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I thought that while perhaps his use of language wasn't the clearest, he was basically making the most obvious point ever.

Namely, that "rape" involving an 18 year guy and a 15 year old girl who consents (although doesn't "consent" in the legal sense due to her age), is a lesser crime than where some headcase jumps out of a bush in a park and brutally beats the shit out of and then rapes a women who doesn't consent. Would anyone seriously argue otherwise?

To me that is just fucking obvious. All crimes exist on a spectrum where some are worse than others. By saying that "rape is rape" is like saying that shoplifting and bank robbery are thefts that should be treated the same.......or a man killing a burglar in his own house and the beheading of that woman in Tenerife the other week are murders that should be treated the same. Utter nonsense.

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I thought that while perhaps his use of language wasn't the clearest, he was basically making the most obvious point ever.

Namely, that "rape" involving an 18 year guy and a 15 year old girl who consents (although doesn't "consent" in the legal sense due to her age), is a lesser crime than where some headcase jumps out of a bush in a park and brutally beats the shit out of and then rapes a women who doesn't consent. Would anyone seriously argue otherwise?

To me that is just fucking obvious. All crimes exist on a spectrum where some are worse than others. By saying that "rape is rape" is like saying that shoplifting and bank robbery are thefts that should be treated the same.......or a man killing a burglar in his own house and the beheading of that woman in Tenerife the other week are murders that should be treated the same. Utter nonsense.

This is exactly what I was thinking. Everyone demanding his resignation is an idiot. I would understand it if he belittled rape or the victims of rape, but he didn't. His point of view could have been better expressed, but saying violent criminals deserve longer sentences than non violent ones which is the reaction I would expect any 'normal' person to have.

I don't think he was meaning statutory rape (from what I've read) but more blurry cases such as people who were drunk and in that case incapable of consenting or drugged. No one is doubting either was traumatic for the victim or trying to quanify the distress caused, but as soon as violence becomes an issue, that clearly deserves a longer sentence.

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Um, didn't he also say date-rape or things of that ilk aren't as serious? I mean, I like to think I don't generally buy into sensationalist media but in this case (after reading the transcript of the interview) he did seem to almost trivialise certain cases of sexual assault, did he not? Have I just gotten the wrong end of the stick?

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I don't think he was trivilising rape, i think he was saying there are differences. Date rape is terrible but would you not say there is a difference between a man spiking a drink or taking full advantage of a comatosed woman and cases where both parties have been heavily intoxicated. I could come out looking like a wannabe rapist here. I am not in favour of rape for the record.

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Um, didn't he also say date-rape or things of that ilk aren't as serious? I mean, I like to think I don't generally buy into sensationalist media but in this case (after reading the transcript of the interview) he did seem to almost trivialise certain cases of sexual assault, did he not? Have I just gotten the wrong end of the stick?

Yeah, it's much more this than anything else.

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Um, didn't he also say date-rape or things of that ilk aren't as serious? I mean, I like to think I don't generally buy into sensationalist media but in this case (after reading the transcript of the interview) he did seem to almost trivialise certain cases of sexual assault, did he not? Have I just gotten the wrong end of the stick?

This bit seems to be what you are referring to (bit in bold), I don't think that is meant to trivialise it, it's just a poor choice of language. He also said 'date rape' was about 18yo boyfriends with a 15yo girl, he referred to that incorrectly. Most people consider date rape as the drug/alcohol situation whereas he was meaning statutory rape where the woman is not of legal age for consent. With regards to sentence length, I still stand by the ideology a more 'severe' crime deserves a more severe punishment. But measuring the severity of the crime is something for the judge to decide based on the evidence based on the act and it's implications

Clarke: Date rape can be as serious as the worst rapes. But date rapes, as you are quite right to say very old experience, of being in trials, they do vary extraordinarily one from another and in the end the judge has to decide on the circumstances. But I've never met a judge who, confronted with a rapist, as you and I would use the term in conversation, would give him 12 months. That would be a crazy sentence.

