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Guardian finally turns in its feminist membership card

27 comments

Jane Da Vall
Ex-Guardian reader

In the same breath as refusing to address the misogyny endemic on the website of the left(ish) UK newspaper, the Guardian, the editors have now capitulated to a long running campaign by men’s rights activists to censor how they report rape conviction rates.

Readers’ Editor, Chris Elliott, announced recently that, instead of using the current, and accurate, rape conviction rate of 6.5%, journalists would “use the figure of 13% as the benchmark.”

This represents the combined total of convictions for rape and other ‘sexual offences’, a less serious category of crime.

A large proportion of convictions for sexual offences carry a non-custodial sentence, whilst convicted rapists receive a seven year jail sentence on average.

The different nature of and penalty for the crimes does not appear to been considered by the Guardian.

The newspaper has repeatedly ‘corrected’ use of the 6.5% figure for rape convictions in the past after they failed to expressly state that the rate represents convictions for rape. It does not include, say, convictions for mutiny on the high seas.

It doesn’t make sense, I know.

The Comment is Free misogynists want the figure of 6.5% dropped, of course, because it is 6.5%.

They realise such a pitiful number is not cause for celebration by everyone, only today’s “breed” of Guardian reader. The staff, meanwhile, are not able to spot an agenda written in letters ten feet high.

The Readers’ Editor still doesn’t understand that the volume of complaints he receives about feminism is a product of their resident community of bitter divorcees, and not anything to do with feminism.

In choosing to use the figure of 13%, the paper is following a recommendation made in the Stern Report published last year into the parlous state of rape prosecution.

Baroness Stern was specifically concerned with encouraging more reporting of rape by victims; she did not want to put women off with a conviction rate that suggests there is little or no point to reporting the crime  and putting themselves through a pointless investigation.

Doubling the number has the benefit of simplicity, certainly, but it seems to me a less productive approach than improving the investigation, and the victim’s experience of the investigation and prosecution of the crime.

One can perhaps understand the barrister’s perspective but should a newspaper be inflating the numbers to deceive victims? And if it should, why stop at double?

Surely, 26% looks even better than 13%, and at 52%, a victim has a fighting chance of some kind of redress. I don’t know what it would be though.

The material downgrade of the penalty, what the numbers actually mean for victim and perpetrator, and the agendas of everyone present in the debate, have all been ignored by the Guardian in this thoughtless concession to their misogynist mob.

Asked to justify this decision taken without reference to women’s opinion, Elliott denied the problem existed.

But then, the Guardian (and specifically Chris Elliott) does not want female readers, that much is now clear:

“While I do regret the apparent lack of women in that particular thread there have been many good threads that have emerged from feminist issues..They (the CiF team) believe – and I agree – that this is democratic debate in action.”

There it is, the Guardian do not care that their debate on women’s rights is conducted, anonymously, by misogynists, I think it has finally turned in its feminist membership card.

  1. Really shocking of the Guardian to cave in to the MRM which has infiltrated CIF. It is also not worthy of them to engage in such sloppy use of statistics, it clouds the reality of the low rate of rape convictions, and presents a false picture.

    We need to keep highlighting the real figure of 6.5% – which is an indication of the culture of disbelief surrounding rape, and which leads to so many rape victims being let down by the CJS. This is a political issue which must be challenged, both because of the misleading use of figures, and to bring social and legal justice for all women who have been raped.

    • Not shocking actually. I believe they still have a VERY LONG WAY to go, & a great many sins to atone for but this step by the Guardian is a logical one. You must either accept the truths of the Men’s Rights Movement, or be flattened by it. Those who accept that feminism was nothing but a female supremacist movement are merely on the favored end of the bell curve.
      To a feminist, hearing that 6.5% of rapes result in convictions means that 93.5% of rapists are getting away scot free.
      To a MRA (or rational person), hearing that 6.5% of rapes end in conviction means MANY MANY rape allegations are false & many innocent men’s lives were negatively affected while false accusers are let off scott free.
      The False Rape Society proves approximately 40-60% of rape allegations are false.
      Of the 250+ people set free under the innocence project, most were wrongfully convicted of rape.
      But feminist ideology precludes such conclusions & considerations.

      • I fail to see how a False Rape Society can prove approximately 40 -60% of rape allegations are false. I completely disbelieve and refute those figures. I know personally, and have worked with, many women rape victims. Most of those never went to the police as they were frightened of not being believed, and shame, and stigma, and having their lives dragged out in front of the court. Some did report, and went through the CJS, only a few got to court. The CJS fails women and many women victims of rape are deterred from reporting and it may take a long time for them to tell anyone at all what happened to them. They are living with the psychological legacy of rape, feeling powerless, frightened to go out, frightened to answer the phone, nightmares, panic attacks. All the while their rapist is walking free.

