As women, when issues of rape are brought to the table, we often point the finger whole-heartedly at men. However, in a recent survey, almost a third of the women surveyed claimed that there are varying degrees of rape. The same proportion also believe that if a woman does not fight back, the assault cannot amount to rape.
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This implies that the problem could lie with women’s perception of what rape truly is, reducing the conviction rate of a crime that is evidently on the rise.
In fact, the latest figures from the UK’s Ministry of Justice, show an estimated 60,000 to 95,000 incidents of rape on average in the last three years. Only 15,670 of these were reported to police, of which 2,910 rape cases went to court. This resulted in a total of 1,070 rape prosecutions.
While the dismal conviction rate may have something to do with the UK’s judicial system, it also has something to do with the lack of knowledge among women in terms what really amounts to being raped. In the survey carried out by the Charity Rape Crisis, a quarter of the 1,000 women surveyed, incorrectly thought if someone was drunk it could not be classified as rape, while 60% thought it did not count if a woman does not say no.
What struck me the most was the fact that rape was so completely misunderstood. Rape is a subset of sexual violence, defined by the World Health Organization as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, or other act directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting.
It is easy to doubt a victim’s story especially if she was intoxicated when the assault had taken place. However, it should be noted that no woman who was drinking or drunk, is inviting rape. Instead, the fact that a person was too drunk or was under the influence of alcohol should imply that they were probably incapable of consenting to sex or making a sound decision in the first place.
The bottom line still remains that sex without consent is rape, and trying to justify a sexual encounter by claiming that the woman provided consent despite the fact that she was heavily intoxicated, is an extremely flawed argument.
Myths like this need to be dispelled not only so that rape can be reported accurately, but more so that the victim feels safe and secure enough in their decision to come forward with a possible rape charge.
What are your thoughts, can situations exist where rape isn’t rape? Can rape ever have varying degrees to constitute it actually happening?
We have a voice, lets use it.
For more information on rape myths, do check out the Rape Crisis website where accurate and clear information about what does and does not constitute rape is provided.