Brian Paddick has come out again, this time in support of rape victims – http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/mar/02/brian-paddick-rape-cases-met .
There is no doubt the investigation of rape is in a mess on all sides. We are presumably clear on outcomes – we want to reduce the offending to a minimum, see victims treated with care and dignity and offenders put out of harm’s way. The actual situation is as hopeless as wanting decent conditions of living and full employment for everyone in a genuinely democratic society.
Paddick’s puffery won’t help. Ambush Predator regularly features “rape victims” who were not victims at all but predators making malevolent false allegations. False allegations throughout our system cause many problems. It isn’t easy to tell who is telling the truth and, indeed, so many ‘professionals’ have very inflated notion of their abilities to divine this on a personal basis – all the science says they are as useless as the rest of us, with the possible exception of a few. Our ‘professionals’ have very little training to stop them stereotyping and covering up and in my experience can’t tell who is telling the truth and are as likely to elevate the claims of false complainers and character assassinate someone telling the truth as do the right thing. It is far too easy for these ‘professionals’ (who often lack any substantial education and/or experience) to make out they have a false complaint in order to evade doing the work needed.
Much we know should be done is not because it costs money. There are some superb SAFE centres for victims around the country (Lancashire and Manchester are exemplars), yet in other areas facilities are barely better than 30 years back. This is not just about providing comfort and care, but also safeguarding forensic evidence. We just can’t “afford” the right care and investigation depending on post code. This is a disgrace and not just because of the larger failure of our economic system in which we can’t afford this, that and the other while the rich bury talents in ever deep mineshafts of derivative rip-off.
It is true that some of the serial rapists should be caught earlier (and one has to suspect many are missed), but the majority of rapes are not done by strangers, and anyone running a SAFE centre will tell you the big problem for most concerned is being voluntarily pissed or doped out of their skulls. I’ve heard many competing stories I could not make end or tail out of. I’ve also seen colleagues, utterly confounded, taking the ‘wrong side’ in zealous determination.. Our courts are no better and need shaking from their complacency.
Our law on drunkenness (and otherwise pissed) have reached the point at which there is a legal fiction of mens rea to enable convictions when people commit acts whilst pissed, yet a woman is held not to be able to consent when pissed. This is monor in comparison with the problem of reliance on evidence from people with no clue what they or anyone else was doing at the time, and obvious problems with people waking up with a totally fictional account of their own actions. Been there to some extent, but the question is why any court ever tries to work out what happened from such accounts. People need protecting when they are pissed or otherwise vulnerable, but our courts show all kinds of sympathy to a claimed rape victim and yet use the drunkenness itself to convict other people who clearly could not form intent in any normal sense.
The Dutch have some better answers than we do at the moment and we should have copied these years ago. They ain’t perfect, but trying to think you can sort out a barrel of drunken people not generally the most reliable, making all kinds of claims about each other (something cops may deal with every month in one way or another) is dumb thinking – you can only do so much. Our standard courts are not the place to sort out these drunken messes. We need an intermediate solution.
Yet across the board in these areas we find men like DSK and the reciprocal exploitation of their failings and sex for rent people. The Swedes have reversed some of the standard duties of proof in these areas and maybe we should do that. If you’re daft enough to use prostitutes you should shoulder the risks and not the poor sod renting the body?
I would consider a false allegation of rape more likely to severely affect me than rape itself (other than in violence). Yet what is the prosecution rate and conviction success on false accusers and what punishments do they get? On what I’ve seen they suffer less than the poor sods they accused, and some of them I’ve known were capable of weighing this in the balance before deciding to frame someone.
One thing i would consider would be a statistical offence in which anyone ‘cautioned’ (this wouldn’t be the current kind) over engagement in the mix would be subject to summary sanction on a second and remedial incarceration on a third.
What strikes me as appalling is our “professionals” seem as likely to confuse a victim of a very serious serial offender as a pissed up doxy who ends up in a friend’s bedroom smashed out of her brains and then shouts ‘rape’. That and the fact we could have done a lot to clear this mess up 30 years ago and still haven’t. In some countries woman (lacking testes) can’t testify – maybe we should go back to that? No, not really – but a lot of what needs doing concerns evidence and presumptions. The allegations against Julian Assange are credulous in the extreme, yet courts are prepared to waste time on them. Yet we have cops prepared to dismiss the 5th victim of a serial killer.
We need straight-talking on this stuff instead of the indexed PC crap. Rape is crap and this needs to be taught, right down to the gutter or most idiot Ivy League locker room or eastern European gutter. No fucking about – violence and sexual abuse is so piss you disqualify yourself as a human being if you do it. We obviously allow some considerable numbers of people to believe other than this from statistical evidence. Efforts need to improve here – yet we also need to take care not to allow the teaching to be some kind of anti-men shit akin to the diversity training insults of the past.
The pissed up, social mess got out of hand stuff needs separating from violent and predatory behaviour, rape and otherwise. Gawps who go around saying women don’t make false allegations needs to be told they are gawps and forced to read proper accounts of stuff like ritual abuse. Police and other training needs to be ripped apart to point more at real problems like stereotyping and gossip that makes them vulnerable to discounting victims (and worse) – this means an end to all kinds of piss done at the moment. Our courts need upgrading to 21st century and stripped of the ancient rot and privilege and salary capped to allow only average earnings to be made out of them. IN the ensuing reorganisation we might get some sensible Dutch arbitration courts and we could always privatise them to get even more value for money, importing Chinese judges as we now import Polish plumbers. I digress … bored shitless by a set of problems where we have known the answers (admittedly imperfect) for 30 years and done sweet FA.