Would anonymity for defendants benefit rape victims too?


by Rumbold
23rd May, 2010 at 1:11 pm    

There has been a furore over government plans to grant anonymity to those accused of rape (their accusers already have their identity protected). A number of feminists have come out and argued that this simply tilts the scales further in favour of men, as it gives the impression that rape defendants need special protection. There are also fears that not naming the accused would stop other women coming forward if they heard about a trial, and so it would be harder to convict serial rapists like John Warboys.

Obviously, this change is better for the men accused of rape (which is good, as they are innocent until proven guilty), but could it be better for women too? Perhaps. We know from studies that some people are willing to blame the rape victim (or at least partially blame her), for the rape. This, combined with a perception that some rape victims are lying and desperate for attention, is likely to have a negative impact on some jurors, thus making them less likely to convict. Anonymity would eliminate the notion that a woman is seeking publicity, making some on the jury more sympathetic to their claims.

Whether anonymity would benefit women who have made it to court is a minor debate though compared to the wider issues surrounding rape. One of the biggest issues is the misinformation put out by many commentators about the low conviction rate for rape (’94% of rapes don’t end in conviction’ is the standard line). The rape conviction rate is then compared unfavourably to conviction rates for other crimes. Yet this is a myth. The conviction rate for rape is between 50-60%, which is higher than for most other crimes. The conviction rate is the percentage of cases brought to trial that end in a conviction. What both commentators and politicians do is use the attrition rate for rape (number of convictions as a percentage of number of reported crimes), whilst using the conviction rate for all other crimes. As Baroness Stern (appointed by Harriet Harman to lead a review of rape) pointed out, misleading references to the attrition/conviction rate actually discourage women from coming forward to report rapes.

Secondly is the issue of the help women receive when they are reporting a rape. As Baroness Stern’s review noted, there are a number of things the police could do a great deal better. Many women who waited several weeks to report a rape (understandably, given the horrific nature of such a crime), were treated with suspicion and dismissive comments. Others felt that lack of a specialist support officer hampered their chances of recovering and ensuring that the rapist was brought to justice. Baroness Stern recommended more specialist advisers, greater training, and more ‘intelligence-led’ policing.

The third issue is the attitudes surrounding rape. As I mentioned above, there still is a culture of victim-blaming surrounding rape. Just to note: rape is never a victim’s fault, and no means no. Yet we are still a situation where high-profile women feel able to defend date rape on the basis that once a woman is in a man’s bedroom and kissing him she loses any rights she might have had over her own body. There is also still a stereotype of the rapist lurking in the bushes, while in reality the majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

There’s a lot to do regarding rape, particularly in terms of better provisioning for victims (both pre and post trial), changing mentalities and more accurate information about statistics. I don’t see anonymity of defendants as a step back, but rather a proposal that will benefit both victims and the accused.


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  1. Thomas Byrne

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  2. Elly

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  3. Alice Sheppard

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  4. earwicga

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  5. Harriet R

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  6. Richard Strand

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  13. Six of the Best 57

    [...] on Pickled Politics, Rumbold suggests that anonymity for the accused in rape cases may make convictions more [...]


  14. Nolan Sylvia

    Pickled Politics » Would anonymity for defendants benefit rape …: There has been a furore over government plans … http://bit.ly/cX0s8M


  15. Marcel Duda

    Pickled <b>Politics</b> » Would anonymity for defendants benefit rape <b>…</b> http://goo.gl/fb/Nv04W


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  17. Gareth Winchester

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  18. Elly

    @CTrouper http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/8762 worth reading the comments if you can bear to!


  19. More Food for Thought « Reclaim The Pub!

    [...] two blogposts by Laurie Penny on Liberal Conspiracy and Rumbold on Pickled Politics show both sides of the argument from a woman-friendly perspective. What do you think? Would [...]


  20. Elly

    @KateVWilliams @sarahditum http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/8762 this was about anonymity a good post.




  1. not_marvin — on 23rd May, 2010 at 1:26 pm  

    I’m pretty angry about that misrepresentation of conviction rates, I was on the understanding that only 6% are convicted as opposed to far far higher figures for other crimes, and that this was therefore incredibly disproportionate.

    How stupid can it be to misrepresent to the public these figures? It’s so blindingly obvious that if a woman thinks it’s highly unlikely she’s going to get some justice then she may well just not go through the stress of a court trial.

