Are you sitting comfortably? Yes? Good. Are you relatively healthy? Yes? Good. Do you want to die this particular second? No? Good, then I’ll begin, and you can feel comfortable and happy, and I shall tell you a horror story. A story that no one wants you to hear. One that people don’t want to tell. It’s a horrible story, and you may not want to read it, I’m not going to force you to, ironically enough. It’s a story about rape.
I don’t like it, funnily enough. I truly believe that rapists should be hung. Alongside paedophiles, animal harmers, new Mini drivers, Justin Beiber, particular types of murderer and mechanics who make that air-sucky-in-noise when they give you a quote.
There’s a lot of psychological theories about rapists and why they do what they do; they have control issues, they cannot get an erection without causing pain or distress, they were abused as children, they have a neurological chemical imbalance. But I can dispel all the theories, and give you the actual reason.
Rapists delight in causing horror, distress and pain. Yes, there may be some bizarre problem that forces them to need to rape, there may be some strange mental process that tells them to do it. You know what? I don’t care. That may sound harsh, but I’m going to give you some statistics to roll around your head. Let you make up your own mind.
In the UK alone, in 2007, 85,000 women were raped or otherwise subjected to a violent sexual encounter. This equates to 230 women every day were raped or sexually attacked in the UK in one year alone. The British crime report stated that 1 in 200 women were raped in 2006, this same report showed that only 800 convictions for rape, during that same time period, actually happened, this means that only 1 in every 200 reported rapes led to a conviction. And that is just the reported ones. Of course there’s no record for the unreported rapes.
According to a study in 2009 by the NSPCC on young people aged between 13-18, 33% of girls and 16% of boys have experienced sexual violence and that as many as 250,000 teenage girls are suffering from abuse at any one time. 12% of boys and 3% of girls reported committing sexual violence against their partners.
Worryingly, a survey done by a third party research group on behalf of rape crisis centre The Havens found that almost half of UK men between the age of 18 and 25 did not consider it rape to force a woman who has changed her mind to continue sex. Almost 1 in 4 men claimed that it wasn’t rape even if a woman had said “no” at the start. A further 1 in 4 would try to have sex with someone they knew was unwilling. 5% would attempt to have sex if the woman was asleep and 6% if she were drunk. That is a terrifying set of statistics there alone. It also starts to highlight, that despite popular opinion, it’s not only women that are victims of sexual attack, men are attacked as well.
These was a case reported in the last week or so, a boy aged 13 was raped by a 14 year old boy, because he didn’t have a good enough phone to steal. The attacker declared “I’m glad it hurts, I’m going to scar you for life.” Said attacker had already been in the dock twice before for two other rapes. Inside 6 months. This crime happened last year, and it’s only now that it has made it to court. I really hope it’s not just me that thinks that’s horrifying.
A 2007 government report in the UK stated that between 75% and 95% of rape or sexual attacks are simply not reported. Generally because the victims felt it was a private, or humiliating, matter, that they feared reprisal from their attacker, that no one would believe them, or the final, worse nail in the coffin for UK justice, that nothing would be done.
A report by the Telegraph newspaper showed that the conviction rate in the UK is the lowest in Europe, being 6.5% in England and Wales, and just 2.9% in Scotland. Rather depressingly for those traditional Brits who stand against everything French, (let’s face it, they live so close, and insist on speaking a different language, just to be difficult) even France has a higher conviction rate. Standing proud at 25% in 2006. That’s still not brilliant, but it’s better than less than 7%. 20 years ago, the conviction rate for England and Wales was 19%.
However the Guardian reported that actually the conviction rate was over half, 58%, stating that the 6% rate was a cruel myth, created from misreading results. The same newspaper, only a couple of years later stated that rape was one of the most under-reported crimes, with a depressingly low conviction rate. So which report do you believe?
The other problems faced by victims isn’t just whether they’ll be believed. It’s also humiliating enough to be attacked in the first place, followed by a feeling that they may be responsible in some way. Then to get any kind of help they have to find a police station, and explain, in graphic detail, what happened, where, when and who attacked them. They have to remember the face of their attacker, they have to describe it, they have to describe everything else. They have to do this while bleeding and bruised, hurt and ashamed. Upset and horrified that something so neanderthalic could happen in a modern world. Then to top it all off, they have to be checked and prodded by doctors, who’ll be poking and tested in the exact place they’ve just had violated. And that’s just the few who get attacked by someone they have never met.
But it doesn’t end there. Rape is not something you just forget and get over. For women every time they have to have a smear test, every time a man who looks familiar walks too close, if she’s alone with a man in a lift or something, it sparks that same feelings. Fear, hatred, fight/flight, sheer terror and panic. Theu can drop over time, but it will never fully disappear. For men it can mean greater embarrassment, doctor trips and similar situations to the woman are painful and hard to take. Made harder by the thought that they may not be manly enough. It will forever be a back, or the front, of the mind of the victim.
Again, there’s the other side. Those who cry wolf. Another type of person who sickens me; the liar. Those who have read my other posts know how I feel about liars. But I truly believe that there is a special circle of hell for those who lie about being raped. It cheapens every real victims experience, it makes it harder for real victims to be taken seriously, and woe betide a wolf-cryer who does ever actually get raped.
There’s also the problem of those who believe that if a girl is wearing a short skirt or revealing dress, she’s somehow ‘asking for it’. This is rubbish. By that logic any man wearing shorts or going topless is also asking for it. This is where the ‘slut-walk’ started. A campaign to get people to realise that, as they say, “It’s a dress, not a yes.” Fair enough, if said girl has shown up naked, and is rubbing herself all over you, then I can understand the misread signs. But just because a girl is out in a short skirt, or a low cut top, it doesn’t mean she’s asking you to jump her bones.
Also, ladies, discover some class, trying it on with a guy for drinks all night, kissing him constantly and feeling him up, encouraging him to have a free-go, don’t expect him to understand that you’re just trying to raise your self-esteem. He probably won’t, and you’ll be seen as a bitch and a prick tease. Unpleasant men could read this behaviour as ‘asking for it’ or worse, know you don’t want it, but decide to ‘teach you a lesson’. Even the nicest guys can misread flashing neon signs.
But liars and scum aside, if you have been raped or sexually attacked and aren’t coping, don’t be afraid, there are places to go, people to speak to and charities who truly want to help. You can contact them any time, and they won’t force you to step forward if you don’t want to, or don’t feel comfortable. They’re there to help.
Or for those north of the border
Please don’t feel alone, and think it was your fault. It more than likely wasn’t, I’m not going to say that every single rape victim is entirely innocent, but I’m certainly not going to stand by and let it happen. Oh, and guys, unless she drags you home, sober, drops trou and calls you over with strawberries, kinky toys and suggestions, don’t expect that you’re getting any. And ladies, just because he doesn’t want to go there, doesn’t mean you have any right to keep trying. This goes for both genders, all over the world.