The controversial point is more the idea that someone who is convicted of rape can get a 5 year sentence, then a 50% reduction for an early guilty plea then get out after half that on supervision. so effectivelyt serving 14 months ish, and getting out earlier if they have already served time in custody whilst awaiting trial/sentencing.

Personally I appreciate the effort of saving women the ordeal of going through a trial, but I agree the plans are stupid. You should never get the possibility of spending <12 months in prison for a serious crime.

From the transcript it did seem like he did not understand his own proposal, which is definitely not treating the crime severely enough when you take the context of getting out halfway through a sentence.

As for his remarks, beyond his poor phrasing and inability to defend an indefensible piece of legislation. I don't think he meant to belittle anyone. It certainly didn't seem that way to me but opinions are of course subjective

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The reporting of this story has been incredibly irresponsible from the outset. This outbreak of hysteria has made it much more difficult for politicians to discuss an important issue in the public forum and that is a terrible situation for our country and democracy to be in.

The press and 'moralists' are creating a false rape debate which seeks to paint all those who aren't in the 'a rape is a rape is a rape' camp as rapists or supporters of rape.

If Kenneth Clarke is forced to resign it will simply encourage febrile lunatics within British society (who have no interest in discussion, debate and worst of all listening) to further influence the Government.

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I cautiously agree with the above. While I'm no defender of Ken Clarke and his terminology was awful, if he was suggesting that what is effectively consensual statutory rape should not be penalised in the same way as a sexual assault, then he has a point.

However, I'm not 100% sure that's what he meant. If he was alluding to any kind of "she's asking for it" nonsense, I retract my cautious agreement entirely.

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I cautiously agree with the above. While I'm no defender of Ken Clarke and his terminology was awful, if he was suggesting that what is effectively consensual statutory rape should not be penalised in the same way as a sexual assault, then he has a point.

However, I'm not 100% sure that's what he meant. If he was alluding to any kind of "she's asking for it" nonsense, I retract my cautious agreement entirely.

Yeah I don't think anyone in their right mind thinks that consensual statutory rape is anything like raping a woman against her will or the punishment should be the same. That's not the debate though is it?

The problem lies where he said that some rapes aren't really as bad as others, which in my mind puts sexual assault on some sort of weird sliding scale. I don't quite agree with "a rape is a rape is a rape" but any form of non-consensual sex is fucking horrific, deeply traumatising and evil, so by saying some are worse than others in such a callous way, he seems to trivialise date-rape or whatever. It deems it not as serious as someone getting raped walking through a park. I think it is just as serious and should be punished accordingly.

This is just my interpretation of the whole argument, again, might have it wrong./disclaimer

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I think it's shocking that someone in his position was confused about the meaning of "date rape", but at least all of this hype is highlighting a key area - rape needs to be taken more seriously and handled properly, with clear guidelines e.g. girls who pass out at a party from drinking too much and are taken advantage of, I know one girl who was made to feel as if it was her fault, and told she must have been "asking for it" since she had been flirting with the guy during the night. As a result, it wasn't reported.

I understand his belief that by in some way "rewarding" rapists with shorter sentences if they admit to the crime, then the victim doesn't have to go through the ordeal of being branded a liar etc... But those brave enough to come forward and undergo a humiliating procedure after something so horrific, as well as dealing with the psychological effects, feel cheated of justice.

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Yeah I don't think anyone in their right mind thinks that consensual statutory rape is anything like raping a woman against her will or the punishment should be the same. That's not the debate though is it?

The problem lies where he said that some rapes aren't really as bad as others, which in my mind puts sexual assault on some sort of weird sliding scale. I don't quite agree with "a rape is a rape is a rape" but any form of non-consensual sex is fucking horrific, deeply traumatising and evil, so by saying some are worse than others in such a callous way, he seems to trivialise date-rape or whatever. It deems it not as serious as someone getting raped walking through a park. I think it is just as serious and should be punished accordingly.

