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Thursday, 7 December, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Dec 06, 05:19 PM

blair_bush_ap203i.jpgThe future of Iraq, the Middle East and the credibility of the special relationship; further radiation victims; and why do juries fail to convict in so many rape trials?
Comment on Thursday's programme here.

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  • 1.
  • At 06:48 PM on 07 Dec 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

A days a long time in Politics...................................................................
Have just finished watching(1700hrsGMT) the Blair /Bush press conference from the White House ... It was a time capsule experience ,seeing them both arriving at the lecterns, not literally hand in hand, but emotionally, as in former years. Fast forward to the present time we hear the same ole, same ole rhetoric from Bush(although notably flustered at times!)... then the impeccable, articulate, invigorated, Blair. What has happened to recent history in the US?...did the mid term elections really happen? .. proving the people of America, were so anti the war in Iraq...they ousted the Republicans in both houses , wanting out of the Conflict,could all this have been illusory , have the latest bi-partisan meetings ,subsequent recommendations from the States all been so much chatter... wasn't Bush & Blair listening....or has Blair articulated on this visit the"we will not quit"type rhetoric that Bush wanted to hear .."on winning the war".. "staying the course" "we will prevail"......et al.
Whatever has occurred , feel Blair has been more than instrumental in empowering the US Commander in Chief to revert to his more perceived belligerent warmongering ways...& Wouldn't it be nice if our PM acknowledged his role here more rigorously& told the Commons his intentions before this visit .
At the same time Blair has put himself ergo poodle- like, as the man, with President Bush's blessing, to TRY & settle the Palestine/ Israel conflict, all very commendable ...but paying little heed to the reportedly mistrust & personal low standing in those countries... Perhaps this man has now re-launched himself to continue to serve as the PM until that conflict has been settled?..could be years & will not help the Iraq Problem ..it's all to too late!
Or maybe ,as reflected in many reports, become part of the US administration or UN Sec' Gen' replacing Kofi Annan...??

BBC's Chief Correspondent, Nick Robinson's questions to the President & PM Blair were succinct & challenging...their replies were so much fluff! & percieved anger ?

  • 2.
  • At 10:43 PM on 07 Dec 2006,
  • Jake wrote:

I wish I could comment- is Newsnight not being broadcast online this evening? I've clicked on the link from the website but it says it outdated or broken.
Please help!
Jake

  • 3.
  • At 11:09 PM on 07 Dec 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

RAPE:
Three cheers for Anne Widdecombe in saying that women have to take more responsibility for their actions.

I am sick and tired of the feminazi groups headed by Harriet Harman and friends and now this Dr Rake on Newsnight doing their best to secure more convictions for rape, when most sensible people know that many many claims of rape are fallacious and were often consensual - until after the event.

Thank God the courts know better than these men-hating people and throw most cases out.

  • 4.
  • At 11:10 PM on 07 Dec 2006,
  • John Cook wrote:

We are parents of four daughters but we have to say 'well said' to Anne Widdecombe. As for Dr Fawcett, it is she who sounds like an evasive politician.

People have to take some responsibility for their own care.

John and Fran

  • 5.
  • At 11:12 PM on 07 Dec 2006,
  • Rhiannon wrote:

I cannot believe the debate on the rape juries that I have just watched; opened mouthed in disbelief at Ann Widdicome's comments. Yes, women should take responsibility for themselves but to suggest that they should be taken to task after an horrific experience and lectured about the rights and wrongs of being drunk was a statement devoid of any compassion or understanding of the issue,
Having taken an argument that yes, it is difficult for juries to make a decision based on lack of evidence I expected a more sensible debate from one of our "senior" politicians.
The debate was meant to concentrate on the issue of rape convictions NOT binge drinking or alcoholism.
Many people have a bit too much to drink from time to time, that does mean that they are respinsible for another individual taking advantage of such situations, Women who have been raped whilst under the influence of alcohol are often afraid to come forward as they feel they will not be believed or not taken seriously because of this. And quite frankly, after tonights debacle I do not blame them if this is the attitude that prevails.
I was absolutely disgusted at such an uneducated, naive and downright prejudiced view. Such people should just not be in positions of power.

The Thursday link is bust.

I was so glad to see and hear Anne Widdicombe tonight. Today we have end to end interviews with women campaigners dissatisfied that courts don't jail enough men. Their attitude is always that with rape, accusation equals guilt. They have in the past called for the assumption of guilt, they have called for an enforced quota of guilty verdicts, this morning I actually heard one such campaigner on the today programme outrageously saying that all men are potential rapists.

