Thursday, January 14, 2010

You Cannot Be A Rape Victim Without Credibility

image For many, once consent is given to a sexual act it implies consent to all future sexual contact.  This frame of thought serves to create some women as specifically unrapeable.  This argument is commonly applied to sex workers, however it can at any time attach itself to any woman as a form of convenience, thus limiting a woman’s right to have total control over her physical body.  If consent is always implied then someone cannot say no. If you cannot say no, then you cannot every really say yes.

Unfortunately for a 24 year old woman from Liverpool merely entertaining the thought of group sex would be enough to remove her right to consent.

But the trial at Preston Crown Court collapsed when computer evidence was produced showing her entertaining the prospect of group sex.

Judge Robert Brown ordered the jury to return not guilty verdicts.

Prosecutor Michael Leeming told a jury the case involved allegations of rape and conspiracy to rape at a house in Great Lever, Bolton, on 19 June.

'Wholly different light'

But he formally offered no evidence after reading excerpts of MSN chatlogs of her conversations before the alleged offence.

He said: "It is right to say that there is material in the chatlogs from the complainant, who is prepared to entertain ideas of group sex with strangers, where to use her words 'her morals go out of the window'.

"This material does paint a wholly different light as far as this case is concerned.

"We take the view that it would not be appropriate to offer any evidence."

Not to put too fine a point on it, her credibility was shot to pieces

Judge Brown ordered the jury to return not guilty verdicts for rape and conspiracy to rape against five men.

Even if she had the most steamy conversation with the accused men, that does not remove her right to say no.  The judge essentially revoked her right to say no and by his decision affirmed the right of these men to attack her sexually. They could have erections like steel and she could have been buck naked but the moment she said no, that should have been the end of contact period.  Men do not have a right to female bodies no matter the contexts upon which they met.

Time after time women have been denied justice based in the idea that we are not pure enough, yet no such demands are placed upon men's sexual behaviour.  Do not comfort yourself with the knowledge that you may not be interested in group sex because patriarchy can always find a way to impugn your integrity.  We need to come together as women to end the judging of people based on sexual behaviour.  If we find this verdict acceptable because we choose to slut shame this poor women, we are rendering ourselves open to this very same attack.  You either believe that a woman has a right to say no or you don’t.