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Eddie Mair | 16:19 UK time, Monday, 1 September 2008

damehelen.jpg In a magazine interview being publicised today, the actress Dame Helen Mirren makes a contribution to the debate about rape, based in part of personal experience. She had spoken previously about being a victim of date-rape and was asked in the interview whether she'd reported the incidents to the police.

"No, you couldn't do that in those days. It's such a tricky area, isn't it? Especially if there is no violence. I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don't think he was a rapist. If a woman voluntarily ends up in a man's bedroom, takes all her clothes off and engages in sexual activity in bed with him she has the right to say "no" at the last second."

In those circumstances, if the man ignored the woman's "no", it was rape, but Dame Helen added:

"I don't think she can have that man into court under those circumstances."

The solicitor general, Vera Baird described Dame Helen's remarks as "dangerous" at a time when rape victims were being encouraged to come forward. We'll debate her comments tonight. Feel free to share yours here.


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