  2. Naadir Jeewa — on 23rd May, 2010 at 1:32 pm  

    Two things:

    Victims should be granted the right to revoke their anonymity at the end of a case. This is a recommendation from the Rape Crisis Network.

    Surely, anonymity of the accused should be left to the discretion of the court, who will need to apply some balancing test when deciding whether or not to grant it.

  3. cim — on 23rd May, 2010 at 1:54 pm  

    “The conviction rate for rape is between 50-60%, which is higher than for most other crimes.”

    The 50-60% rate is almost meaningless, though. CPS guidelines – for all crimes – state that you should only prosecute cases where you are more likely than not to succeed. It would be really strange if that rate was not close to 50%. (In fact, if it’s higher than for most crimes, that suggests the CPS are passing up some winnable cases)

    And for a crime in which the identity of the perpetrator(s) is usually known, an attrition rate of 94% is terrible. Focusing on the conviction rate would hide all the numerous pre-trial failings of the justice system.

    “Baroness Stern recommended more specialist advisers, greater training, and more ‘intelligence-led’ policing.”

    Baroness Stern also recommended not taking any action on defendant anonymity until more research could be done into the likely effects.

    “Anonymity would eliminate the notion that a woman is seeking publicity, making some on the jury more sympathetic to their claims.”

    Or it could – since it’s only rape and not other serious crimes such as terrorism, murder, etc. that this proposal is for – suggest that the proportion of defendants accused of rape who are actually innocent is higher than for other crimes, and therefore make juries less likely to convict.

    It’s worth noting, too, that serial rapists such as Worboys are the norm, not the exception (he was, of course, exceptionally criminal even among serial rapists). Have a look at Lisak and Miller 2002, if you haven’t seen it before (this is a useful commentary on the paper).

    I’m afraid that I can’t see how this change does anything other than benefit rapists over their victims.

  4. cim — on 23rd May, 2010 at 1:56 pm  

    @Naadir: I believe both of those are the case already, aren’t they?

    Certainly I’ve seen “X, who waived her right to anonymity to campaign against rape” in some news articles, and I believe that the courts will already grant full or partial anonymity to the suspect in those cases where identifying the suspect would make it trivial to identify the victim (which is the one case where it makes sense, of course).

  5. An. — on 23rd May, 2010 at 2:02 pm  

    cim: That Lisak paper is somewhat irrelevant to the discussion surely, being as it is about ‘undetected’ rape, which isn’t picked up by the criminal justice system. Would a more relevant paper not be one that discussed numbers of rapes committed by those who’d been taken to trial?

  6. Rumbold — on 23rd May, 2010 at 2:26 pm  

    Cim:

    The attrition rate for rape, from what I have looked at, falls within the standard range for most crimes (5-10%). I agree there should be less focus on the conviction rate, which will only happen if people report it in an accurate manner. Rape is also a difficult crime to prove, since while the rapist might be known, it can come down to a question of A’s word over B’s (especially as the rapist and victim probably knew one another beforehand). A says rape, B says sex. In cases like that, how do you prove it one way or the other (especially if the rape was not physically violent in the sense of bruises, cuts, etc.)?

    I would also give all defendants accused of serious crimes anonymity, as I don’t think rape should be a special case.

    Serial rapists such as Worboys are the norm

    John Worboys didn’t know his victims, unlike the average rapist. However, that is an interesting study, and one which I hadn’t seen before. Thanks for linking to it. Obviously any study is not perfect, but it does show disturbing repeat behaviour from a number of students. I wonder how it compares to other studies, and those cases brought to trail.

  7. Yakoub — on 23rd May, 2010 at 2:27 pm  

    Why should people accused of or standing trial for rape require anonymity? It’s a serious allegation, but so is murder, manslaughter, GBH, serious fraud, and a bundle of other crimes. What’s different about rape? The difference is, enough rich Tory scum think women ask for it. This is dog whistle politics to the turd encrusted monied right of the Tory party, throwing ‘em a bone for Cameron getting into bed with Lib Clegg.

  8. cim — on 23rd May, 2010 at 3:40 pm  

    An: only if you believe that the behaviour of undetected rapists is likely to be significantly different to the behaviour of detected rapists.