The problem with rape is NOT too few aquittals, it is that it is virtually impossible to meet the necessary criminal standard of proof, and the campaigners want it to remain a criminal offence. If either party woman has got drunk that makes it even harder to prove the case "beyond reasonable doubt". That's just the law; it's not unfair, and it's not anti-woman.

I'd like to hear, just once in a while, one of these campaigners saying what a good thing it is that innocent men are aquitted. But they seem to regard those outcomes as a miscarriage of justice.

  • 7.
  • At 11:29 PM on 07 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Salter wrote:

Is it right for a woman to cry out rape all the time?

I appreciate that there are some women that are raped as in the meaning of rape. However, a lot of women accuse men of raping them when they have not been raped at all. IE: women who have gone out for an evening out and have had a one night stand, only on returning home to their supposed loved ones, realising that they are about to be cought out that they have cheated they say that they were forced into sex.

Then there are the women who have so much to drink, they lead a man on not knowing what they are doing. This is not rape, this is a woman not being in control of herself. Only later or the next day when they can start thinking clearly do they think they have been raped.

Again it is the same old/new addage, we are now being too politicaly correct and giving women far too much protection, which in turn meens that a man can always be accused of rape even just by looking at a woman.

I think that it is about time we shift the emphisis back onto the women to take control of themselvs.
As Ann Widdicome so correctly said, If you go out and lock up your house and it gets burgled, then at least you know you done what was reasonable to protect your property. If you go out and leave it unlocked with doors open, then you must take some of the responsibility for what happens. Not to say that being burgled/raped is right because it is not, but at the end of the day you must acceppt responsibilty for what goes on in your life.

I didn't see the press conference in the same way as the previous contributor. In fact to me it was clear that perhaps for the first time, the US President was counting on Blair to get him out of a BIG hole.

Mr Bush didn't put it in that way, of course. He reverted to his natural shooting-from-the-hip style, reminding his people of the terrorist and nuclear threats coming from the Middle East. But there is no doubt, as witnessed by the praise he showered on his "closest ally", that here is a man in search of a friend. Bush seemed to need Blair more than ever, and more than vice-versa.

This could be Tony Blair's big opportunity. I hope and expect he realises this.

After his afternoon meeting with the new power base at Congress today surely Mr Blair will have come away re-invigorated by the hope that even now he, and we, might be instrumental in settling some of the murderous conflict that is the Middle East.

On Newsnight Chris Shays, of the US National Security Committee, was, like many in America, most impressed by our Prime Minister's diplomatic and negotiating skills. Bush is lacking this kind of empathy. Shays called Blair an "extraordinarily good teacher" and expressed high hopes for lessons to be taken on board, late or not, by Mr Bush. The plan is that the PM can meet with the Israelis and the Lebanese to try to forge a settlement which will influence Iran and Syria and their involvement for the peace and future in Iraq and the whole region.

This is a monumental task for our Prime Minister, given that he needs to at least get the ball rolling hard and in a clear direction within the next few months. And, he may have to insist on using his own experience as regards "ground rules" for discussions. Bush's law says that Iran has to put aside its nuclear ambitions. This is probably a non-starter. Bush has no fall-back position if the Iranians say "no". As in Northern Ireland, Blair knows that such strict exhortations may have a place, but their place and time may not be right at the beginning of the process.

Kenneth Clarke, a shrewd politician, but speaking as a Tory against the war, did not share the optimism of Shays. However, it matters little if here in the UK those opposing Blair are dismissive. He is well used to that. All that matters is that someone, somewhere can get the talking started. "Jaw, jaw"? Perhaps its time has come.

https://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com

  • 9.
  • At 11:48 PM on 07 Dec 2006,
  • victim to the jury wrote:

i totally agree with rhiannons comment above. i felt compelled to comment after watching tonights debate.
i was raped on the way home from a night out, the jury failed to convict my attacker, then a year later my attacker raped another girl in almost exactly the same way and it went to trial again and this time he was convicted.
Already the trial for victims of this nature is awful and very traumatic and more should be done to protect the victims as oppossed to place more pressure upon the issue that people will, in not so many words, say the girl was "asking for it" because she had had too much to drink or was wearing a certain outfit etc. this is not the case.
instead of talking about drinking alcohol and women being more aware, more emphasis should of been on things they could change to improve the whole process of rape trials to stop rapists attacking again after a failed conviction, more of a punishment for attackers and re-eduaction and prevention of would be attackers before they commit the crime in the first place, it is the rapist that is the sick person and to blame not the victims!!!!