This is just my interpretation of the whole argument, again, might have it wrong./disclaimer

Morally, you could argue the 'a non consensual rape is a rape' case. As you rightly pointed out, all rapes are traumatising and evil. Criminally I don't think it holds though. All crimes which go in front of a criminal court are on a sliding scale. That's why we have mandatory minimum sentencing but the actual term is at the discretion of the judge The severity of the mental and physical damage to the victim and also the threat posed to society (and of course future risk of them repeat offending) needs to be considered.

I think it's shocking that someone in his position was confused about the meaning of "date rape", but at least all of this hype is highlighting a key area - rape needs to be taken more seriously and handled properly, with clear guidelines e.g. girls who pass out at a party from drinking too much and are taken advantage of, I know one girl who was made to feel as if it was her fault, and told she must have been "asking for it" since she had been flirting with the guy during the night. As a result, it wasn't reported.

I understand his belief that by in some way "rewarding" rapists with shorter sentences if they admit to the crime, then the victim doesn't have to go through the ordeal of being branded a liar etc... But those brave enough to come forward and undergo a humiliating procedure after something so horrific, as well as dealing with the psychological effects, feel cheated of justice.

+1. Some girls undeniably act flirty and draw attention to themselves. But that can never be an excuse for raping someone. Saying 'she acted like she wanted it' is just a cowardly defence. Alcohol isn't an excuse either in my opinion. I really don't get how people think getting women drunk is acceptable. In my opinion (as someone who is being trained to take medical consent) someone who is a bit tipsy and slurring speech/unable to walk straight is already past the threshold of what I would consider fit to give consent for medical reasons, so why should this be any different sexually? In fact the repurcussions of sex can be much worse than that of a simple medical procedure. Unless incredibly drunk themselves, these people are making a conscious decision to prey on people they think are 'easy' targets and that is pretty malicious, even if the woman does 'consent'. I'm not saying it's anywhere near being as abhorrent as rape, but something is definitely wrong in our culture when we think getting people drunk is an acceptable method of gaining sexual consent.

Not subjective to your case but the whole drunk at a party thing is really a grey area and needs to be solved personally and without any reporting to the police or anything. For a start i can't imagine what it would achieve and how does anyone prove anything? But when someone is that drunk they could easily just say yes and decide the next morning that they wanted to say no because of however binned they were they weren't in their own head, and the guy being just as wasted didn't actually think he was doing anything wrong. Unless the girl is completely comatose, in which case she shouldn't be left alone or alone with anyone (in which case that is definitely rape) then no one is ever going to be able to achieve anything. I don't put it past a lot of people to claim rape when nothing of the sort happened.

Cue people thinking i'm a heartless bastard not to mention the running jokes i get in this place. Just my cynical tuppence.

If they were two 'isolated drunks' then yes I can see that, but people generally are around friends and other people. If an independent witness or several people who know one or both parties (of course that's not as simple as that as people do conspire) can verify no consent was given and both were capable of expressing and understanding what this meant, or sexual acts were forced (irrespective of inebriation, forcing yourself upon someone sexually can never be overlooked) then they should at least have the option to pursue it. It is however a massive grey area like you say though and when it is just one persons word against another and both are intoxicated, it can be impossible to know the truth

Maybe with your stalker-tastic reputation you should start a career as an undercover detective in this sort of thing. Think of yourself as a friendly peeping tom acting in the best interest of drunks everywhere.

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alot of people get too fucked to remember the events of a night out, guilt and regret ridden females too

There shouldn't be a punishment for men who take advantage of women when they're most vulnerable, then?

Calling bullshit on this one. I know it's already been said more eloquently but I'm just tired enough to want to back up what Keeno said much better than I have.

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They should come down on women who cry rape like a ton of bricks and reverse the jail sentence that would've been levied on the man to the woman. At the moment they're lucky if they get charged with perjury and in a lot of cases that doesn't stick.

