- Category: Women's Liberation
- Published on Tuesday, 15 July 2014
- Written by Toni M
- One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.
- On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.
- Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year – over 1600 per week.
- Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year – almost 8000 a week.
Despite this epidemic, violence against women, including sexual violence, enjoys particular protection. If a woman is raped she might be criticised for what she was wearing, where she was walking, or how much she had to drink. If a woman is assaulted by her partner people might think that she deserved it because of “winding him up” or because their relationship is “volatile”. But above all, she’s not likely to be believed.
All of these myths serve to protect male perpetrators of violence against women. These myths endanger women.
And they are myths. Women who report rape have nothing to gain by going to the police – but they have plenty to lose. They’re likely to be disbelieved and disrespected by the Police and repeatedly retraumatised as they have to relive the trauma that they experienced.
Approximately 90% of rape allegations do not result in convictions. Only some 15% of them actually get to court. Even so, for every 161 prosecutions for rape, just one woman is charged with making a false allegation. Rape is the problem, not false allegations of rape.
What about innocent until proven guilty?
Innocent until proven guilty is an important principle of criminal law. In civil law though, or for example in child protection and domestic violence services, protective and preventative measures are taken all of the time. Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t mean leaving women and children to be in danger.
If a woman tells you that she’s been raped or assaulted, she’s probably telling the truth, and the priority should be ensuring the safety of her and others.