    Rumbold: Other studies on undetected rapists are summarised on page 2 of that PDF. Essentially, depending on exactly what form of question you use, and what you ask about, between 5% and 15% of men will admit to behaviour which is either rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

    There’s also a study by McWhorter in Violence and Victims, Vol, 24, No. 2, 2009 that largely confirms Lisak and Miller’s research in terms of the proportion of serial offenders, but it’s not freely available online as far as I can tell.

    Yakoub: Tempting as it is to blame the Tories – and if they vote for it, I will – this particular policy is a Lib Dem one (indeed, it was the 1988 Tory government that abolished defendant anonymity in rape cases)

  9. Quiet Riot Girl — on 23rd May, 2010 at 8:53 pm  

    I appreciate you making a considered reflection on this issue. I was one guilty of jumping to react quickly and disparagingly about the new proposals. Call it gender-fatigue after this election full of white middle class men and their toys. You raise some good points that I will think about further. One issue though is saying feminists think the proposals tip the balance ‘in favour of men’. I believe and hope most men and women are on the same side in this issue. when feminists talk about the imbalance in court they mean between men accused of rape, and women survivors of rape. Not men and women in general.

    Best wishes

  10. not_marvin — on 23rd May, 2010 at 10:41 pm  

    Yakoub

    Yakoub: Tempting as it is to blame the Tories – and if they vote for it, I will – this particular policy is a Lib Dem one (indeed, it was the 1988 Tory government that abolished defendant anonymity in rape cases)

    Is it still a rich Tory rapist scum charter now you’ve been embarrassed by the fact it’s actually a Lib Dem policy and that the Tories actually abolished anonymity?

    Anyway, as you bring it up, Tory voters are less likely to be criminals than Labour or Lib Dem voters.

    Though there may be an element of any kind of rich city boy being a testosterone fuelled swinging dick with a lack of morality; that’s not exactly representative of the 10 million who voted Tory.

    Footballers are pretty well known for date-rape incidents. Do they vote Tory? I’d be surprised if these ‘jack the lad’ type rapists have ever voted. Or know what one is.

    Plenty of (less wealthy) scum bags will vote in their own favour; such as Lib Dem or Labour who will are perceived to be softer on crime and more generous on welfare payments than the stricter Tories.

    I agree on the other point, that people don’t people have anonymity for other types of crime until proven guilty, I think is a point worth debating.

  11. Kulvinder — on 23rd May, 2010 at 11:21 pm  

    I would also give all defendants accused of serious crimes anonymity, as I don’t think rape should be a special case.

    qft

    That said its interesting to note how this misuse of statistics by one political party in power ‘created’ the impression that there was (another) threat that needed urgent targeting; but inadvertently resulted in an opportunity for a rival political party to exploit that very notion – that conviction rates are low – to carve out their own political ‘space’ only this time with the message conviction rates are low, therefore innocent men need protecting

  12. cim — on 24th May, 2010 at 8:22 am  

    That said its interesting to note how this misuse of statistics by one political party in power ‘created’ the impression that there was (another) threat that needed urgent targeting;

    The idea that women in general lie about rape considerably predates the current debate about attrition and conviction rates (and indeed, is commonplace in countries that haven’t had that particular debate).

    The original introduction of anonymity for defendants in this country in 1976 predated most of the conviction/attrition debate (because at the time, around a third of reports resulted in a conviction – of course, the number of reports was much lower, and I don’t think that was because the 70s had fewer rapists)

    It’s also worth pointing out that the 94% attrition rate is a national one with great regional variability. In 2007, the latest available figures, Dorset had an attrition rate of only 1.6% of reports resulting in conviction, whereas Cleveland, which has put a lot of effort into strategy and training, had a much lower attrition rate and 18.1% of reports – over ten times as many – resulted in conviction.

    I think that is clear evidence that the justice system as a whole is not doing enough to help rape victims by bringing their attackers to justice, and that things could and should be done about it – as Baroness Stern said, following the existing recommendations properly would be a good start.