        • Well it isn’t enough to say you refute those figures you need to actually deconstruct them & prove them false. It doesn’t matter if you disbelieve them or not. You personal opinions or what you choose to believe are irrelevant.
          In addition a paramount question must be asked. What IS rape exactly? I know what rape ISN’T. 100% consensual (or drunken) sex isn’t rape if the woman regrets it the next morning. When I think rape, I think torn clothes, violence, biting, kicking, screaming, etc… THATS rape.
          When feminists think of rape:
          “I claim that rape exists any time sexual intercourse occurs when it has not been initiated by the woman, out of her own genuine affection and desire.”-Robin Morgan
          “Politically, I call it rape whenever a woman has sex and feels violated.” — Catherine MacKinnon
          Thats absolutely ABSURD!
          It takes a real psychological nutcase to commit actual rape. Studies have concluded normal average guys can’t even “maintain one” in a violent situation. THAT is why 0.002% of the American male population are convicted rapists.
          It only takes a vindictive or selfish woman to make a false allegation of rape. Especially considering the massive amounts of incentives & encouragements women have to falsely accuse:
          *Revenge
          *Victim status/sympathy/a “badge of honour”
          *Money
          *Supporting the “sisterhood”
          *An excuse for regretted sex, irresponsible behavior, cheating…etc.
          I’d bet all or most of your so called “rape victims” were either making it up or though they were raped when in reality, they just made irresponsible & stupid choices.

          • Razlo, I gave a lot of thought before posting your comment earlier this morning and thought I’d share some of it with you. The main reason I did so was to let people see that you don’t actually want to debate, but rather you want to “bait” people as your last comment was clearly meant to to hurt and disrespect rape victims. It does not belong as part of a rational debate. I notice that no one as yet has taken the bait which I’m very pleased about. I also want to tell you that, as a result of this infantile remark which is insulting to all rape victims (be they male or female – or hadn’t you considered that men can be raped too?), I will not be posting any more of your comments on this site.

  2. Did they ever have a feminist membership card? I’ve been reading the Graun for 15 years or so and while they might be marginally better than the tabloids, they’ve always pandered to the MRAs.

    • Jane Osmond says:

      Good point.

    • Jane Da Vall says:

      Yes, it is a liberal newspaper and liberalism isn’t very well understood. That’s one reason people were shocked by what the Lib Dems look like in office. Liberalism allows everyone the freedom to live as they please, and inherent within that is the right to discriminate.

      Also. The Guardian suffers from unconsidered evenhandedness and equates feminism and men’s rights activism. That one fights for, and the other resists, equality is unimportant.

  3. vicki wharton says:

    That’s ****ing brilliant – if the figures show the shocking rate of discrimination rape victims go through in the legal process, change the figures, not the system and the people that administer it. It beggars belief – what was that Baroness thinking? It’s difficult enough to recover from rape as much as you can without then being tricked into entering a legal process where you will be socially assassinated to satisfy a quota system rather than a judicial process. Men that practise rape must be pissing themselves laughing at this state of affairs.

    • Jane Da Vall says:

      Well I understand what she is trying to do. If victims don’t report rape then they have no hope at all for justice. I also think that, as reporting increases, the stigma of rape reduces, for victims of both sexes.

      However, we must acknowledge that reporting has a cost to the victim, and they have the right to full and accurate information when deciding whether the cost is worth it. It is inexcusable to deceive them. In my view, a 6.5% clear up rate says the cost is too high, and the government better look to the police and the CPS to get their acts together before asking victims to endure more trauma for justice they likely will not receive.

      • vicki wharton says:

        Yes, I understand we need to encourage rape victims to come forward, but not by lying through doctoring figures. 97% of rape victims know their attacker. They are largely made up of family members or friends. When a rape victim accuses a male in her circle of friends or family of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, the backlash she will endure from people she regarded as on her side will more often than not, be sisemic. It is too high a price to pay for a judicial system that is simply box ticking and has absolutely no intention of investigating or upholding the law unless she is literally raped on the judges lap. Been there, done that, the IPCC is as bent as the police, social and judicial service and I have no family or friends left after coming out as a rape and domestic violence victim. If I’d been to court I would have run the risk of being locked up for making a false allogation if my word wasn’t believed, which it wouldn’t be as it is only the potential perpetrator of the crime that is innocent until proven guilty. The victim has no such rights and is the one that is actually on trial in a gender case.

        • Jane Da Vall says:

          Yes, I agree absolutely and I think your experience is repeated endlessly. To encourage women to report, regardless of how that act will reverberate through her life and community, is callous indeed.

