Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The wrong message

Just a couple of weeks after the Aberystwyth rape case was thrown out because the victim was too incapacitated to remember the incident, the great British judiciary is again giving rapists a clear signal to carry on as normal. Apparently "I was sleepwalking" is an acceptable defence. This is a disgusting outrage, it doesn't even matter whether the perpetrator was asleep or not. Non-consensual sex took place and that's rape. If anyone ever has the misfortune to meet the perpetrator I suggest you "sleepwalk" into the garage and get a nice big axe then "sleepwalk" in and show him the sharp end of it.


Winter said...

I wonder if you "sleep-murdered" someone if you would get away with it. Sorry M' lord I have no idea how that happened, you see, I was asleep at the time.

Cruella said...

If the guy can be acquitted of rape because of his sleep-walking problem then we have to accept that sleep-walking is, in his case, a dangerous condition which renders him unfit to live in normal society. He should be taken to a secure healthcare establishment and detained there until he can satisfy doctors that his condition no longer poses a threat to others. This is exactly what we would do with someone who was acquitted of murder on the grounds of insanity.

Instead this guy has been released without any restriction on where and when he can sleep and thus endanger others.

The message here is not that sleep-walking is a kind of mental health problem that excuses crime, the message is that rape isn't a real crime and any old excuse will do. It's disgusting.

Cruella said...

So if the guy has a serious mental health problem that causes him to commit violent crimes, why hasn't he been tranferred to a secure hospital for indefinite detention and treatment?

Answer: because we're not treating rape like it's a real crime.

If rape is taken seriously by our judicial system why do we still have a 6% conviction rate?

Cruella said...

So what of the fact that 30% of the British public considers women "at least partly responsible for their own rapes"? We see case after case being thrown out of the courts on more and more spurious grounds.

And why is this dangerous sleep-walking menace to society not being held for the safety of the public in a place where he can't offend again? You still haven't answered me that.

Winter said...

Ok. let's say we believe his story: he really does have a condition which causes him to have sex with women in his sleep. Surely you should agree that he now be subject to at least some kind of treatment for this condition???

Cruella said...

Yeah exactly. We accept the jury's conclusion that he has a mental illness which makes him a very grave danger to the public. So we take him to a secure establishment for treatment.

MatGB said...

@ Cruella, re So what of the fact that 30% of the British public considers women "at least partly responsible for their own rapes"?, overall, inclined to agree, he's a danger if not treated, he needs to be treated, if he's not being treated then something is wrong. But, on the Amnesty thing, friend of mine, phD student who's been raped, talked a bit about her experiences here, key bit, as she read the whole report:
And while we're bringing up the Amnesty International survey - One in three people say that in certain circumstances the victim has partial responsibility for the actions, not that the rapist is absolved from all. In fact, only 8% said that the victim has complete responsibility in cases where she was dressed inappropriately/flirted outrageously/walked home in a darkened alley etc etc. Yes, this is too too much, but it ain't 30%. It's almost certainly even further skewed by the survey's wording anyway.

It's pretty hard to deny that it's safer getting a licensed black cab home than walking the quick route through the back alleys of the red light district. Anyone who chooses the walk is taking the risk and by taking the risk takes on some responsibility for the consequences. This is a long way from absolving an attacker of rape.

Her entry when she read the whole thing and said that the survey was done so badly it would get even her to allot some responsibility; I hate to admit it as a longtime supporter of their cause, but Amnesty got the answers they wanted to make headlines.

Overall, you're right, it's the wrong message in many ways, but Andy is right to point out the verdict was correct; the media distorts things so many times. Ah well.

Cruella said...

8% think women are completely responsible for their own rapes. yeah that is a really frightening figure.

30% think they're partly responsible. this 30% are dead wrong and their views are offensive and unacceptable.

all the media reports claim the "sleepwalking" guy left court a free man. there was no detention for treatment, no secure mental health unit. he went home.

the media is actually sending out the correc message: that the public, the police and the courts belive that rape is not a "real" crime and will accept any old excuse. the message is "go ahead and rape if you want to" and i'm sure there are people in the media who love spreading that message, but i don't think they're twisting it particularly.