  13. Rumbold — on 24th May, 2010 at 9:33 am  

    Cim:

    I never realised that there were such regional variations within forces. Thanks for flagging that up. It is good that forces like Cleveland are succeeding (and who would ever have thought that given the numbers of their officials involved in child abuse all those years ago), and hopefully some of their procedures will provide an example for others;

    Quiet Riot Girl:

    One issue though is saying feminists think the proposals tip the balance ‘in favour of men’. I believe and hope most men and women are on the same side in this issue. when feminists talk about the imbalance in court they mean between men accused of rape, and women survivors of rape. Not men and women in general.

    Agreed. My words were poorly chosen, and thank you for correcting them.

  14. Tom — on 24th May, 2010 at 10:36 pm  

    Rumbold,

    I think your words on Clevaland were also poorly chosen. As I recall the scandal was about doctors and social workers being too keen to remove children from their families based on contested evidence, not being involved in child abuse themselves.

  15. Tom — on 25th May, 2010 at 8:23 am  

    Tom:

    The social workers were far too keen- some people would consider that a form of child abuse. Over 100 children were snatched over a few weeks anmd their parents accused of abuse.

  16. Rumbold — on 25th May, 2010 at 9:24 am  

    That should be Rumbold above. Not sure how that happened.

  17. earwicga — on 25th May, 2010 at 10:26 am  
  18. Tom (iow) — on 25th May, 2010 at 11:01 am  

    I do think rape is different from most other crimes, though there are others that share the same characteristics, to which anonimity should be extended as well.

    A serious crime like murder cannot be alleged without a body or some kind of factual evidence.

    A more trivial crime such as common assault can often be alleged without much proof, but does not seriously damage someone’s reputation for life or put them in physical danger.

    People accused of rape, child abuse, or any other very serious crime that by its nature relies on word of mouth evidence, should be protected until the offence is proved.

    I don’t know how many accusations are false, and I don’t think anybody knows, which is a further problem when asserting that conviction rates are either too low or not too low. We don’t really know. But it seems pointless to deny that the nature of rape (and some other offences) make them different from other types serious crime.

  19. earwicga — on 25th May, 2010 at 11:59 am  

    People accused of rape, child abuse, or any other very serious crime that by its nature relies on word of mouth evidence…

    What the hell does this mean? You think all evidence in rape trials is ‘word of mouth’. WTF?!?

    I don’t know how many accusations are false, and I don’t think anybody knows, which is a further problem when asserting that conviction rates are either too low or not too low. We don’t really know.

    False accusations of rape are lower than the numbers that commit insurance fraud. Perhaps, Tom, you should go and use google before telling us you don’t know something but adding a pointless comment anyway.

  20. earwicga — on 25th May, 2010 at 12:03 pm  

    Anybody fixated on ‘false’ rape accusations might be interested in this post about a woman who was jailed for just this: http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2010/03/rape_victim_jai_1

    Rumbold – do you read Yes Means Yes? http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/ There has been quite a bit of analysis of Lisak on there.

  21. Tom (iow) — on 25th May, 2010 at 12:24 pm  

    What I meant was the difference between consent or not can come down to teh word of the victim, not whether sex has taken place. Rape is unusual in that respect.

  22. earwicga — on 25th May, 2010 at 12:30 pm  

    Yes it can Tom – but not exclusively. Apologies for the hostile tone in my last comment to you.

  23. Quiet Riot Girl — on 25th May, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

    My post on rape and ‘rape culture’ touches on the anonymity issue:

    http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/the-opposite-of-rape/

    After some reflection I have decided the proposals are really pretty terrible. The main reason is they have appeared so soon into the new government. There has been no proposal for in-depth research into the issue, no consultation with women’s and survivors’ support groups, no education campaign suggested about issues of gender violence. Just this crappy new law idea which is obviously a bargaining tool with the Liberals.

    I am up for discussing anonymity in trials, but only as part of a much bigger discussion and funded campaigns against gender violence and sexual violence.

  24. earwicga — on 25th May, 2010 at 5:08 pm  

    Please don’t miss this by Laurie Penny – http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/25/shiny-happy-rape-culture/

    Quiet Riot Girl – you show no understanding of the term ‘rape culture’ so it is fair that you are criticised for rejecting it as a concept and as a reality.

  25. Rumbold — on 25th May, 2010 at 9:20 pm  

    Earwiga:

    Do you think that, on balance, justice benefits from naming the accused? If, why? I have always thought the opposite, but then I seem to be in a minority.