          It is a strategy that requires no allocation in the Budget and is therefore very popular. Requiring the CPS to put in place procedures for the coherent, efficient prosecution of rape, with minimal impact on the victim, would be expensive. Not phenomenally so but too expensive clearly. Addressing the problems in the policing of rape would, I think, be phenomenally expensive.

          • Rape cases that actually make it to court have a very good conviction rate (58% or so), the issue is that many cases do not make it to court because there is insufficient evidence to get a conviction. As usual the problem with non-violent rape cases is that there is no evidence beyond his word / her word which should result in an acquittal due to presumption of innocence.

            If you want to up this conviction rate you are likely going to have to alter the way in which we handle cases or provide a lesser charge / court in a similar way murder provides for variations in premeditation and involuntary versions.

            Vicki you aren’t really at risk of being arrested or charged for making a false allegation unless your story changes during the case. I can’t think of a single case where there was a woman convicted who didn’t change her story or recant.

          • vicki wharton says:

            2ndnin – the problem is that rape victims live within a community who know and are often related to or friends with her attacker. They are then put under an enormous amount of pressure to drop their account. When my ex hit me, the male policeman who attended after a neighbour called the police automatically took my partner’s side and began verbally abusing me, his solicitor told my partner not to apply for DV councelling as it was an admission of guilt, the social services threatened me with removing my child if he hit me again whilst choosing not to interview him at all, and his father phoned me on a daily basis asking why I was tearing the family apart by not withdrawing my statement. There is so much pressure brought to bear on the victim that the truth seems to be the last thing anyone in the system seems to care about. And I was threatened by the police with being arrested and having my child taken away … so whatever you can recall 2ndnin isn’t in line with mine and most women’s experiences of the legal system,which I think goes a long way in explaining the 9 out of 10 rape victims that do NOT even report rape to such a biased, discriminatory social framework. They know, like I did, that they are the ones on trial. No one interviewed my partner from social services, no one threatened him with removing his child, none of his family or friends said a single word against his actions and the police told him that they could arrest me if he wanted them to. And all the time I had to stick to the truth relentlessly whilst everyone round me ratcheted up the threats to withdraw the truth. Without warning against and enforcing social coercion you cannot have justice and I can’t think of a single case of a woman changing her story that hadn’t been put under a vast amount of pressure and threats to do so, not least by the very forces who are supposed to be protecting her such as her family friends, the police, social services and the justice system.

          • How so you remove that social pressure though? The justice system really can’t engage with changing social pressures in a sensible way but still has to provide justice and deterrence.

            I totally agree that people come under a large amount of social pressure to conform and to let things slide but at the same time I can’t see a solution to that without letting the legal system pressure accused or accuser more.

  4. why wouldn’t you just be explicit and use 6% convicted of rape and 13% convicted but not necessarily for rape. A few words of context is all that is ever needed with any statistic!

    • vicki wharton says:

      I think it’s a cultural problem … and gradually rape is being pushed back under the carpet where it was hidden until the first wave feminists dug it out. Next it will be child abuse – the victim will go on trial and gradually children will be persuaded not to speak out, because once again that is largely a gendered problem … until we change the way we look at, discuss and treat victims of sex crimes. Interestingly, if you look at the way the media is covering the men who have been kept in slavery in a Basildon campsite, the word slavery is used repeatedly. And yet when women and children are treated in the same manner, the much less evocative phrase trafficking is used … the two tier justice system starts with the media and that’s where the battle really needs to start, at each and every turn of phrase.

      • There are some really good points on this thread, the trafficking/slavery elision in particular. Now you’ve pointed it out, the difference is shocking. In the same vein, stories about men being violent towards their wives or partners are almost never described as ‘violence against women’ or ‘domestic violence’ (except on WVoN, of course). I find myself very frustrated reading these separate stories, but barely ever seeing the simple link drawn between them that would show their partial common source as being a culture which tolerates and enables a hatred of women.

        Also, Vicki, I just wanted to say I’m so sorry for what you had to go through with your ex, but thank you for sharing your experience of how difficult it is for DV victims to get justice. I hope things are working out better for you now.

        • vicki wharton says:

          Thanks Hannah, I am working towards a better place. I choose to publish my experience because too often, women are shamed/scared of actually talking about their own personal experiences for fear of being pilloried, ignored and socially isolated. This leaves the illusion that gender violence is an academic subject, much like accountancy or similar, a dry pile of numbers that trolls can debate and dispute and knock around with no real people involved. I hope that in some small way, my voice helps others find theirs, or at least to know that they’re not alone, and that it is possible to experience this type of violence and breach of trust without having to hang your own head in shame. I was an outspoken child when it came to truth and it seems I have managed to hang on to this quality in adulthood!:-)

        • I think Hannah is highlighting a very big problem here. Many do not want a category of violence against women. They want to talk about having power or not having it. Nothing to do with men and women, just who happens to be stronger. More generally, I find that people resist the concept of structural discrimination. We desperately want the illusion that we are individuals without responsibility for more than our own little bubble. Free of unwanted influences. A simple world.

