offence in which the actual tariffs handed down can vary massively depending on the individual circumstances of each case. To say simply that the average sentence is falling doesn’t tell you anything about why its falling -it could be that judges are handing down more lenient sentences but it could just easily be the pattern of offences they’re dealing with is altering; fewer cases that attract high tariffs and more cases at the lower tariff levels.

That Cameron states that the review will “provide recommendations on changes to sentencing for rape convictions” suggests that the decision to make changes has already been made even before the review is undertaken, so I think we can safely expect to see the usual pre-election pissing contest over which party is the ‘toughest’ on crime in the belief that they can sell the electorate the notion that the deterrent of stiffer sentences, alone, will make a difference.

The fly in Cameron’s ointment here is that stiffer sentences alone won’t improve conviction rates and on the latter, and most important issue, he appears to have nothing whatsoever to offer.

But rape is much more than bald statistics about recorded crime and conviction rates. It’s about the emotional trauma, the mental suffering and personal tragedy that stories such as Lindsay Armstrong’s so starkly demonstrate. Which brings me to the second point I wanted to raise: victim support. Here, the work of rape crisis support centres are vital in helping women overcome what has happened to them. In 1984, there were 68 such centres in England and Wales. Today, just 45 centres remain. Indeed, seven have closed since 2005 alone.

One minor query here – where have Cameron’s figures come from?

That there are 45 centres in England and Wales is consistent with the information on this page of Rape Crisis’s website and its membership page lists seven closures in recent years…

…but it also lists 48 rape crisis services, not 45 (and a couple of the Welsh centres listed on the first page aren’t on this list) and three of the seven closures took place before 2005.

Mmm…

Even the rape crisis centres that have remained open – like so many other charities – are plagued by volatile and short-term funding, with funding decisions often made mid-way through the financial year. As a result, these centres are forced to survive hand-to-mouth and often face the threat of imminent closure. All this has led to an appalling and tragic lack of support for the victims of rape. For many women, the nearest centre is one hundred miles away. And waiting lists for counselling can be seven months long. The rape centre in Croydon has had 67 women at a time desperately trying to get through to just two phone lines.

Yeah, okay that’s fairly close to the mark.

How can any civilised country, that recognises the sheer emotional and psychological toll that sexual violence has on women, accept these facts? We need to ensure that rape crisis centres receive the government support they need. So I can today announce that a Conservative government will replace annual funding decisions with three-year funding cycles for these bodies. This would give these vitally important public services the certainty and stability they need to help victims of rape.

Apart from the government’s ‘Victims Fund’ which has had its problems but was only ever a short-term measure designed to pump prime services, and wasn’t exclusive to rape crisis services anyway, the real problem facing these services is that they have been dependent for their mainstream funding on local authorities and, like the rest of the voluntary sector, to often one of the easy targets when things get tight and budgets need to be cut.

When Cameron talks about putting rape crisis centres on three year funding agreements, the question has to be asked, ‘who with’?

Is he indicating that this funding will come directly from central government, via the Ministry of Justice – in which case one also has to ask just how much cash he’s planning to put up to fund these services and where and how he intends to find the money.

Or is he merely going to pass down a near worthless edict to those local authorities who do currently fund these centres, instructing them to put them on three year agreements; an edict that is entirely worthless as without placing a statutory duty on local authorities to provide such services there is still nothing to prevent them pulling the plug on their funding at any time, three year agreement or not.

The question here is whether Cameron is making an actual spending commitment or merely engaging in yet more empty rhetoric.

The final thing I want to talk about is our cultural attitudes towards women and sexual violence. A recent Amnesty International study of young people in the UK found that one in four think it is acceptable for a boy to ‘expect to have sex with a girl’ if the girl has been ‘very flirtatious’. And studies have shown that as many as one in two young men believe there are some circumstances when it’s OK to force a woman to have sex. In my mind, this is an example of moral collapse.

Houston, we have a problem.