I think if there was more of a deterrent to crying rape then the people who actually do get raped would be more likely to get a fair response from the courts.

I think in the case of date rape and people being taken advantage of when they're drunk the initial responsibility of making sure people are safe starts with the people in question. People really need to start being more responsible about how much they drink and what sort of situations they get themselves into. Now i'm in no way saying that people who are dated raped are responsible solely themselves but they certainly have a responsibility to look after themselves the best they can. If there was less oppertunity for men to take advantage of or date rape women then i'm sure it would happen less.

I can't imagine how much of an ordeal being raped would be both during and post-event and there should be the right level of support and quality of justice out there for victims of the crime but the police, support councillors and courts certainly can't do their jobs properly if there are people out there trying to tarnish the situation for personal gain.

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Guest Gladstone

Just throwing this out there - the law may have changed since I studied criminal law at uni, but it used to be (I'm talking about 7 years ago now) that "statutory rape" as many are speaking about in this thread was for sex with someone under the age of 12, not under the age of 16 as I think many are classifying it here. That's a different crime of having sex with a minor (not sure if that's the correct terminology, but it's something like that).

Sex with someone under 12 is statutory rape and is a strict liability offence if I recall correctly.

It may however be different in England and Wales, which is what Kenneth Clarke's comments relate to - ie. he's the Justice Minister for England and Wales. The Scottish Government deals with criminal justice in Scotland, not Kenneth Clarke.

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Guest Gladstone

It's a very thought provoking debate - we discussed it at length in said criminal law classes at uni.

Alkaline makes some very good points, but it is so difficult to prove rape has taken place, let alone prove that it hasn't taken place. Coming down on girls who cry rape (falsely) like a ton of bricks is great in theory, but there are so many rape cases that don't make it to trial because of lack of evidence and then so many accused rapists don't get convicted because of lack of evidence. It takes a fucking lot to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that (for example) a boyfriend raped his girlfriend in her bedroom when there was nobody else there, but it could very easily happen.

Now, if a conviction isn't achieved, do you come down like a ton of bricks on each accusor? There's no way you can do that because she may well be telling the truth, but there just isn't enough evidence to back up her story and secure a conviction. So, not only is the guy getting away with raping her (albeit with a somewhat tarnished reputation I'm sure), but she's also being punished for doing what all rape victims are encouraged to do - talking to people and trying to get some justice.

I think it was keeno who said further up the page at length about guys never taking advantage of drunk girls. I agree with the sentiment, but it's another massive grey area - some girls go out to get pished and get laid, the same that a lot of guys go out to get pished and get laid. Just because a girl has had a few drinks, I don't think that means she should be treated as automatically not consenting. If a girl has sex with a guy who is more drunk than she is, is that sexual assault? No - it will never ever be treated as sexual assault, yet guys do sometimes get taken advantage of. It's happened to me before when I've been steaming and have pulled a girl I would never have pulled if sober, but I just put it down to being pished. I know that's way way different to rape, but it's no different to a girl sleeping with a guy she wouldn't normally have slept with if she'd been sober. That shit goes on ALL the time - week in week out, across the country. I'm not saying it's morally right, but it happens, a lot.

I think if you started encouraging every drunk girl who had sex to accuse people of rape, you'd land a lot of people in a lot of unwarranted shit.

There is a huge difference between getting a girl drunk / spiking a drink / whatever and raping her/taking advantage of her and two drunk people having sex together. Even a less drunk guy having sex with a more drunk girl - she can easily still consent (depending on how drunk she is obviously - I'm not talking about comatose or anything like that).

