Turning rape trials into kangaroo courts

An excellent new article by Luke Gittos, Law Editor, Spiked.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • This is linked to Ally Fogg’s welcome Guardian piece. The complete silence on male victims of sexual assault by women ( a crime but one rarely prosecuted due to the lack of will to do so) reflects , as he evidences, a general social expectation that males are always “up for it”. This same idea is at the root of the assumption that penetrative sex must be an act by a horny male on an at most acquiescent female. The legal offence itself was changed from that the public understands, a forcible assault, to sex without consent. This change was of course to increase numbers. As Luke Gittos sets out this pursuit of numbers has traduced due process and the defendants legal presumption of innocence until proven to be innocent. While the criminal justice system cannot do much about public perceptions of guilt it should not fall to the same level. As with the cases of University “trials” in the US increasingly males are not accorded simple legal rights. Not so much a case of needing “men’s” rights but simply to have the rights a citizen is promised by the Law.

  • what started as a nice gesture by men, treating women with utmost respect and privilege,like gentlemen, (just for being women) has turned into treating men with no respect,as sumbags and criminals, (just for being men) Logic would have it that both genders need to be treated without privilege and without disrespect. And that means parting ways with gentlemanly delusion,which has caused the present day situation in the first place.

  • I left this comment on the Spiked site…

    I am entirely sympathetic to the tenor of this article. However, it is unfortunately the case that the unreasonable of burden of proof which the DPP suggests to be required is enshrined in law. The offence of rape is created by section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 thus: (1) A person (A) commits an offence if (a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, (b) B does not consent to the penetration, and (c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents. (2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents. This latter clause shifts the burden of proof to the man (and it is a man because rape is here defined, in English law, as an offence committed with a penis).

    The UK Crown Prosecution Service has offered advice regarding the interpretation of this issue (http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/rape_and_sexual_offences/consent/) including, “The Act imposes an evidential burden on the defendant to adduce sufficient evidence that the complainant consented.” Taken literally, as I suppose one must in matters of law, this implies that every man is a multiple rapist for as many times as he has had sex. I confess that I can offer no evidence that my past sexual partners have consented. I can honestly say that I truly believed they consented – indeed, I insist that I was, and am, totally convinced that they did – but that does not fulfil the stated legal requirement of providing evidence. I have none. Nor does any man.

    Suppose a man was to ask a lawyer, “is having sex legally advisable?”. What answer should the lawyer give, taking into account the above issue? It seems to me that the law is such that the answer would have to be, “from the strictly legal point of view, having sex is not legally advisable for any man – even in marriage”. The point has been made in the book “Legalising Misandry: From Public Shame to Systemic Discrimination against Men” by Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young, ” If implied consent is so difficult to argue in court, why would any man have sexual relations with any woman in any circumstances without written proof of her consent? Even that would be legally irrelevant. A woman could change her mind in the few minutes or seconds between signing a consent form and engaging in sexual activity. And “no”, of course, means “no”. Perhaps unintentionally, this doctrine severely erodes the kind of trust that is necessary for healthy sexual relations. We would have said “destroys” except for the fact that most men and women, ignorant of the law, continue to copulate on the basis of trust that has no legal standing whatsoever.”

    We hear a great deal about sex education in schools, but is there any likelihood that boys will be taught this crucial fact that they really ought to know: that having sex is, for a male, a game of legal Russian roulette.

  • And of course the public perception of RAPE is not this. The word is used in common parlance to mean an assault and force not at all in the actual meaning in law. The true “rape myth” is that juries made up of ordinary folk find themselves judging details of consent rather than an obvious assault as commonly understood. As some commentators have observed unwise sex has become a crime. It is indeed a legal embodiment of ” all men are rapists” by saying penetrative sex is rape unless you can prove otherwise.

  • It is a total victory for feminism. And the only course is to make sure owners of penises realise the danger they are in.