I cannot find any recent study of young people in the UK by Amnesty International, let alone one that indicates that one in four think it is acceptable for a boy to ‘expect to have sex with a girl’ if the girl has been ‘very flirtatious’ – so either Dave is getting access to as yet unpublished information from AI or there’s something badly wrong here.

The nearest I can find is this general opinion poll ‘study’ from November 2005 which looked at certain attitudes towards women’s alleged ‘responsibility’ for rape – doc_16619-1.rtf – the raw results for which can be found in this pdf – 2005_november_amnesty_international_sexual_abuse.pdf – and yes, if you look on page 5 of the raw poll results, in answer to the proposition that women are totally or partially responsible for being raped in they behave in a flirtatious manner then you’ll find that 33% of young people did think that a women behaving in such a way was either totally (4%) or partially (29%) responsible if she was then raped.

The problem is that, if Cameron is getting his data from that poll then 42% of those who responded to the same survey in the 55-64 age group and 57% in the 65+ age group also agreed with the young people that flirting was ‘asking for it’.

So when did this ‘moral collapse’ actually happen, Dave?

We need widespread cultural change, and addressing this moral failure represents a real challenge to British society: to families, schools, local communities and businesses. We have to be honest: the past decade or so has seen the growing sexualisation of our society, where sex is aimed at an ever younger audience and it’s cool to treat women like sex objects. As I’ve said before, we need those that work in the media and music industry to exercise their responsibility in how they present female role models.

Given the apparent attitudes of the over 55s to this same question, I can hardly wait for Cameron’s upcoming critique of the contribution of the Beverley Sister and Doris Day to the moral collapse of British Society.

Meanwhile, Strange Stuff has spotted the major flaw in Cameron’s argument:

Some people will argue that the availability of porn will lead to more people committing sexual violence. It won’t. The available data is quite explicit. The availability of porn does not lead to sexual violence, it actually decreases the incidence of it.

The incidence of rape in the United States has declined 85% in the past 25 years while access to pornography has become freely available to teenagers and adults.

Not good enough? How about in the land of tentacle sex?

Within Japan itself, the dramatic increase in available pornography and sexually explicit materials is apparent to even a casual observer. This is concomitant with a general liberalization of restrictions on other sexual outlets as well. Also readily apparent from the information presented is that, over this period of change, sex crimes in every category, from rape to public indecency, sexual offenses from both ends of the criminal spectrum, significantly decreased in incidence.

Most significantly, despite the wide increase in availability of pornography to children, not only was there a decrease in sex crimes with juveniles as victims but the number of juvenile offenders also decreased significantly.

So more porn equals less rape, which makes sense when you think that the kind of power dynamic that operate in cases where an individual has set out to commit rape aren’t likely to present to anything like the same degree, if at all, in someone who’s simply pissed, desperate for a shag and – in that state – rather too persistent for anyone’s good. For the former, rape and only rape will do – for the latter a decent choice of on-line porn and quick one off the wrist is likely to satisfy immediate needs without involving anyone else.

The serious point is that there’s a growing body of evidence that points clearly to pornography being used as a substitute for real world sex rather than acting a trigger for sexual violence – to use the parlance of crime prevention it ‘distracts’ potential offenders away from engaging in criminal behaviour.

Admitted, the pornography debate is one that’s as long and complex as that surrounding rape, particularly when you get onto the question of exploitation and the harm that arises from it.

However, and here’s where things get increasingly paradoxical, other than viagra, two of biggest ‘innovations’ in the porn industry over the last ten years or so, the same period in which, via the internet, it has become seriously mass market, are the extent to which women are moving from in front of the camera lens to behind it, and getting into direction, production and distribution – where the serious money is to be made – and the growth of the market in pornography produced by women for women. In terms of both use of technology and business innovation, the porn industry has been leading the way for several years – it’s certainly been far more the pioneer of video streaming and on-demand services than any conventional media company and while recording artists are only now dipping the toes tentatively in direct online sales and starting to breakaway from the stranglehold on distribution that’s long been enjoyed by the established cartel of major record companies, its been a matter of routine for female porn stars to generate income from personal (and personally owned) subscription sites for several years.

