'Worrying' study finds some Brits don't think non-consensual sex with a long-term partner is rape

'Worrying' study finds some Brits don't think non-consensual sex with a long-term partner is rape

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A study has revealed that some people in the UK have “worrying” attitudes towards rape, the co-director of a women’s charity has said.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition’s co-director Rachel Krys joined Julia Hartley-Brewer to discuss the findings, which found that 33% of people thought it isn’t usually rape if a woman is pressured into having sex, but there is no violence.

A third of men, and 21% of women, thought that if a woman had flirted on a date, it wouldn’t be rape, and the same number of men thought a woman couldn’t change her mind after sex had started.

Some 24% of people thought sex without consent in a long-term relationship wasn’t rape, with the number being higher in the over-65 age group (35%).

Some 40% thought it was not rape to remove a condom without a partner’s consent.

Almost 4,000 people were surveyed.

 

‘These people are serving on our juries’

“They [the findings] are extremely worrying and they show a real lag in public understanding of rape. It’s well behind what our laws are,” said Ms Krys.

“These are the people who are serving on our juries, they’re making decisions about policy, and also they’re the friends and family of victims and rape who are turning to them for support, and they’re not even being believed that what happened to them is rape.”

Hartley-Brewer asked if women could be reluctant to come forward because they were concerned about the reaction they’d get.

“I think that’s exactly right,” said Ms Krys.

“We are seeing more people coming forward - we’ve seen a massive increase in reports to the police in the last year, 41,000 in the last year - , but at the same time we’re seeing a really big reduction in the number of people being charged or going to conviction.”

The number of rapes reported to the police in 2017 was 15% than the previous year.

 

'It's time to stop giving excuses to rapists'

“We have to ask, is the system doing everything it can to make sure there’s justice on all sides?” Ms Krys asked.

“I think what we’ve seen in the last year the #MeToo phenomenon, is really a sign of impatience - women are saying, ‘none of you are doing enough, not the criminal justice system or society at large, you’re not listening to the real harm we’ve experienced from rape’.

“One of the things we found was that most people were happy to accept that a stranger in a dark alley, that’s rape.

“They’re much less likely to accept the more common scenario which is, you’ll be raped by somebody you know, you’ve even been in a relationship with.”

She added that it was time to stop “excusing” rapists.

“You have to seek consent around sexual relations, and you have to keep checking in,” she said.

“When someone is protesting, or clearly not enjoying it, or too drunk to consent, that is rape.

“It’s time we stopped giving excuses to rapists, and say, ‘we expect you to understand the rules and make sure the person you’re having sex with is fully consenting to that, and if they’re not, we’re going to have a system that holds you to account.”

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