  • 10.
  • At 12:10 AM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Peter Lamb wrote:

I agree with in part in which the ladies have wrote about rape debate above. Under no circumstances should this offence be taken likely and that at all stages of a trial, I can only imagine are extremly tough and feel sorry for anyone having to go through this. I also wish to vent that very strong sentencing and penalties should be given to anyone convicted of this sick act.
The comments of Ann Widdicombe have not been percieved incorrectly though by Rhiannon who wrote earlier, she merely states facts of life which cannot be argued about, in the same light of robbery or assault which is something I can relate to, you do have to take responsibilty for yourself, stay safe, drink safe, go places safe otherwise in 2006 things are going to happen that you can do nothing about. Any other talk is just hiding the truth and you cant do whatever you want to do in life without consequences.

  • 11.
  • At 12:21 AM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Pauline Campbell wrote:

RAPE - Three decades ago, one out of three rape attacks reported to the police ended in conviction; today it is just one in 20.

In 1995, the number of reported rapes was 4,900; by 2004 the figure had risen to 14,100. The figures are alarming. But, worryingly, a survey by Amnesty International, 2005, found that one third of British people believed a woman was partially or completely responsible for being raped if she had behaved flirtatiously - the Director of Public Prosecutions has described this as "shocking".

"Jennifer Temkin: Women's advocate"
The Guardian
5 December 2006
https://education.guardian.co.uk/academicexperts/story/0,,1963726,00.html

  • 12.
  • At 12:35 AM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Lesley Boatwright wrote:

I was on a rape jury once at the Old Bailey. We failed to agree, and there had to be a re-trial. It wasn't an attack by a stranger, but a night out that had gone wrong. We all felt that the girl had behaved in a very silly way, but the argument then centred round - was she "asking for it"? It was fairly noticeable that the men on the jury thought that, however she had acted, she had an ultimate right to say No, but most of the women thought that she had behaved so badly "she got what was coming to her".

  • 13.
  • At 12:38 AM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Liam Coughlan wrote:

On Iraq I feel that Blair did the wrong thing for the right reason. Bush did the wrong thing for the wrong reason, and still shows that he barely understands this, or anything else. Blair looked extremely uncomfortable as Bush stammered ignorantly and sometimes threateningly through the questions posed by the BBC in the press conference. Few will doubt Blair's sincerity and motivation in wishing to have another go at diplomacy on the middle east peace process. However, as far as most people in the middle east can see, Blair and Bush are a double act, and so thanks to Bush, Blair has little chance of success.

Like Clinton in his last year, Blair is in top form. If Clinton could have had a third term, he would easily have won it. Blair should come home for Xmas and reflect on Clinton' experience. Instead of resigning in May, he should call a leadership contest and participate himself as a candidate. A Clinton style public apology for the war on Iraq, followed by a campaign to continue as PM until the British people decide at the next general election. The public will forgive him on Iraq if he admits he was wrong, albeit for the right reasons.

WHAT CHANCE FOR SUCCESS BY TONY BLAIR?

Yesterday Tony Blair sought George Bush’s support for his mission in the Middle East. He got some form of support, but in a very weak form. The President’s body language, and actual words, were at best petulant. He is already deep into a groupthink retreat into his final bunker. So, Blair should not look for significant support from that direction.

The good news, however, is that he probably won’t be obstructed by Bush. The President cannot see beyond Iraq, and probably can’t even understand Blair’s point that the real source of most problems, and certainly the best opportunity for solving the problems of the whole of the Middle East, is the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. George Bush quickly forgot the promises he made to Blair about the ‘Roadmap’, but that probably was not a deliberate snub but merely an indication of just how low this was on his priority list. Now Blair has the chance to act, on behalf of Bush, as his negotiator; where the invisible Condy Rice has failed miserably.

So what are his chances? The real breakthrough has to come with the Israeli government. But why should they listen to Blair when Bush has given him so little in the way of endorsement – especially where the US has always backed them right or wrong.

The first reason for hope is the situation on the ground. For the first time in decades Israel’s military might has been defeated. It can no longer count on a military solution to its problems – though in reality (though not its own beliefs) it never could – and should want to look for political solutions. In this context, Tony Blair clearly comes as a friend; probably the only one likely to put his head above the parapet.