  26. damon — on 25th May, 2010 at 9:41 pm  

    I’d never heard of the term ”rape culture” before, but thanks to PP and a bit of googling, I do now.
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html

    And I found reading Quiet Riot Girl’s website on the subject most informative and interesting too.

  27. earwicga — on 25th May, 2010 at 10:25 pm  

    Rumbold, yes I do. I am gathering my thoughts as to why and was thinking of responding to you with a post here and now I may well take your question as a title (exciting, huh?).

    This exchange you may find interesting: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2003/sep/06/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation

    Damon – Interesting that you hadn’t heard of the term before as it provides an effective framework within which to understand rape. I found Quiet Riot Girl’s post one of the most insulting things I have read on this subject.

  28. Rumbold — on 26th May, 2010 at 8:26 am  

    I look forward to it Earwiga.

  29. Kismet Hardy — on 26th May, 2010 at 9:24 am  

    As someone who doesn’t seem to have any female friends who HAVEN’T been raped in some horrible way or another (I have myself been violated, but it was by a woman so it’s crass to include it in the example, but I’m an attention-seeker), the assertion by Quiet Riot Girl that you can’t call a person ‘who rapes’ a ‘rapist’ is balls. Let’s NOT call the guy that stole my wallet at knifepoint a mugger, or the strange boy who sticks his penis in my ear while I lay on his sofa a pervert. Silly silly silly

  30. damon — on 26th May, 2010 at 11:40 am  

    From that link I did above:

    A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.

    In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.

    This is not a culture that I recognise.
    Maybe it’s talking about the likes of how these so called lad’s mags contribute to it ….. but even that scandal about what Danny Dyer was suppoed to have said in his column was probably not fair on him.
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-gb%3AIE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7GZAZ_en&q=danny+dyer+zoo+cut+face&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    (I’m guessing and giving him the benifit of the doubt.)

  31. Quiet Riot Girl — on 26th May, 2010 at 7:52 pm  

    Thanks for your comments earwicga. I reposted my blogpost here as it references anonymity in rape cases. I am happy to discuss feminists’ disagreements on rape culture. I am doing so on my own blog with some very good comments and interesting perspectives. I would be interested to hear your views there or via email if you prefer. My email address is quietriotgirltwitter[at]gmail.com I don’t want to detract from this discussion which is focussed on anonymity in rape trials. Best wishes.

  32. persephone — on 27th May, 2010 at 12:13 am  

    The discussion on rape culture is interesting but is delimiting.

    Its too narrow because it is a symptom of the larger driver of power – at the root of rape is not sex but exerting power over another.

    And exerting power/control is not solely through forced means such as rape. Other subtler forms of less violent coercion can exist such as moral persuasion (eg religion), group dynamics and social influence – ‘tradition’. These are wider in influence and not stigmatised by the word rape which makes them just as dangerous.

    Relating this to the story at hand – perhaps protecting the anonymity of alleged rapists is really a way of regaining that lost control, domination, group behaviour and tradition of asserting men over women.

  33. damon — on 27th May, 2010 at 12:35 am  

    I was with you till that last sentence persephone

  34. persephone — on 27th May, 2010 at 10:44 pm  

    Damon,

    I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I say.

    And aside from it being called rape culture the underlying & prevalent mindset behind it is age old and is why I cannot fathom your saying at #30 that it is not something you recognise.

  35. earwicga — on 27th May, 2010 at 11:48 pm  

    Rumbold – I changed my mind, and will not be writing a post. I am just as angry as Laurie Penny is about this proposal. There is no justification for it, and no study or report which has proposed it as an essential way to improve the way rape is dealt with in our legal system. I totally agree with persephone at 32 who states:

    perhaps protecting the anonymity of alleged rapists is really a way of regaining that lost control, domination, group behaviour and tradition of asserting men over women.

    I have no idea if the tories have offered up this ridiculous idea as a sop to the Lib Dems because they know it will be deeply offensive and (I hope) unlikely to be carried through.

  36. douglas clark — on 28th May, 2010 at 2:52 am  

    earwiga,

    Sorry, are you not innocent until proven guilty? Frankly, even if you are accused, y’know, accused, of murder, then it seems to me that you have a right to have your name protected until you are found guilty.

    That seems to me to be the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Something that we fail to recognise nowadays. The court of public opinion has already bust the idea of privacy.

