Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rape and the police

The Independent this sunday ran a big feature on the continuing failure of police in the UK to get convictions in rape cases. The numbers are worse than ever and a chilling case study descibes how one woman was mistreated, not believed and discouraged from going to trial, then humiliated in the trial and the defendant, who had previous convictions, and in spite of eye witnesses and stacks of evidence, set free to rape again (which he did withing weeks of the trial).

And is it any surprise the rates of conviction are so low when the police are in fact commiting rape themselves. I refer of course to a certain Greg Jones. Senior Welsh police officer. Now here's the evidence: he went out drinking with a mate and they met two women and went back to one of their houses with them - as far as the victim was concerned, this was to "carry on partying". Now Greg wasn't planning to stay long at the mate's house because of course he needed to go home to his girlfriend. Before he left though he decided to have violent sex with one of the women. Now she says she didn't consent to it. Evidence in her favour include 24 significant bruises on her body. He says the bruises were caused by "several falls" during the sex.

Now I don't how everyone else does it but in my world having a fall of the kind that causes at least eight major bruises during sex is usually the point where you stop, or at least pause, no? If you do carry on afterwards you'd be concerned to avoid another fall, so you'd move to somewhere a little less precarious right? I don't even understand how three falls can give you 24 bruises. I think struggling to get away from a violent rapist might give you 24 bruises...

And the evidence for the defence - he bought condoms and she knew he had. So at some point earlier in the evening she though she might want to have sex later. I mean surely the message we should be sending out to women is - buy condoms in case you decide you want sex later, not if you buy condoms, that's consent!

And this guy has been acquitted and is back in the police forse. If you live in Wales and you get raped - he could be the one dealing with your case. And they wonder why women don't report and why reports don't lead to convictions, hmmm.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Upcoming Gigs

Here's what I'm up to - got some great shows in the next few weeks hope to see you there...

Mon 22nd Jan - Soho Comedy Club, Roundtable Pub, St Martin's Court (club run by me and Mr Cru, where I compere)
Wed 24th - This Week On Earth, Cypress Grill, Fulham Palace Road (topical show - I am quizmaster)
Thurs 25th - Downstairs at the Kings Head, Crouch End (new act show - I compere)
Sat 27th - Downstairs at the Kings Head, Crouch End (I do a spot)
Mon 29th - Soho Comedy Club, Roundtable Pub, St Martin's Court (club run by me and Mr Cru, where I compere)
Tues 30th - Laughing Horse Soho (this is a competition night so I'm only on for a few minutes but you could come and vote for me if you wanted - I could win £1000 and a lot of paid work)
Wed 31st - 99 Club Islington, Camden Head Pub in Angel
Thurs 1st Feb - Laughing Lion, Golden Lion Pub, Britannia Row, Kings Cross
Mon 5th - Soho Comedy Club, Roundtable Pub, St Martin's Court (club run by me and Mr Cru, where I compere)
Wed 7th - UCL (I'm not sure where it is and whether it's open to non-students but I think if you go to UCL you will probably know about it)

Hope to see you there somewhere on the way round.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Winds of Change

Another thing that happened to me over Christmas is that I saw the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Highly recommended when it comes out over here, fascinating and frightening stuff. Now I can't watch the news without being bombarded by the amount of evidence around for ongoing serious climate change. Here's the latest.

A dose of Reality

I've been very intrigued by the furore over racism on Bog Brother this week. I can't imagine anyone in the UK has missed it but in case my overseas readers are wondering what the story is, Jade Goody, someone famous for being stupid has been very rude to Shilpa Shetty, a Bollywood starlet, while the two of them are boarded up in the BB house. And now everybody is outraged by the show, saying it should be taken off the air, etc. Seems to me that the whole point of Big Brother is to provide an expose of the way people really behave. And this is the way people really behave, this is what Indian people in the UK often have to put up with. It's not a fiction show - its true, it's a documentary really of real people and how horrid they are.

What is frustrating though is the high profile and concern given to race issues (also this week Simone Clarke at the English National Ballet was exposed as a member of the BNP, and then Janet Street-Porter was arrested for racially abusing a neighbour) while gender issues are ignored and glossed over. I keep putting the TV on and seeing panel shows with possibly one out of five or six guests being female, sometimes none and I wonder whether I'm the only person who notices and is bugged by it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Stay-At-Home Mums

An interesting article in The Guardian by Elaine Morgan claims that corporations are dragging women out of the home, away from their children and that what may appear to be "progress" for women in the workplace is often no more than financial necessity. I'm inclined to agree. I think we should look first at the wage differential (still sky high) rather than at employment rates to assess how the gender divide is faring. Also it seems to me that while the women's movement has done well at getting women into employment (which suits corporates, since they pay them less anyway), we have a very long way to go on getting other members of society to recognise childcare as important, valuable and rewarding work. Stay-at-home Dads are still a tiny minority and childcare work is still terminally badly paid and poorly respected.

The other point that is touched on is the idea that the best way to raise children is in a tight nuclear family - married for life. Speaking as someone who had a pretty horrific childhood with my less-than-happily-married parents I beg to differ. State intervention can of course be traumatic when happy families feel they're being scrutinised unfairly. Now I guess I was one of those well-behaved don't-tell-anyone abusees but I have no doubt there were people around, teachers, etc who had at least a suspicion all wasn't quite right (the fact that I sometimes sobbed uncontrolably for hours at school, not to mention the fact that I got straight As in everything and tore out A minuses from my schoolbooks before I took them home) but no-one official ever EVER visited, checked up or even asked me if things were ok. I don't think that family is "sacred" and needs protecting, I think society has to be open and support individuals rights - particularly those who cannot protect themselves.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Glamourous Life I Lead...

For those of you who've been wondering why things have been a bit quiet over on Cru-blog lately - I've been away for Christmas and New Year. Myself and Mr Cru (that's his blog) went to spend xmas with his parents - Mr Cru's mum also has a blog for those interested in collecting the set - in Los Angeles. We then headed off to New York and Washington DC to catch up with friends, then had a few days back in L.A. and back to sunny Hackney. Top highlights included:

1) Whale watching off Long Beach in L.A. Spotted three Grey Whales and a Fin Whale (the second largest, about 10 foot shorter than a Blue Whale).

2) Attending a comedy writing seminar where we heard from Michael Arndt (the guy who wrote Little Miss Sunshine).

3) Playing the uber-tourist around Washington DC (I've never been before) getting my piccie taken outside the White House, seat of all evil-ness (well, most of it, see other posts).

4) Friends, friends, friends, really nice to see everyone on the way round.

5) More Friends - the obligatory celebrity spot - saw Jennifer Aniston a few tables down from us at Mozza pizza restaurant in L.A. - I resisted the urge to shout "Look it's that woman, you know the one who got dumped!"


A Muslim professor has said that the NHS should start offering faith-based medical services! He's suggesting that the NHS should record your religion when you register with a doctor and then refer to Muslim leaders to decide what drugs can and can't be administered to people. Of course as a patient on the NHs every individual already has the right to ask about any drugs they are offered and request, for instance, a female doctor. This of course isn't good enough for power-crazed religious leaders. No - they need to have some sort of legal control over individuals.

Now remember these religions teach that man is given free will by God and must then choose his/her own path. So there should be no need to bully people in this way.

Furthermore within these religious groups many people have different ways of practicing their faith. So you would essentially have to register the exact denomination and how seriously they were practicing it - which could vary over time.

But finally I had a thought that perhaps religious people should be registered as such with the NHS. Wouldn't it make sense to prioritise treatment for atheists - who don't believe in life after death?