The second, and probably the most important, reason is that in two years time it is likely Israel will be faced with a Democrat administration – backed up by both houses also Democrat – which will be a lot less friendly. So there is every incentive, unless they are as mad as Bush now seems to be, for them to settle as soon as possible.
Good luck Tony, the chances are not as poor as some imagine!

  • 15.
  • At 12:36 PM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Jonathan wrote:

I was unable to listen to Widdecombe's comments on rape,but anything that brings the concept of contributary negligence to bear on rape makes me feel very uneasy.CN is not taken into account in any crime that I am aware of.Lord Hailsham may once have said something like-when a woman says no she very often means maybe - this seems to be a prevalent attitude in the Tory party.I dont think rapists should be allowed to hide behind the idea that women speak in some kind of cryptic coded format,and I must add that the statutory changes from the old requirement for a reasonable belief in consent to an honest belief seem to me extremely unfortunate.
If a woman continually says no,stop, or even simply I do not like this ,that should be clear enough.

  • 16.
  • At 01:11 PM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

Firstly to say I wasnt able to watch Newsnight last night, but reading the comments on the blog about the feature on the lack of convictions in Rape Cases felt I should respond.

Firstly I am totally disgusted with some of the (male) bloggers who suggest that women bring it upon themselves. The conviction case must be radically increased and we need among other things a compulsory national DNA database.

As for Anne Widdecombe, if she has said the things bloggers suggest then I hold her in utter contempt.

Yours
Bob Goodall

  • 17.
  • At 07:41 PM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Cloe Fribourg wrote:

Gracious, a full 5 minutes and 8 seconds spent reporting on the weather... Peter Barron must have been delighted :)

On the issue of rape convictions (or lack thereof), leaving aside Ann Widdecombe’s chatter on women’s responsibility, surely the accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the jury has to be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. Do those who wish to see more convictions think that this threshold should be lowered? The other issue raised during the discussion, that there is no national helpline/services for rape victims, is shocking. It might be wiser and in the long run more effective, if campaigners concentrated on resolving that rather than clamour for more convictions when one of the major problems, as Vera Baird seemed to be suggesting, is the lack of evidence.

Very good and worrying report about Lebanon. How does Hezbollah manage to administer such large sums without anyone noticing or interfering? Even by conservative estimates of number of households affected, around 30 000[1], this kind of compensation would be running into hundreds of millions of US dollars.

[1] For those interested: very good, if a bit wordy, report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN) on the economic/sociological impact of the war https://www.fao.org/reliefoperations/pdf/Lebanon_final_report.pdf

  • 18.
  • At 09:19 PM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Pauline Campbell wrote:

RAPE

Forgot to include the following link in my previous post (11):

"Rape - More cases but fewer convictions"
The Guardian [Leader]
31 March 2006
https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1743631,00.html

  • 19.
  • At 10:04 PM on 08 Dec 2006,
  • Sadie wrote:


Listening to Blair just made me despair.I really begin to think he is living on Mars.

  • 20.
  • At 12:03 AM on 10 Dec 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Cloe Fribourg wrote: "On the issue of rape convictions (or lack thereof)... surely the accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the jury has to be convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. Do those who wish to see more convictions think that this threshold should be lowered?"

I'm sure some do, and some, equally unbalanced, but in the other way, would like all rape charges dismissed. As several comments here indicate, there is now an organised effort to "roll back" previous advances on women's particular needs. In other places where they think recruits might be found they are explicit about their aims, which include stopping breast and cervical cancer screening, and they claim successes are imminent. The relentless misogynists whose exposure led to the closure of 'Families Need Fathers' were bound to find other another outlet.

This country (as with most countries) has a very long way to go before justice prevails to anything like a satisfactory degree on non-consensual sex. Widespread ignorance amongst potential victims on how to respond, discouragement against reporting offences, poor police procedures and evidence gathering, bad judicial procedures, and biased juries (as someone else commented) all need tackling. The biased juries, reflecting judgemental societal attitudes, are probably the largest issue. The way rape is reported and portrayed in the media is still not helping. The teachings of some religions are not helping. The lad culture, increased drunkeness, and many other societal and structural changes have made it more difficult for women to live "normal" lives and be safe.

Should anyone who might ever be at risk of rape not be educated how to avoid it, and how to respond if it has happened? But how to do that without in effect assisting the intention to create fear and control that is behind many rapes? Is the danger of rape and the proper response something which should be taught in school sex education (where children have not been denied access to them by their parents)?