The bigger and more mainstream the ‘adult entertainment’ industry has become, the more [some] women have begun to take on roles in the industry that put them in control and in the ascendency – so the whole exploitation thing is becoming much less clear cut an issue than it once might have been.

When you think about it, just how exactly does the idea that women should be complete free to wear what they like and what makes them feel good, go out, get drunk, flirt, have a good time and express themselves and their personal (and sexual) identity without fear of being raped and coming to harm fit in with the notion that the ‘growing sexualisation’ of society is a bad thing and should be curbed and censored?

The attitude shift that required is one which its understood that sexually attractive does not automatically equate to sexually available, that women have the choice and that its wrong to attempt to override that choice against their wishes. No means no.

The problem that needs to be address is a function of the objectification of women, the tendency to think in stereotypes, as in “she’s wearing a short skirt and she’s flirting so she must be up for it” as opposed to the ‘sexualisation’ of women which is (should be) a genuine appreciation of both feminine sexuality and of their right to express that freely as and when they wish to do so, as in “she’s wearing a short skirt and she’s flirting, I think I’ll ask her for date  and if the answer’s no that’s her choice“.

The two aren’t synonymous despite the marked tendency for some to view the risk of one (objectification) as justification for attempts to curb the other, and the implicit suggestion behind criticisms of how the media and music industry present female role models is that its the very fact that these women project an image of overt sexuality , itself, that’s at fault and not the manner in which the meaning attached to that is distorted in terms of presenting them as an object and not a woman.

And we need our schools to talk about consent to sex when they teach sex education. I know there are some parents who have concerns about sex education, and they should reserve the right to opt their child out. But I believe that sex education, when taught properly, is extremely important. It should not be values-free. That must mean teaching young people about consent: that ‘no’ means ‘no’. At the moment, this is not even compulsory in the sex education curriculum. This has to change – and it will change with a Conservative government. This will be an important step towards encouraging greater responsibility and helping tackle one of the root causes of rape and sexual violence.

So the absence of an explicit requirement to address the issue of consent in sex education is bad and it should be added as a compulsory component of the curriculum, but opt-out on sex education itself should be retained as a concession to parents who advance a religious objection to their children receiving such education.

Religious ‘values’ override all other considerations even though those parents most likely to withdraw their kids from sex education are those belonging to religions and religious denominations that possess by far the most misogynistic attitudes towards women and female sexuality.

That’s the logic here – we don’t need to concern ourselves with teaching kids about consent, about a woman’s right to choice and her fundamental right of ownership and sovereignty over her own body if those kids come from background that doesn’t recognise those rights anyway – and that’s a policy?

If you ignore the rhetoric and dredge through the detail then it doesn’t take long to realise that Cameron’s bit set piece speech on rape amounts to a whole bunch of nothing.

There’s the implicit ‘promise’ of tougher sentencing for rape, but absolutely nothing on the table that would address the key issue, which is pitiful low number of reported rapes that actually result in a prosecution to trial and conviction.

There’s the ‘promise’ of three year funding agreements for Rape Crisis Centres, but no commitment to providing adequate funding for existing services, let alone expanding current provision to meet the need for these services.

And there’s the ‘promise’ that the teaching of ‘consent’ and of women’s right to choice and personal sovereignty over their body will become an mandatory component in sex education, unless, of course, your misogynistic religious faith, which denies the existence and validity of such rights, dictates that you withdraw you kids from those same lessons.

But then that’s Cameron for you – big on empty rhetoric, woefully short on substance.

Nevertheless, its well worth referring to this as Cameron’s ‘rape speech’ – because anyone who falls for it will find very quickly that its their expectations have been raped.

  • redpesto

    Good post, Unity. I’ve only got a couple of things I’d like to mention in passing:

    1 – the ’80 months’ trick is similar to the ‘foot-long piece of paper’ that Cameron claimed the police had to fill out (what, a whole side of A4? the poor dears…)

    2 – presumably the local authorities that Cameron may task with funding rape crisis centres will have to do so within existing budgets, as if they have to put up council tax by more than a Conservative govt. permits, they’ll have to put it to a referendum, which might be a problem if the local council loses.

