Monday, April 10, 2006

A Cautionary tale

I was outraged this morning over my cup of tea, as it was reported on BBC News24 that more and more cautions are being given out for rapists. It seems incredible that this could happen - as I exclaimed crossly, if they've admitted they've done it, send them to court and get them convicted. Apparently it is not that simple.

The defense for this move is that many of those cautioned are under sixteen and having sex with other underage girls. However, one of the examples cited in the Guardian today involved a thirteen year old boy having sex with a much younger girl. Excuse me, but I don't think he deserved just a caution. In society today (christ, don't I sound old) it's perfectly reasonable to expect a thirteen year old boy to know that forcing young girls to have sex is not right or legal - rape is not a concept that suddenly gets picked up as soon as you hit the age of consent. From reading other blogs out there and talking to women, those people who were abused during their childhood are just as damaged by their experiences as those who suffered later, if not more so. Surely the punishment received should reflect that?

I'm also rather alarmed by some of the comments left on the bbc news website, by women who are under the opinion that lots of women cry rape when they sleep with someone and then get dumped or turned down. Similarly, the comments that issues of consent between drunken twenty-somethings shouldn't be counted as rape. As a rape survivor myself, I find this hugely offensive, but it's just another example of the myths about rape that we need to work so hard to dispel. It's rather disheartening though...

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