Two links to the Daily Mail. The first is about a dreadful police rapist, who clearly could have been stopped many years before he was. The second about a successful police intervention into rotten abuse and rape of young girls by Asians. Northumbria police may end up paying substantial damages over Mitchell. My guess is much more of both is going on. Police in the sex abuse case had to be shown what was going on, before designing the enquiry that led to the convictions. We will be told again ‘lessons have to be learned’, but we all know what that means – if we must have speech crimes, I’d like to see that phrase made one!
The problem at the heart of all this is false complaining. Most of us should remember clown statements made about women never making false complaints and children not telling lies about ritual abuse – obvious nonsense. Part of the problem is that we are more or less no better at spotting lies than the toss of a coin. After you’ve been to a few domestics or neighbour disputes you know most of them are six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. You can do 20 calls deal with them on this supposition and not get any wrong. In all the noise made about low conviction rates for rape, the fact that the population of ‘victims’ is full of people high on booze and drugs. Yet while plenty of this group make up attacks, Mitchell clearly spotted them as a group to attack as unlikely to complain or be deemed credible.
Amongst known factors at work in all this, is that we tend to discredit victims and blame them for their plight. There are plenty of academic studies I would rely on, but find difficult to teach because of all the work needed to shift ignorance before the message can be got home. Serious and very practical people know the sexual abuse problem is much bigger than we want to believe. The perpetrators are usually sly, lying and street-wise, quick with counter-allegations and wider intimidation.
Victims find themselves with ‘nowhere to go’, because our system stereotypes. There is no easy answer in ‘believing everybody’ either. The problem is clearly that the real cases are being swept aside under the thick carpet of false complaints, threats and so on. Using this latter as the prime excuse isn’t good enough, but is what is happening.
Are there more Mitchells – Judge Roy Bean’s recent verdict on what is tolerable in police custody makes me think there must be, even if I hope not. There certainly is much more sexual abuse going on.