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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Rape victims responsible for the crime?

I was shocked by the reduction to compensation paid to rape victims if they were drunk at the time. My first reaction was how dare they make the victim responsible for the crime? On reflection I can see where they're coming from. Which may sound equally horrifying.

I could live with the idea provided it was applied to ALL crimes. For example - if you're silly enough to walk down a street late at night carrying an expensive laptop and wearing a Rolex watch whilst making a mobile phone call and you are mugged - then you should be held partly responsible and your compensation reduced accordingly. Get drunk with your mates on a Saturday night and end up seriously assaulted - then you're partly responsible. I wonder whether it does work like that? I suspect not. If it did then I could live with the idea a drunken rape victim might be partly culpable.

On the other hand, if you are raped by a stranger and whether you are male or female, I cannot see how you can be held responsible for the criminal's actions. It's almost like giving people permission to commit crimes if the victims are all drunk. He asked for it, your honour, he couldn't look after his phone properly because he was drunk so I took it off him. Absolute discharge - the victim asked for it - next! No I don't think it's likely.

Rape victims have always been treated differently - by the way I favour anonymity for both victim AND accused - I don't think it's fair as it is. I think the reasons for holding any rape victim partially responsible for her crime goes back to the biblical idea of Eve tempting Adam and therefore being responsible for the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In saying rape victims are partially responsible we are no better than fundamental Islam which decrees that the woman is always at fault and must be stoned to drive the demons out of her. Maybe in Britain we ought to give this some thought.

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