Philobiblon: A caution for rape. Rape?

Monday, April 10, 2006

A caution for rape. Rape?

The Times is reporting today that in the last year for which figures are available (2004) 40 offenders (who admitted the offence) were cautioned for rape, i.e. they got a bit of a talking to down at the police station, and that was that.

It is one of those stories to which the first reaction is horror, but listening to various explanations this morning (very young offenders for whom psychiatric treatment has been arranged and even younger victims, or crimes that occurred decades ago) I suppose there may be cases where it is appropriate - at least it puts the attackers on the sex offenders' register, which helps to protect others. And it may save victims giving evidence in court - although of course that just highlights what an ordeal that still is.
Of course many women around the world get even less protection - attempts are now being made to save the life of an Iranian woman, Nazanin:

Amnesty International has said the woman was 17 when she reportedly admitted stabbing to death one of three men who attempted to rape her and her 16-year-old niece in a park in Karaj in March 2005.
Now 18, Nazanin was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging.
Amnesty International and human rights workers said they had been unable to contact her family, and did not know whether legal appeals were scheduled.

An interesting comment piece in the Guardian not so much for its contents - a fairly standard debate about "the Enlightenment", what it was and what it is today, but the fact that it is structured pretty well entirely as a reaction to Guardian blog material.


Blogger BlondebutBright said...

The fact that the article lists "saving victims giving evidence in court" as a plus for this policy is even more horrifying than the policy itself. It just goes back to the whole idea that women are being "shamed" when they tell their story in a court of law - so to spare them, let's just let the men get away with it.

Truly appalling. Women should be praised for their courage, not "spared" the ordeal of telling their story. Any woman that's been raped is living with a terrible scar - how absurd to simply slap the man on the wrist and let him walk. Shame on this society that runs on such logic.

4/11/2006 09:42:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

In general I agree with you, although I suppose in cases where the victims are very young, say under 12, it may be extremely difficuly to make giving evidence on anything (a sex crime or anything else) a non-traumatic experience.

Some of the coverage of the recent choice of Australian victims of gang rape choosing to waive anonymity stressed their "bravery" in a way that went perilously close to suggesting they were "shamed" women.

4/11/2006 04:15:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home