    3 – Of course the Tories are going to grant a religious opt-out: so all those ever-increasing faith schools head for the exit straight away (I can see it now: ‘Former St Bunbury’s pupil jailed for sex offences’)

    4 – Here’s Beatrix Campbell in the Guardian – she’s no more fooled by Cameron than you, though for different reasons.

  • Channel 4 Factcheck had them bang to rights straight off the bat giving him 70% for mendacity. Obviously as we may have Tory readers I should add that it is 70% out of a possible 100% and that AIN’T GOOD. It’s the same as 30% for honesty. Jon Snow pretty much pointed out the rape speech was bollocks before Teresa May could say yeah or nay.

  • That 30% is out of 100% also, you Tories.

  • ian

    If David Cameron wants more accused rapists, innocent or not, locked up, then might I suggest he starts with Neil Hamilton?

  • “if Cameron is getting his data from that poll then 42% of those who responded to the same survey in the 55-64 age group and 57% in the 65+ age group also agreed with the young people that flirting was

  • jim evans

    Surely the answer is to simply imprison every man who upsets a woman in any way without allowing the accused any defence at all….. and let Woman`s Hour run the rest of our criminal justice system as well.With the billions saved from not employing lawyers we could build more prisons everywhere….and give prostate cancer victims the same prority afforded to victims of breast cancer.Or would that be sexist?

  • Hi-LAR-ious Jim. Can I join in?

    Why not just accept that over fifty percent of the population are not adequately served by the legal system, celebrate the fact that defence barristers are allowed to talk as if the woman “asked for it” earning approving nods from the jury who all read Nuts and probably the judge (who stopped donating money to ye olde coll when they started admitting women), cheer the culture that holds that having sex with passed out women isn’t REALLY rape (and if she was a proper lady she wouldn’t be out drinking so probably asked for it – see above), and just accuse anybody who asserts that this is not an ideal state of affairs of being part of the feminist conspiracy? Or would that be sexist?

    The answer is yes. Yes it would.

  • Ireland for the Stinking Irish

    6% of all rapes that go for trial are successful convictions.

    That means the jury reject the evidence of 94% of women who make the allegations.

    Looks as if the full circle has turned and justice has finally seen through the sexual fantasies of neurotic women.

  • Dear Misogynist Cunt:

    You’re not paying attention are you.

    The conviction rate for rape AT TRIAL is around 50%.

    The reason why the overall conviction rate is so low compared to number of reported rapes is because 85% of rape cases don’t make it to trial for complex but well researched/documented reasons.

  • jim evans

    Westmonster might care to reflect on how far a proposal to refuse natural justice to women accused of serious offences would get in a Britain run by the BBC.
    However you waffle and weave your tissue of monstrous injustice what is being imposed is the refusal of justice to male defendants until “justice” is ensured for the the liberal media`s disgusting little constituency of drunken tarts who career about our city centres every weekend too pissed to stand up straight but with “100% recall” of events that can see some poor man banged up for years.
    Justice?Of course not…just more of the New Inquisition`s man hunting persecutory tactics dressed up as enlightenment.

  • […Update. Great points, as ever, from Unity over at the MoT.

    Well worth a read, if only for the fact that feminists are taking this Tory bollocks seriously… Weird…]

  • the liberal media`s disgusting little constituency of drunken tarts who career about our city centres every weekend too pissed to stand up straight but with

  • Holly

    Thank you for this, Unity. While I fully respect that many of the people acquitted of rape are given the exoneration they deserve, it is appauling and disappointing that so few cases reach this point in the first place. Rape is, of course, by its very nature usually a near-impossible crime to convict. But I agree that with certain court room reforms – specialist prosecutors, better victim support ahead of trial (although not, obviously, ‘coaching’) and a complete disbarral of personal attacks on the victim’s sexual history – a more equitable system could be put in place. What will not work is Cammers bleating hopelessly about tougher sentences.

