And, given the current media fixation on women bringing "false allegations", it would be easy to assume our prisons were full of innocent men. In fact, the conviction rate for rape is at an all-time low. In 1985, 1,800 complaints of rape were made and one in four men convicted. In 2003, 13,000 complaints were made but only one in 20 was convicted.
Despite improvements, there remains a culture within the police that assumes that women who report rape are lying. One study found that a third of police assumed that at least a quarter of all reports were false.
Right, this is bad. But, as far as I can make out, Julie is assuming that 19 out of 20 men—the ones who who were acquitted—were lying.
How many men should be convicted of rape, Julie? Shall we set an arbitrary percentage, or would you prefer to make it a proper number (graded with population growth, of course). By Julie's figures, there are about 650 men convicted of rape every year; how many would you prefer Julie? Shall we set it at a nice, round 1,000; or is that not enough for you? Tell you what: we'll convict half of the complaints, no matter what the evidence is, shall we? 7,500 are goin' daaaaaaan whether there is any evidence or not. Happy now?
There was a discussion about this over at Rachel's (in which the lady herself discussed the role of alcohol); but it is the comments from NotSaussure who works in the criminal justice system) that presented the truth of the low conviction rate. Yes, I'm afraid that it is that tedious "innocent until proven guilty" rule again...
I'm not at all sure the phrase 'Vulnerability is not culpability' is particularly useful; the only person in whose culpability the court is interested is the defendant. It's important, I think, to remember that an acquittal in a rape case doesn't necessarily mean 'the jury didn't believe her' or 'the jury thought she was to blame.'
The question the jury is asked, when the issue is consent, is not 'do you think she's telling the truth' but 'are you sure he isn't?' If a juror thinks, 'Well, I'm pretty certain she's telling the truth and she didn't consent, but I can't be sure she didn't', the vote's got to be 'not guilty'.
One of the main reasons there's such a low conviction rate in rape trials is that, almost uniquely in criminal cases, it so frequently comes down to one person's word against the other's, with no other evidence to assist the jury.
Short of changing the burden of proof, which I'd be very unwilling to do, I don't see how you fix it unless you become a lot less willing to prosecute without corroborative evidence. But that's obviously not a particularly desirable approach, either. I'm not at all sure there is a solution.
Quite. Mind you, the presumption of innocence idea does not seem to be treasured by this government and certainly does not exist in many other EU countries. I can see the day when "harmonisation" will bring the conviction rates that Ms Bindel would like to see, simply because the defendent will be unable to prove his innocence.
But until then, ladies, I'm afraid that you are just going to have to be really careful—either of yourselves, or to obtain corroberative evidence. But, until then, could we please stop this continual, perennial moaning about how few people get convicted simply on your say-so, please?
But Julie's last paragraph is absolutely stunning.
If more cases such as Shabnam's occur, we may as well forget about the criminal justice system and train groups of vigilantes to exact revenge and, hopefully, deter attacks.
For fuck's sake, woman, I hope that you are being facetious. You know what would happen if you did that? You'd train your vigilantes determined to defend your honour, and then your accused would form his own group of vigilantes to "take out that lying bitch" and next thing you know, there's a full-scale turf war. You stupid woman.
You are feeling bitter because you did not report the attempted rape on yourself; you can't get bitter about it, you stupid cow, because you didn't fucking report it. Do you understand? But, since you didn't and the case wasn't tried, you do, at least, get to state this attempted rape as a fact, unsupported by any evidence, that happened to you in a nation newpaper. Nice one.
Because if I were raped, I would rather take my chances as a defendant in court, than as a complainant in a system that seems bent on proving that rape is a figment of malicious women's imagination.
You stupid, stupid woman; you vicious, awful harridan. If you want to live in a country where the burden of proof is on the defendent, why don't you fuck off and live in France? You'll get your justice there. You'd just better hope that no one accuses you of anything.
For fuck's sake, everyone thinks that they should be a special case, eh?