          • Jane Da Vall says:

            Vicki, I think you are absolutely right, the discussion is had largely without women and without reference to real lives. Experience and emotional responses are condemned for clouding the issues, the standard hysterical women taunt. And the media let these non-playing members of society set the parameters of debate. No, we do not accept them.

            Daniel, yes the ‘I’m not a rapist, how dare you point that finger at me’ charmer and the “more men are victims than women, it’s not a gender issue.” I know that analysis is missing something important somewhere.

            It’s like the outrage when less attention is paid to sexism suffered by men (except by 99% of the internet population, obviously), as if the power imbalances between men ,women, races, faiths etc were not fundamental to the impact that prejudice has on its target. Some people are in a position to laugh the joke off and others are not and neither state has anything to do with their sense of humour.

    • Jane Da Vall says:

      Yes, but newspapers never have enough room for much context, and anyway you are overlooking the reason most statistics exist – to make someone’s argument.

      Isn’t it an odd complaint tbat a  conviction rate for a particular crime only includes convictions for that particular crime? Well yes, what else would you expect of it?  The other rate is government spin. Like tbe misogynists, but hopefully for different reasons, they have an interest in raising the conviction rate, not just for rape but for all crime. So you find crime rates start to include convictions on lesser charges and even cautions, leading to very healthy numbers indeed. You could include any and all of these rates in context but that misses tbeir point.

      Both the 6.5% and 13% rates, in context, are useful for a victim to know. When the public thinks of a rape conviction, however, they have one specific offence in mind, don’t they? They are not thinking of a broad range of sexual offences carrying a spectrum of possible sanctions.   6.5% is the answer to their question, but a host of alternatives are available for those who don’t want it to be.

  5. Although I think I know what you were trying to say 2ndnin there really isn’t any such thing as ‘non-violent rape’. The act of rape is an act of violence – regardless of whether the victim end up with a black eye, stab wounds or no visible injuries at all.

    To my mind using the combined statistics is a little bit like talking about the conviction rate for murder and including GBH – renders the numbers meaningless unless those using them are consistently explicit about what is being measured.

    Additionally – the figure is still only 13%!!!! If anything that seems worse! It really is not as simple as saying – well it’s because it was all his word against hers and he must be innocent until proven guilty. Until we manage to separate rape from sex and see it as an act of power and domination things won’t change. Then the arguments about what a woman/girl was wearing, how she was behaving etc. are irrelevant. If a man walks around with his shirt off on a hot day and is later raped by someone he meets in a club would anyone suggest he was asking for it??

  6. Jane Osmond says:

    Hi Vicki – I am sorry that this has been your experience of domestic violence – I am appalled that it is still seen as ‘spat’ between partners. Until this attitude by the police changes – because after all they are the gatekeepers and decide whether charges are appropriate – I can see that ‘spat’ is all domestic violence will ever be seen as. This is evidenced by the recent cases where women have been stalked by their exes, to the extent where they are afraid to leave their homes, and the ex, who has been arrested is out on bail and free to kill her. I just despair.

    • vicki wharton says:

      Thanks Jane – I just don’t want other females still going through this charade in 40 years time. I don’t think that anyone saw it as a spat, they simply didn’t want to even admit to his violence. They prefered denial – or to give it the old fashioned terminology – lying to cover it up. The whole of our society stinks with lying about gender violence, its what radicalised me when I experienced it first hand and knew the authoroties were backing the liars!!

  7. Baroness Stern did not advocate using this 13% statistic in her review, rather she clarifies that the ‘conviction rate’ usually describes the percentage of all the cases brought to court that end with the defendant being convicted which in 2010 was 58%.

    The rate of 6.5% refers to describes the percentage of all the cases recorded by the police as a rape that end up with someone being convicted of rape and given that unlike other crimes, the majority of victim/survivor withdrawals are during the investigation stage, this is still an area that needs attention.

    What Baroness Stern more importantly says is this “we need to look at rape victims as people who have been harmed, whom society has a positive responsibility to help and to protect, aside from the operations of criminal law…

    …because victims of sexual violence have a right to services that will help them recover and rebuild their lives.”

    • vicki wharton says:

      I think victims of rape have a right to demand prevention rather than cure, protection rather than patching up. The media has to be made accountable for its anti female propoganda in the same way they would if they were peddling drugs or any other substance that causes harm to members of society who are law abiding and going about their lives.

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