No means no
This summer we were treated to a female judge taking women to task for drinking too much and then crying rape. Her view is that rape conviction rates will never improve until there is less drunkenness.
Strange that a woman in her position has such black and white views, although her age might be a factor given that she presented them to mark her retirement. Surely rape is rape, no matter the circumstances? Yes, each one might be different but the end result is the same.
It brought to mind a tale I was told recently by a friend. As a fairly naive young woman in her twenties, she travelled round the US on her own. It was nothing out of the ordinary, and though she had plenty of adventures to recount escaped unscathed until she reached Seattle.
There, partly because of her ignorance of local mores, she was raped. She had befriended a young man who took her around town but who, when he took her home, refused to leave. He told her afterwards that this was because she was staying in a white neighbourhood and if he had he would have been picked up by the police.
She didn’t make it easy for him, haranguing him throughout and asking what his mother would have made of his actions. He ended up in tears.
So, lessons on both sides. She admitted she was never that young and innocent again, and he insisted that, in future, no would always mean no.
Rape is a topic that is never out of the headlines for long, most recently because of the relatively young age of some of those accused. And more often than not, drink doesn’t even come into the equation. Still, if the Seattle incident had happened in Oxford, where the judge hails from, and the guy had been reported, chances are that he’d have got off. It has a rape conviction rate well below the average. Let’s hope with her departure that the rate improves.