Vera Baird: ‘If she’s drunk, she can’t legally consent. Sex without consent is rape.’

Janet Bloomfield has written about 13 reasons women lie about rape, Hannah Wallen has written about 6 dangerous rape myths, and of course we mustn’t forget the 10 reasons false rape allegations are common.

Following our public call three days ago for Vera Baird QC to resign as Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria – on five different counts – we thank a supporter for sending us a photograph of a poster in Newcastle, at the bottom of which is Vera Baird’s name, and the logo of Northumbria police. The poster declares:

If she’s drunk, she can’t legally consent.
Sex without consent is rape.

If the first statement is true, then surely the following must be true, too:

If he’s drunk, he can’t legally consent.

So when a drunk man and a drunk woman have sex, is neither consenting? Or maybe they’re raping each other simultaneously? Arguably, both these absurd propositions follow from the first line on the poster.

Legally, however, even when a sober woman has sex with a drunk man it isn’t rape, because of how the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is worded – an Act passed by a Labour government, of which Vera Baird was a member. Rape perpetrators can only be men, according to the definition of rape employed in the Act, although we know from major surveys that men ‘being made to penetrate’ women – in the published guidance of the Crown Prosecution Service,  ‘a female equivalent of the offence of rape’ – is far more common than popularly believed. And, of course, men will bear financial responsibility for children conceived during their sexual abuse.

We cover the issue of sexual abuse of men by women in our general election manifesto, pp31-37. The CPS guidance on ‘a female equivalent of the offence of rape’ is on p36. Needless to say, the ‘equivalence’ doesn’t extend to equivalence of maximum custodial sentences.

Feminist thinking in the area of women’s consent to sex with men, as with so many other areas, infantilises women, robbing them of moral agency. It cynically exploits the gynocentric societal paradigm that men are ‘actors’ and women ‘acted upon’. It’s why people struggle to see men as potential victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence at the hands of women, regardless of the evidence.

There’s a vast amount of evidence on the abuse of men by women, it grows with each passing year, yet it continues to have no impact whatsoever on government policies. In relation to domestic violence, there is virtually no provision of state support for male victims, nor provision of treatment for female perpetrators. The justice system has virtually no interest in pursuing cases of women’s sexual abuses of men – nor of children, for that matter.

Alison Tieman, a Canadian men’s human rights advocate – a Honey Badger – produced an illuminating video on the theme of men being ‘actors’ and women being ‘acted upon’ – here. I met Alison during the AVfM Detroit conference on men’s issues and found her delightful, as were all the Honey Badgers. I look forward to this year’s conference, details of which will be released shortly, I understand.

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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  • So if we absolve women of responsibility for their actions if under the influence,why do we still hold men responsible? Or are feminists suggesting alcohol does not affect men and women in the same way? How can this be,in a democratic and supposedly gender – equal society?
    the lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves for this rubbish they call laws…
    But since we absolve women of sexual responsibility when under the influence of alcohol,why don’t we absolve them of all responsibility in every situation, if under the influence then,to be consistent. Either we absolve them of all responsibility in every type of situation,or none.
    It is the responsibility of every adult individual to avoid trouble. And if they can not control themselves after drinking,then they should not drink. Either they are adults responsible for their actions or else must be classified as children,not responsible for their actions. can’t have it both ways.
    The feminist double standards have acquired grotesque proportions by now, What I can not figure out is how can women not be ashamed of themselves for these double standards.

  • I did not realise the Sexual Offences Act 2003 definition of rape actually makes virtually all current sex for men illegal in the UK if he uses his penis, and this is regardless of consent. No proof of actual rape is required. Why so? Because its the man’s responsibility to prove that a woman/man consented. That’s right, not only is he the only one that has to ask for consent he has to prove beyond reasonable doubt it was given. Guilty until proved innocent. The woman/man only has to say they did not remember what happened for it to be rape under the present law. They do not need to give any evidence of rape.

    So basically all sex for a man has to be recorded by law to make sure their partner did in fact give consent, or have a female third party witness, or elaborate contracts would be required. A partner having voluntary drinks and even consenting could still be called rape under the law, but not automatically as stated by Vera Baird, the level of inebriation has to be ascertained, but this is subjective in the law, and wide open to abuse as being drunk and inebriated is not defined, and no level above which consent can legally be given is set out. Being drunk is a crunch for the alleged victim not to give evidence and imply lack of ability to give consent even through they probably did. Technically two badly drunk gay men having sex would both be rapists.

    On the flip side the definition of rape means women cannot be charged with a similar offence, do no have to obtain consent, and the level of inebriation of their partners is irrelevant. How could such a bad law be passed. Where are the feminists calling for equality? No such thing as woman on woman rapists in their book? Where is the proper definition of when someone is incapable of giving consent? This is a very serious situation. It is only ignorance that is stopping a catastrophe.