Being the nosey kind when I got a pingback on a previous post which explored the constructs which support rape, I immediately took a shifty. At first I thought the blogger had just misunderstood the kind of assumptions that women live under compared with men, but once the comments started it became crystal clear that that she and clearly much of her readership had no idea what rape actually was.
And wow. Just wow.
Alison Saunder, head of the CPS yesterday warned that the demonisation of young women is contributing to the failure to secure more convictions of suspected rapists. In an interview with the Guardian she states that a debate needs to be opened up about the myths and stereotypes that jurors bring with them when considering cases of rape and that she believes that this may not only help prosecutions, but also prevent opportunistic offenders who think they can get away with it because some women don’t complain because they feel they might be vilified and that making a formal complaint might be worse for them in the long run.
The Free Hetherington was a wonderful place. Over the seven month occupation as it emerged as a hub for activists of all stripes to congregate and share ideas. In amongst the activism, probably due to the student influence, there was a very good if a little impromptu programme of political education. Nothing formal, although there was a popular (and continuing) Radical Reading Group, but quite often sessions would be arranged to discuss theory or ideas that had arisen.
…and it was at the Hetherington that I first saw porn.
Posted in Gender, Kyriarchy
Tagged image, Politics of Sexuality, porn, Pornography, rape, Sex industry, sexism, sexual abuse, sexual activity, sexual exploitation, sexual health
In recent years there have been a number of women caught up in the justice system, not as perpetrators of crime as witnesses or victims in a court case, but as victims of the justice system itself, and of the media which reports on it. These cases are diverse in many ways, but the thread that binds them all together is that they all concern sexual behaviour and their perceived immorality, played out across the pages of the media with intimate details of their lives splayed out across double page spreads.
Tomorrow there will be a further protest in London over the re-election of Kabila in dubious circumstances. This follows on from a week of protests including 143 arrests at a similar protest on Saturday. Protests against the elections results have occurred in a number of major cities and indeed it was chancing on one in Glasgow which piqued my interest in the country. Since coming across the demo on Saturday, I’ve been reading up on the Congo, its history, the current conflict and our complicity in it…and its horrifying. With five million deaths and half a million rapes in a country with a similar number of residents to the UK – it is the equivalent of the population of Scotland being decimated and every woman in Glasgow raped.
It is estimated that only 10-30% of rapes are reported to the police, while only 6% of those reported end in conviction. Hence as a rapist, you have only about a 1.2% chance of being convicted in any particular incidence of rape. This is really quite good odds – with a 98.8% chance of getting away scot-free, rape is practically legal. But before we denigrate the justice system entirely, there is another clear up rate which it would seem that they are much, much better at. A 2005 study showed that approximately 2.5% of rape allegations were possibly or probably false – extrapolating that to 2009 figures it would suggest that of the 41,000 or so reports filed in 2009 approximately 1025 are false allegations. In the same year 61 women were prosecuted for making a rape allegation, giving a far better clear up rate of approximately 6%. Or to put it another way, you are around 5 times more likely to be prosecuted if you make a false allegation of rape, than to be convicted if you rape someone.
Occupy Glasgow today voted at their General Assembly to move the camp from George Square to Kelvingrove park, where the council have agreed to provide them with facilities including lighting, toilets, heras fencing, CCTV, heaters and a water supply as well as transportation for all tents and materials.
At one level this is a positive move – who would want to stay in a location where a young woman was gangraped, but on the other hand, I am having increasing doubts about the whole Occupy movement. When I wrote my previous blogpost in the middle of last week, although I had considerable doubts over Occupy Glasgow, I was still supportive of the wider movement. Despite the fact that this was the third reported rape which had occurred in activist space and dreadful rape culture reaction that I had witnessed, I put this down to a lack of awareness of the need for security, the nievety and lack of experience of the average protester involved and a kneejerk defensive reaction coupled with a good bit of Scottish machismo. But as this week has progressed and more and more and more and more and more and more tales of sexual abuse and rape emerge from the Occupy movement, it is clear that this wasnt an isolated incident but is something which is affecting Occupy internationally.
Update – Open Letter from Glasgow Women’s Activist Forum
I cant honestly say that I was ever that enthused about the “Occupy Movement“. After seeing a live link up from Occupy Wall Street earlier this month, I did feel a frisson of revolutionary excitement, but it faded by the time that 15th October came round. It was genuinely amazing and inspiring to hear from an OWS activist live on video link, and when asked what we could do to support them his immediate response was to bring the Occupy movement to wherever we were. But once the initial rosy glow evaporated, I cant say it was an action which filled me with much enthusiasm.
In Glasgow there was considerable debate within the activist community in the lead up to the global day of action on 15th October. Should we be supporting the better planned Edinburgh Occupy? Should we be looking to set up our own Glasgow Occupy? Or should we be concentrating our activities elsewhere? In the end the decision was kind of made for us when people unknown to the activist community set up a facebook event which attracted considerable support. In such circumstances it would have been horribly elitist of us to stand at the edges shouting “Look, you’re doing it all wrong”, we needed to roll up our sleeves and muck in, at least to some extent.
Posted in Activism, Temporary Autonomous Zones
Tagged conspiracy theories, feminism, glasgow, Hetherington, kyriarchy, occupation, Occupy, power, rape, safer spaces, temporary autonomous zones