    I’d like you to explain to me why folk accused of rape should be treated as exclusively lacking protection.

    It seems to me that that principle of anonymity, in all cases, has become a busted flush, mainly through newspapers sticking up two fingers to the right of the accused to anaonymity, pending judgement.

    It seems to me that the whole idea of innocent until proven guilty has gone out the window. Including anonymity, which should and ought to only be broken on the basis of a guilty verdict.

    Not before.

    Seems to me….

  37. earwicga — on 28th May, 2010 at 9:21 am  

    Douglas – is there a proposal to change the presumption of innocence? I must have missed the part of the proposal which declares that we are opting out of article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when prosecuting those accsed of rape.

    I’d like you to explain to me ‘why folk accused of rape’ are ‘exclusively lacking protection’.

  38. damon — on 28th May, 2010 at 9:34 am  

    persephone, on not recognising that culture, maybe I just don’t go out enough to nightclubs and bars where I might see such things.

    perhaps protecting the anonymity of alleged rapists is really a way of regaining that lost control, domination, group behaviour and tradition of asserting men over women.

    The reason I have a problem with that sentence is that it seems like such a large conspiracy.

    Douglas Clark, try this.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006D988.htm

  39. cim — on 28th May, 2010 at 9:52 am  

    Damon

    on not recognising that culture, maybe I just don’t go out enough to nightclubs and bars where I might see such things.

    If you think those are the only places rape culture might be found, then you’ve misunderstood at least part of the definition. One of the big problems with it is that it’s so pervasive and spread through so many aspects of society, which makes it so normalised that many people don’t notice it until it’s pointed out.

  40. earwicga — on 28th May, 2010 at 10:25 am  
  41. damon — on 28th May, 2010 at 11:41 am  

    Done that Earwicga. I also had a look at the List Of Privilege Lists that was a link on it.

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2006/09/26/a-list-of-privilege-lists/

    Not sure about all of that. There is something about that list which reminds me of the people on a lefty/liberal forum I got into a row with last year, and I ended up telling them they reminded me of some of the stereotypes that this website ‘Stuff white people like’ takes the mick out of.

    http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/full-list-of-stuff-white-people-like/

  42. Sarah AB — on 28th May, 2010 at 1:45 pm  

    I liked your list Earwicga – didn’t agree with all of it, but it was introduced in a fairly nuanced way and some of the items struck a chord.

  43. earwicga — on 28th May, 2010 at 1:59 pm  

    SarahAB – it is a clumsy concept to use on it’s own tbh, but when put together with other disections of power structures & inequality and intersectionality it is incredibly useful. And it is always amusing to present it to men and see them balk ;)

  44. Quiet Riot Girl — on 28th May, 2010 at 10:32 pm  

    It is a bit off topic, but the stuff white people like website is hilarious, damon is right.

    The problem in this issue is yes, overall ‘men’ have privilege in discussions about rape. But I have found that in feminist discussions of rape, between feminist women mainly, some positions also seem to have a ‘privilege’ in our current climate. So maybe we should not worry too much about who has privilege in discourse and just try and listen to each other, especially on a blog like this, which is so open to political debate and which challenges hegemonic positions to use a wanky phrase. XX

  45. KJB — on 28th May, 2010 at 11:20 pm  

    There is something about that list which reminds me of the people on a lefty/liberal forum I got into a row with last year, and I ended up telling them they reminded me of some of the stereotypes that this website ‘Stuff white people like’ takes the mick out of

    Dear dear Damon, you do seem to find yourself in that position a lot, don’t you? You’ve mentioned similar things before. One might almost think you’re more interested in positioning yourself as a voice of dissent than actually listening to or caring about what ‘lefty/liberal’ people think!

    The reason I have a problem with that sentence is that it seems like such a large conspiracy.

    Well, that’s original! Not like we’ve never heard THAT before…

    QRG:

    So maybe we should not worry too much about who has privilege in discourse and just try and listen to each other, especially on a blog like this, which is so open to political debate and which challenges hegemonic positions to use a wanky phrase

    Spot the contradiction, anyone?

  46. damon — on 29th May, 2010 at 12:36 am  

    Maybe it’s this format KJB, where it takes two days to clear up one small point that would be sorted out in five minutes talking to someone.

    First I don’t use ”lefty/liberal” in any negative way at all. I like to think of myself as one too.

