The full title includes Victims of Sexual Offences, and this is the latest offering of a pernicious document designed with the express purpose of making it easier to convict men of rape regardless of the evidence or lack thereof. One would have thought that after the conspiracy to destroy Alex Salmond the high and mighty of Scotland would have learned their lesson, or perhaps they have learned a different one.
The bill was introduced in November last year, and an easy read summary was published January 20. It can be found at this link. On June 30, Stefanie Dinwoodie of the Forensic Medical Services e-mailed interested parties asking for comments. Here are a few, like them or not. Under the heading
What is rape?
the reader is told
“Someone having sex with you when you do not want to have sex is rape. Someone having sex with you when they are aware that you are not able to tell them you do not want to have sex is rape.”
No, it isn’t, the first sentence anyway. There is a wonderful if somewhat archaic definition of rape:
“The illicit carnal knowledge of a woman effected by force, intimidation, threats, or deceit as to the nature of the act.”
That covers all bases, but a man who has sex with a woman when she doesn’t want to have sex isn’t committing rape; she may not want to have sex with him but consent anyway. This may sound like nitpicking, but you need to bear in mind that not every woman is as worldly wise or as intelligent as you. Rape crisis centres play these semantic games and at times women have been convinced by activists they were raped when they were not. The Liam Allan case falls into that category, and quite likely Harvey Weinstein for other reasons.
Regarding attempted rape, the reader is told “Someone trying to have sex with you when you do not want to is attempted rape.”
Again, this is playing with semantics. Attempted seduction or even heavy flirting might be considered attempted rape by that definition.
The big problem with this bill though is that it allows women to seek medical attention for rape, have forensic samples taken, then delay reporting to the police. The period of this delay isn’t given in this easy read, but it is up to one year. This has been brought about under pressure from the sexual grievance industry, in particular the rape crisis network. The dangers of this are or should be obvious, but here is just one example from real life.
In 2003, Jennifer Osborne went to a nightclub, left with Graham Dawes, and had sex with him at his Humberside home. Sex was all he wanted, and after he’d got it, Mr Dawes had no further use for her. So she claimed to have been raped. She told the police he had orally raped her in an alleyway, which made her vomit, then raped her vaginally before she managed to escape. After his arrest, he told the truth. The police found no trace of vomit in the alleyway, but the boys in the hazmat suits did a spectacular job, finding a fibre from one of her socks at his parents’ home. Confronted with this evidence, she confessed, and on March 1, 2004, the Hull Daily Mail reported Jennifer Osborne had received a 9 month sentence for perverting the course of justice.
Now imagine what might have happened if this woman had been allowed to delay reporting to the police for a year. What might Graham Dawes have said? He would obviously have denied raping her, but he might well have denied having consensual sex as well. Rape is often said to be he said/she said – in reality she said/he said. Now we have she said plus forensic evidence/he lied. If you were a juror in that case, who would you believe?
Situations like this are by no means unusual, there are probably thousands if not tens of thousands of men and women worldwide walking the streets after being accused of all manner of crimes only to be cleared by compelling forensic evidence including DNA and increasingly CCTV and mobile phone video. But often this evidence is transient.
Yes, women should always be encouraged to report to the police. Okay, if a drunken lout grabs her breast in a bar, she might let that go, preferably with a slap round the head or a kick where it hurts, but full on rape is a different matter entirely. If a woman reports a rape to a hospital or a specialist sexual assault referral centre, a report should automatically be made to the police. That way genuine offenders are more likely to be brought to justice while women who report falsely won’t have time to get their stories straight or for forensic evidence to be washed away by the rain.
The overwhelming majority of politicians who draught, debate and vote on this legislation have nothing but the best of intentions, but most of the women who campaign for it, don’t. Organisations like Women Against Rape and Rape Crisis Scotland don’t mind bending the truth, at times they will lie outright, and at the end of the day all they are interested in is convictions. Any man who is accused of rape by any woman at any time and under any circumstances is guilty in their eyes, regardless of the evidence or lack thereof. While we all have an interest in protecting the vulnerable, we cannot allow the rape of women to be replaced by the rape of due process.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.