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Take Rape Seriously

Comment 15th March 2013

The current legal justice system is stacked against rape victims – to prove guilt, there must be evidence.  In the case of rape, that evidence is usually the victim's word, against the accused, and so guilt cannot be proven.  Rape is not always violent, often perpetuated by someone known to the victim, and usually not reported immediately due to shock/refusal to acknowledge what happened.  Not only must the recommendations of Baroness Stern's report be properly implemented, but we must go further and change the burden of proof.  Not to change from innocent until to proven guilty.  But the accused must be able to prove that consent existed, rather than the victim proving that consent did not.  

Why does this matter?

This idea is important because rape happens too often.  It is not even the conviction rate that is so deplorable in this country, but the extremely low prosecution rate – and even lower rate of reporting rape in the first instance at all.  Rape must be transformed within society from being a taboo subject – being a victim of rape should not be shameful.  It happens a lot.  It happens far too much.  It happens to your sister, your mother, your friend, to you.  There needs to be much more awareness that rape is not OK, that consent should not be assumed, and that perpetrators ARE brought to justice. 

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