    If I have a voice of dissent it is only to say there are various strands of progressive thought and just because someone champions one set of ideas doesn’t make disagreeing with that view ”denial”.

    I’m not a supporter of giving anonymity to men in rape cases, and I was not trying to downplay sexism and misogyny in society.
    But was questioning this idea put by persephone and endorsed by earwicga:

    perhaps protecting the anonymity of alleged rapists is really a way of regaining that lost control, domination, group behaviour and tradition of asserting men over women.

    Am I not allowed to wonder about a statement like that?
    And to think who might be thinking that in this push to change the law?

    That’s why I said it sounds like a conspiracy theory.

    I said a bit more on this earlier tonight @ post 33 in the ”Rape myths debated in schools” thread.

    Not quite sure why your being so negative KJB – I’m only questioning some very firm assertions, which not wholeheartedly supported by all feminists.

  47. Sarah AB — on 29th May, 2010 at 8:38 am  

    Damon – I sympathise with your point about that sentence, and also think that the whole issue is complicated and that there are valid reasons to support the proposed change – though I’m personally undecided.

    I believe Germaine Greer once suggested, like the Spiked article, that women should not have anonymity because treating them in a special way amounted to fetishising their sexuality and thus propped up a patriarchal mindset.

    But it is perhaps relevant that giving the male defendant anonymity is also a BNP policy, at least I’m pretty sure it is, and is there explicitly presented as part of an anti-feminist agenda.

  48. Sarah AB — on 29th May, 2010 at 8:38 am  

    Damon – I sympathise with your point about that sentence, and also think that the whole issue is complicated and that there are valid reasons to support the proposed change – though I’m personally undecided.

    I believe Germaine Greer once suggested, like the Spiked article, that women should not have anonymity because treating them in a special way amounted to fetishising their sexuality and thus propped up a patriarchal mindset.

    But it is perhaps relevant that giving the male defendant anonymity is also a BNP policy, at least I’m pretty sure it is, and is there explicitly presented as part of an anti-feminist agenda.

  49. Shamit — on 29th May, 2010 at 12:11 pm  

    Rape is a heinous crime and there is no excuse for it.

    99.999999999999% woman who claim they have been raped are telling the truth and that .000000001% is an anomaly and in those cases the defendant usually gets off due to lack of evidence. Big example: Kobe Bryant case in the US.

    But let us not even for a moment think in rape cases there is a level playing field. The accuser faces scrutiny far beyond the particular case and is often perversely blamed for what has happened. It takes a lot of courage

    Contrary to feminist belief no self respecting man likes or condones the concept of rape – and in this thread somehow this has been made into a male vs female argument. But those are probably not true.

    Like the dowry deaths, or the “dishnourable killing” incidents – in most cases there is tacit or active participation by women. Just like in many rape cases those who defend the accuser loudest are usually women as well. So lets not try this in a male vs female issue please.

    Should the accuser be named – yes!

    Should that be blasted across the media – no.

    But should the police try to find other potential victims of a similar crime committed by the same person and use every information available to do so – hell yes.

    One might ask why not the media – because the tabloid nature of our entire media goes way beyond reporting facts but starts assuming and jeopardises a legal case. Irrespective of what we think of terrorists or rapists or those who have been accused of those heinous crimes have a right to a fair trial.

    I think anyone who claims to be a liberal or a”lefty” would agree. By the way, I think those definitions of liberal and/or lefty are past its sale by date. And in the real world it has little value just like in real politics.

  50. Quiet Riot Girl — on 29th May, 2010 at 12:34 pm  

    KJB You got me. I didnt express myself very clearly. I am not trying to score points. I am just keen to keep this debate as open as possible,in this space where debate seems very welcomed and lots of views are being heard. Privilege is dependent on context. I am privileged as an educated white woman. As a feminist who challenges dominant feminist views I am not privileged. Depends where I am and who I am talking with.

    Sarah AB:
    ‘I believe Germaine Greer once suggested, like the Spiked article, that women should not have anonymity because treating them in a special way amounted to fetishising their sexuality and thus propped up a patriarchal mindset.’

    That is very interesting. Though I don’t know if women who go through the ordeal of a rape trial would agree with Ms Greer. But it is good to look at an issue from all angles.