"The other issue raised during the discussion, that there is no national helpline/services for rape victims, is shocking. It might be wiser and in the long run more effective, if campaigners concentrated on resolving that rather than clamour for more convictions when one of the major problems, as Vera Baird seemed to be suggesting, is the lack of evidence."

There is no obvious connection between not having a national helpline and lack of evidence. By the time women (or male victims) contact a helpline the evidence has most often been already destroyed - one of the most natural first reactions is to try to divest oneself of all traces of the rapist, calling a helpline comes way down the list. Helplines were (and sometimes still are) part of the feminist movement and were local in order that a trust and rapport could be created to facilitate counselling, provision of a companion at court appearances, etc.. Also so that callers could use a local number and feel assured of their confidentiality, if desired. But staffing them was very stressful, funding was sparse, internal politics tended to be destructive, especially when a need to assist male or transgender victims conflicted with many of the most motivated members having been themselves raped by men, and helping the victims of a society that persistently resisted tackling the causes and procedural problems led to burn-out. These are not simple matters.

Yes there should be good, funded, helplines anywhere. But the lack of them, and the real lack of uniform progress on this important issue really rests with this government having not only failed to deliver anything but lipservice on women's issues - a department that takes no pro-active role and uses the most limited interpretation of its remit - but by claiming it has brought those issues - some of which are life-and-death ones - into government and changing funding to voluntary organisations so that usually only start-ups are funded has maimed women's own organisations.

  • 21.
  • At 01:19 AM on 10 Dec 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

David Mercer wrote: "...in two years time it is likely Israel will be faced with a Democrat administration – backed up by both houses also Democrat – which will be a lot less friendly. So there is every incentive, unless they are as mad as Bush now seems to be, for them to settle as soon as possible. Good luck Tony, the chances are not as poor as some imagine!"

It seems very unlikely - at this time - that Democrats would be less friendly. They might well revert to the Clinton policy of active involvement in the Israel problem - which would be some improvement if anyone out there can be persuaded that the US and Israel are not totally one and the same, given the Bush policies. It is a huge problem, however, that some many have died (including Yasser Arafat), so many Palestinian homes and businesses have been destroyed, Lebanon has been trashed for a second time, so many illegal settlements have been built, and a huge, obscene dividing wall encompassing very obviously stolen has been constructed, all with US agreement, in recent years. Israel has also generally moved to the right and become used to living as an unjust and corrupt apartheid state which sees itself as unfairly embattled.

But two years of Democrat foreign policy impotence under the Bush White House (if Bush continues to behave as if nothing has changed, indeed continues his new tack of trying to make out that Congress is to blame) may well cause a Democrat President to be seen in the Middle East as no change at all, unless he (or she) makes a very large break with the past, such as allowing UN votes against Israel, or withdrawing funding and arms, which are sooooo unlikely. One way out of that dilemma would be to impeach Cheney and Bush, but Pelosi has already said (with no apparent opportunity for debate) that will not be done.

  • 22.
  • At 06:02 AM on 10 Dec 2006,
  • Dr Rim Turkmani wrote:

As a scientist who is working on trying to understand the theory behind Solar activities, I was stunned when Piers Corbyn of Weather Action appeared on News Night claiming that the Kensal Rise tornado was related to Solar activities and that he actually predicted it months ago!

Solar activities are still very unpredictable and we are still struggling to understand how they are triggered. There is an army of scientists in Britain and world wide that are working hard on this subject, so if Piers Corbyn can actually predict such events with such high accuracy, why doesn’t he come forward with his method and earn the Nobel Prize for it?

I don’t mind considering the idea that terrestrial weather is related to space weather, but to claim that one can predict a solar activity months in advance sounds absurd. Not to mention that no respected scientist would jump to make conclusions about the cause of the event hours after it takes place without looking at the evidence first.
Many scientists won't mind looking at the connection between solar activities and the weather on earth. Many are doing this indeed, but they are doing it in the open, using the evidence we collected so far in a scientific manner. What is controversial about Corbyn is not this connection he looks at, but rather the fact that he claims to be able to do long term predictions based on the solar activities which can only be predicted in a very short term, if at all. Add to that the fact that he doesn’t disclose his magic forecasting method. All of this makes his forecasting rather a work of Astrology than Metrology.

News night featured him when his predictions came correct, but if he is to be feature every time his predictions are proven to be incorrect he will probably appear more often in News night than Jeremy Paxman.

