Tag Archives: sexual violence

Lapdancing, Exploitation and Employment Law

Earlier this week, the Guardian interviewed a former lapdancer who recently published a book of tales from the stripping world. What she found was alarming, with a culture of women masturbating customers and ignoring no-touch policies to pay house fees, while managers and security turned a blind eye to gropes, insults and threats.  In an industry where verbal abuse and unwanted touching are rife, one sex-worker describes the attitudes of men who emerged from lapdancing clubs, fully bought into the objectification that is encouraged, demanding group sex and desiring to show off to their friends.  A former lapdancer herself,  Danns talks about not only the commodification the industry engenders, but also the racism that is tolerated and the female submission demanded.  She reflects heavily on her own experiences and those that she interviewed, documenting the psychological damage and the drink and drugs that dancers took to enable them to continue to work.

Continue reading

Who gets convicted if a rape is reported?

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.

Continue reading

The Problem with Occupy

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.

Continue reading

Sexual Violence and the Justice System

In May 2011, Ken Clarke caused outrage by remarks made in a media interview. When questioned about the tariffs received for rape convictions, he asserted

“A serious rape, with violence and an unwilling woman, the tariff is much longer … Date rape can be as serious as the worst rapes, but date rapes … vary extraordinarily one from another and in the end the judge has to decide on the circumstances.”

Implying that date rape isn’t serious, doesn’t involve violence or an “unwilling woman” is shocking coming from the Justice Secretary.

Continue reading

On Victims and Sluts

Reclaim the Night started in the UK as a response to the “Yorkshire Ripper” murders, but took off later particularly in the US in response to exposure of the high incidences of rapes on US campuses. Linked with campaigns for “blue light” emergency phones in dark areas of campus and increased security, these events typically saw women marching together along a set route with a rally at the end. Controversy has flared up amongst whether these marches should be women only, what the position of transwomen is within a defined safe space and also – particularly in the US – controversy over survivors tales which some detractors accuse of being defamitory.

Continue reading

Socialism, Feminism & Prostitution

Prostitution is currently a live issue in the Scottish Parliament with Margo McDonald an independent MSP proposing a bill which would legalise prostitution within recognised “Tolerance Zones”. These zones would be established by the local authority following notice and consultation with the police local health board, property owners in the area residents groups and the community council for the area. These would be in place for up to three years and designate the times that it would operate and a code of conduct for anyone using the zone. Setting up any such area would effectively legalise prostitution within its geographical and temporal boundaries.

Continue reading