    Thanks Pickled Politics for continuing to moderate this discussion!

  51. Sarah AB — on 29th May, 2010 at 12:35 pm  

    Shamit – I don’t this is quite fair! “Contrary to feminist belief no self respecting man likes or condones the concept of rape”. At least – you have to be using a very narrow definition of feminist to conclude that.

  52. Shamit — on 29th May, 2010 at 12:46 pm  

    Sarah –

    “At least – you have to be using a very narrow definition of feminist to conclude that”

    You are correct – i am talking about the ultra super feminists who believe each and every man is out there to subjugate women.

    And it was not meant towards anyone on this thread.

  53. earwicga — on 7th June, 2010 at 11:44 pm  

    The plans to give anonymity to rape defendants are taking a bit of a battering. Good! I like how Cameron toned the plans down a lot and Clegg was given the task of spinning the back down. What I would like to know is who exactly put this shit down in the coalition agreement knowing full well how offensive it is.

    In comments that will delight campaigners who have protested that the anonymity offer will hamper justice and do little to help men unfairly accused, Clegg said the government would be prepared to “alter and change” the proposal after listening to experts.

    Pressed on the policy in a Commons Queen’s speech debate this afternoon, Clegg said: “Whilst the government has put this idea forward, we do want to listen to everybody who has a stake and expertise and insight into this.

    “And if the idea that we have put forward does not withstand sincere scrutiny, we will of course be prepared to alter and change the proposal we have made.”

    David Cameron first signalled a watering down of the proposals last week when he told MPs that the anonymity might only be granted up to the point the defendant is charged.

    At his first prime minister’s questions, Cameron said that, when he was a member of the Commons home affairs select committee, “we came to the conclusion that there was a case for saying that between arrest and charge there was a case for anonymity”.

    The coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats said “we will extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants”, which had been interpreted as applying to the trial of an alleged offender.

    Cameron agreed with Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader, who opposes the proposals, that publicity around a case “can help bring other people who have been raped come forward”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jun/07/nick-clegg-rape-anonymity-back-down

  54. persephone — on 9th June, 2010 at 1:57 am  

    “ every man is out there to subjugate women.”

    This is a misapprehension. Its not about all men being seen as rapists.

    1.Its about the wider supporting culture that supports the rapists. Very often the rapists that society may not see as fitting the norm of a ‘real’ rapist are unreported because women know that this supporting society will not see him as a rapist.

    By this I mean there are two types of rapists:
    a)Those who rape a stranger and use force – these are the ones condemned by society & therefore more likely to be convicted as they fit the ‘real’ rape

    b) Rapists who rape women they know without force and where the victim is intoxicated – are likely to be recidivist rapists and repeatedly offend because of the supporting (rape) culture. Research shows that acquaintance rapes appear to be the greater in number – due to less risk to the rapist of social vilification or legal conviction.

    What I would say is that women are not asking for society to believe that all men are rapists but more not to join or sustain (perhaps unintentionally) that wider supporting culture.

    2.The other aspect that creates the perception that some view men generally as potential rapists is due to acquaintance rapes.

    These rapists are the guys that women feel comfortable enough to be drunk with/accept a lift home from/accept an invitation to their flat.

    These rapists may not be a large % of society but to their targets they are a danger that is not easily identified. It’s that element that makes it pervasive.

    Its not down to a male vs female thing at all but rather how do you filter the good guys from the bad.

    And if a woman refuses that drink, invitation to visit she is seen as judging all men as rapists. Yet if she accepts one two many drinks and accepts a lift/ invitation home but has wrongly trusted that person she is judged as consenting and not in a ‘real’ rape….

    ——————————————————-

    “ Contrary to feminist belief no self respecting man likes or condones the concept of rape “

    Unfortunately even the acquaintance rapists see themselves in this way:

    “But he says he never forced anyone to have sex, and says the four women with whom he admits to having sex were willing participants. His childhood friend testifying he’d raped her was “a big shock,”

    and “Pretty much all of them said they were too drunk to remember the details of that night, but the only details they could remember were the details that were incriminating against me,” he observed. All of the 4 victims were his friends.

    Quoting a researcher on rape: “The recidivist rapist’s strongest ally is the false belief that, if he is ever accused of raping an acquaintance, it must have been a miscommunication”…

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