    While it’s a very trial-oriented perspective, Helena Kennedy’s proposals make interesting reading – outlined in both ‘Eve was Framed’ and ‘Just Law’.

  • Jim Evans: Q E fucking D.

    Thang you and good night.

  • jim evans

    Quite a few are “asking” for affection and attention and a sexual partner Unity…but in the sad society in which we live the media provides them with role models that are really just male fantasies dressed up (or undressed!)to cater for equally confused young men to find superficially appealling…..until they end up in prison!

    Why are we British head of the league for teenage pregnancy? Why are our young so miserable and disaffected? Why are little girls tartified and strutting about like the the prostitutes and pole dancers too many of them become?

    It`s because we allow ourselves to be seduced by sexploitive capitalist “liberal” thinking which commodifies us and turns our young into tarts or thugs and enslaves them.

    Yes, it`s fine for the wealthy and connected Unities and Westmonsters of this world…in fact it`s a playground for them….but for the sad and underpriveleged on sink estates it`s a recipe for misery and brutalisation.

    I loathe you political class scum with your smart arse half baked little theories about the social problems YOUR air head “thinking” brought about in the first place.YOUR utterly insane prissy little multivultural society which sucks in the poor and disaffected and wicked excess populations of every other nation on earth and then recoils in mystified surprise when the whole fucking disaster blows up in your smug gormless faces.

    But no doubt YOU are about to ship out to somewhere a lot more congenial and leave us to sort out the morally muddled mess you have witlessly created.

    Has it ever struck you that allowing thousands of poor uneducated men into Britain who have been raised in societies where women have some self respect and modesty and then waving before them the “gagging for it” drunken half naked tarthood that is modern British “woman” might just be a recipe for major misunderstanding?
    Perhaps TV of the Sex in the City or Desperate Housewives or Sopranano`s variety might also be giving them a confusing mixed message too?

    By the way…your sordid americanised Sodom of a society has it`s prisons full to bursting as things are…..so try imagining the impact of your latest moronic little man hunt would have on our prison system….but,I foreget, you political metroarseholes don`t “do” joined up thinking of any sort …..you just swallow the barmy piffle dished up on Radio 4 or in the Guardian or Observer.

    What a fucking mess you shite have made of this country!You won`t be satisfied till we have a Fourth Reich…..but then you won`t be in Britain to witness the fruits of your “new” labour….will you!

  • Ah yes, all those episodes of Sex in the City with the stars going out clad in not very much at all throwing themselves willy nilly at every man who became vaguely aroused at the expression of their sexuality. Oh no, wait. That didn’t happen.

    I hope noone else lives in your little world, jim evans. For their sake.

  • jim evans

    You may be right about Sex in the City Hippo…I only ever saw a few moments of one episode in which one of the harpies was casually screwing a waiter in the broom cupboard of a restaurant…but you will understand if I disagree with your silly little interjection…because it`s inaccurate and doesn`t begin to counter the serious point that I am making and you are too stupid to understand!

  • A ‘serious point’ which you yourself admit contained information you didn’t actually know enough about to make? Serious integrated with ad-hoc ‘research’? Right. Logic ain’t your strong point, I’m guessing.

    As for your ‘point’, I don’t see much to take from it except the impression your tin foil helmet is screwed on just a bit too tightly. An argument around your ‘point’ would be hilarious, I’m sure, but pointless. I’ll never be ‘enlightened’ enough to understand your trademark – ahem – wisdom.

  • jim evans

    And YOUR “point” is?Strip away the clever clogs sarcasm and suggestions that I am unhinged and there`s nothing left of your thesis but an odiously smug cheshire cat grin!I think you may be an hypocratic oaf,Tiny.It`s that smart arse bedside manner that gives you away!

    I am bored with you metro nitwits….there`s none of you with an argument worth entertaining….it`s all Woman`s Hour piss and wind with a lot of partly political name calling and brown nosing…. while global capitalism decides what you think,say and do.

    Enough already….I am going back to the UK debate forum….where people don`t take a thousand pages of A4 to say hello!