  • 23.
  • At 12:23 AM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Cloe Fribourg wrote:

RE Jenny #20

I am fully aware that it is a highly sensitive and very complex issue. I did not intend provoke with my brief paragraph. It was too short to convey my opinions on rape convictions and related issues. For that I would need to write too long and too personal a comment and I do not think that this is the right place. However, just to clarify some of the points:

Thresholds of proof: If rape is to remain a criminal offence (and I think that it should) then these standards, innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, should be accepted as law. I was not requesting a higher burden of proof and nor was I suggesting that we should tolerate the scepticism, and at times vitriolic cynicism, that tends to be expressed when rape is being talked/written about or tried in the front of the courts. And yes, there is still a long way to go.

Helpline: (1) Staffing: Yes, I appreciate that the matter is complex and that working on these helplines must be a difficult and at times traumatic job. (2) Purpose: true, the initial reflex is to remove any physical and emotional reminders of the event as fast and thoroughly as one possibly can. But the fact that one has no other choice than to go through what are essentially standard GP/police procedures is petrifying especially if one is alone with no immediate other support to turn to (i.e. family or very close friends). A helpline of any sort, even one that would simply put the victim in touch with specially trained doctors, police officers, social workers or other organisations, would be more than welcome.

Debate on Newsnight: I found Ann Widdecombe’s persistent whining about female responsibility pretty upsetting but ultimately beside the point. Being raped is not about how drunk or revealingly dressed one is but about one person taking brutal advantage of the other, putting their own satisfaction before any regard for the other’s well being.

  • 24.
  • At 01:17 PM on 11 Dec 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

>> Being raped is not about how drunk or revealingly dressed one is but about one person taking brutal advantage of the other, putting their own satisfaction before any regard for the other’s well being.

The thing is that many people extend the definition of rape to include cases when the guy was probably also off his head, in which case it becomes slightly dubious as to whether he's "taking brutal advantage of"... anything, really.

  • 25.
  • At 02:18 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Rhiannon wrote:


I do not believe that I misinterpreted Ann Widdicome's comments I felt that she was trying to direct the debate away from what was really important. Rape is against the law and is fundamentally wrong. It may be irresponsible to drink to excess and get into dodgy situations, however it is not illegal and does not mean that "someone has it coming".
Yes we should be more educated and take more personal responsibility however should we fail to do so does not mean that someone deserves to be raped and abused.


As a radical feminist I have strong views about Anne Widdicombe's comments.If there is always a problem with evidence of consent,why should a pre-sexual agreement not be required,to which both parties could be signature?In the absence of such an agreement there would be a reversal of the presumption of innocence on the part of the male.
Without wishing to trivialise the debate in any way I would point out that consenting couples in sado-masochistic sexual relations almost always have a pre-arranged signal to show that they really wish to stop a sexual practise -this is usually an arbitrary word such as mauve or red.This prevents any misunderstanding re consent very effectively.

  • 27.
  • At 12:20 AM on 20 Dec 2006,
  • Jason wrote:

Before I am accused of believing that rape should be decriminalised. I should make it clear I think rape is a crime regardless of how the victim is dressed. Rape is forcing someone to have sex against her will. Anne Widecombe was talking about situations where a woman has been drinking alcohol and has AGREED to have sex.

A number of contributors seem to have missed the point Anne Widecombe was making. She was not talking about women who say no but maybe - she was talking about women who say yes and then decide the next day they actually meant maybe not. It is not illegal to drink alcohol but nor is it illegal for two consenting adults to have sex whilst under the influence of alcohol until the next day when one decides the other must have forced them because they can't remember.

I find it rather strange that the same women who argue for equality suggest that men under the influence of alcohol are more capable of making judgements than a woman. She says yes because she's under the influence of drink but he is expected to rationally decide she is incapable of making that decision. I used to think that the two genders were equal but these campaigners are suggesting that men are superior in some way. If we live in a society where we are all equal, then presumably men whose judgement is impaired by alcohol could make a counter-claim of rape?

As for a contract being signed before sex. Well that just about sums up the state of this country that sex has become a business deal. If there's no signed contract, presumably that would also mean that the man had not consented to sex either?

  • 28.
  • At 09:12 AM on 20 Dec 2006,
  • chris wrote:

David Mercer - does your personal blog/web have a facility for contacting you? I have something (semi-) interesting to tell/ask you.

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