The main point is - it's a fucking huge grey area, and it is extremely difficult to deal with from all sides. If you're a rape victim, it's obviously hugely traumatic in the first place, but then you have to go through the trauma of going to the police, admitting you were raped (which I'm sure is extremely difficult in itself), get them to believe you, then convince everyone else you're telling the truth, and all along the way there is a very big possibility that you won't be able to prove it. If you are being accused of rape, but are innocent, that must be terrible, absolutely terrible, and even if you're cleared, your reputation will be in tatters for years, and I doubt that sort of thing would ever leave you.

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Alkaline makes some very good points, but it is so difficult to prove rape has taken place, let alone prove that it hasn't taken place. Coming down on girls who cry rape (falsely) like a ton of bricks is great in theory, but there are so many rape cases that don't make it to trial because of lack of evidence and then so many accused rapists don't get convicted because of lack of evidence. It takes a fucking lot to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that (for example) a boyfriend raped his girlfriend in her bedroom when there was nobody else there, but it could very easily happen.

Now, if a conviction isn't achieved, do you come down like a ton of bricks on each accusor? There's no way you can do that because she may well be telling the truth, but there just isn't enough evidence to back up her story and secure a conviction. So, not only is the guy getting away with raping her (albeit with a somewhat tarnished reputation I'm sure), but she's also being punished for doing what all rape victims are encouraged to do - talking to people and trying to get some justice.

That's such a double-edged sword though. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty regardless of the crime. Every case has to be judged individually and if the people judging the case believe that a woman has cried rape falsely they should be obliged to try and convict them if they can prove it. I doubt that happens very often whereas every man who is arrested and tried for Rape has had their life ruined to one extent or another. Leaving a number of malicious women walking free after abusing the legal systems of this country, wasting tax-payers money and needlessly ruining someone (and potentially their families life).

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That's such a double-edged sword though. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty regardless of the crime. Every case has to be judged individually and if the people judging the case believe that a woman has cried rape falsely they should be obliged to try and convict them if they can prove it. I doubt that happens very often whereas every man who is arrested and tried for Rape has had their life ruined to one extent or another. Leaving a number of malicious women walking free after abusing the legal systems of this country, wasting tax-payers money and needlessly ruining someone (and potentially their families life).

If that is the case and they lie under oath and it can be disproven, surely this is perjury and will be treated accordingly?

Before court though, I have no idea. Can someone be charged for misleading a police investigation? Whether this includes making a false accusation to begin with or not I have no idea

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Guest Gladstone

Of course it's a double-edged sword - that's why it's such a problem. But, just because there isn't enough evidence to convict a criminal doesn't mean that they didn't do it. There is a third verdict the jury can come to in Scottish courts which is "not proven". I have no idea of the statistics, but I think quite a lot of rape cases land with that verdict, because quite often, you'll be in court with a "her word against his" scenario - he'll say they had sex, but it was fully consensual, she'll say she forced it on her, but nobody can every prove otherwise. It is so subjective to each and every case. And in the example I cited above between boyfriend/girlfriend, or even husband/wife, or any scenario really, the guy might have thought the girl had consented or was "up for it" - and I don't mean in a "she was asking for it, what with her short skirt" kind of way, I mean just that she had been flirting with him, kissing him, doing all sorts of other things and in the heat of the moment it got a little out of hand, but she actually didn't want to have sex.

If that guy manages to convince everyone else that she consented, she's been raped, and then in Alkaline's world of justice, she gets absolutely shat upon for crying rape.

It just doesn't work in my opinion.

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It is a very difficult area as it can so often end up being one person's word against anothers. It must be time and time again where both parties are a bit under the influence and everything happens perfectly consensually, reality hits the next day, the bloke makes it clear that he isn't actually interested in taking the relationship any further, woman gets hacked off, etc.

Alkaline's point is good for this situation, a woman crying rape after things don't work out to her liking deserves to be punished somehow but it's nigh on impossible to prove without doubt.

The only evidence that is likely to clearly show non-consensual sex is signs of physical force.

Regarding Ken Clarke's comments, however he meant them, it's one of those topics that all but the most eloquent of politicians should stay away from

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