Britain’s Benighted Women MPs

Anonymity: the enemy of justice ?

Britain’s female MPs are wading through a sludge of unenlightenment. The July debate on Rape Anonymity in the House of Commons revealed the extent to which most of them are bogged down in the quagmire and factually out of their depth.

Take for example, Maria Eagle MP; from the July debate (Hansard; 8 July 2010: Column 561). She speaks of rape as an offence that “can be a serial offence” and continues with the assertion that:

      “Perpetrators of rape often do not stop at one offence; they continue their offending behaviour. . .”

It is possible to define all offences as “serial” as well as just a one-off offences – it is not exclusive to rape but as we shall see later is it is actually less true of rape than of other offences.

In addition, from the tables and graphs provided in various blog sites, such an assertion cannot be made without heavy qualifications (a variety of examples can be found at each of the following URLs; http://www.straightstatistics.org/home ;  http://motoristoppression.wordpress.com ; and  https://falseallegations.wordpress.com).

In the parliamentary debate not more than half dozen vociferous voices, including those of Caroline Flint, Yvette Cooper, Glenda Jackson and Maria Eagle set about demonising the private members Bill. [1] The latter, Maria Eagle MP, claimed for instance, that:

 “ . . .95% of rapes are not reported to the police-these are figures taken from the joint inspection of the Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).”

It is therefore a pity to learn that the HMIC never cites the source for this “fact” in their publication (or in previous publications). Appendix A (below) displays a table including publications by the HMIC and Crown Prosecution Service.

Maria Eagle’s speech in the House of Commons was one seeking to ensure that factors which might deter women from coming forward would not be eliminated. However, the rise in rape claims would undermine that claim since they are not simply maintaining a high level but are increasing year-on-year (see Fig 1).

Fig 1.

It is unfortunate that she should then switch her focus to how much more difficult it is to catch serial rapists with the inflection that one-off rapists are also difficult to catch. Firstly, she forgets the obviously, namely that around 90% of victims know who their assailant was/is, and secondly, serial rapists are, in fact,  a minority even a rarity among adult rapists.   

NB. The relevance of 1986 (arrowed) with regards rape numbers will become apparent later in the text.

The only difficulty facing the authorities is not being unable to identifying the person but having enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

Her statement that, “It has been recognised for decades that gaining convictions is hard” really takes the biscuit.

 “Gaining convictions” will remain “hard” for as long as over 55% of reported rapes are false (see Fig 2) and never reach court.

Making a rape claim is the easiest thing in the world. What is definitively hard about a rape claim is the disproving of it and shaking off the after-taste of such a slur when unfounded.

Fig 2.

Fig 2 shows the Gross number of rape claims made (Series 1) compared with the Netted down figure (Series 2) once false allegations have been removed. False allegations have always been a feature of reported rapes with numbers escalating as more women are “encouraged” to come forward.

Fig 3 (below) shows the breakdown of rapes reported to the police (2006) and why so few proceed to trial. In 80% of cases the police are satisfied that there is so little evidence that the case would not make it to trial or the judge would stop proceedings for the flimsiness of evidence. Another 6% are viewed by the CPS as having no reasonable prospect of success.

Fig 3.

The data in Fig 3 was made available in June 2010 to the women MPs who spoke in the July 2010. it was not mentioned once.

Undaunted, Maria Eagle tried in the July debate to connect the attrition figures as showing how hard it is to convict the guilty. Given Fig 3 one has to ask “Oh, really !” The conviction rate is clearly shown as 8%, i.e. approx half the 14% of cases that proceed to trail (a ratio borne out by the Stern review of rape and, proar to that the publication in Sept. 2009 of, “How the panic over rape was orchestrated” (Straight Statistics. http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/how-panic-over-rape-was-orchestrated).

 The conviction rate for rape is, in fact, higher than for all serious crimes except murder (see Fig 3). A defendant is more likely to be convicted of rape than for attempted murder or manslaughter.

Fig 4.

The question of whether this is due to the abolishing of any need for corroborative evidence in rape cases but where it is still a requirement in, say, manslaughter cases will have to wait for another day.

Meg Munn MP also majored on the “fact” that rapists were serial rapists. In an exchange of correspondence during June 2010 she wrote:-

 “In my experience of working with sex offenders, it is extremely unusual for someone to offend on only one occasion”

The sources she cited in correspondence were Wolfe (in the US, and Ray Wyre (in the UK), together with Abel et al.(1987), Weinrott & Saylor (1991), Lisak & Miller (2002). Looking at these it became apparent that they were far from convincing and some decidedly lacked credibility (e.g. remit, sample size, methodology, deductions, etc).

In the exchange it later transpired she was talking only about chid molesters and rape of children which could be shorthanded to the very different sub-category and strange world of paedophilia. Some may construe her mixing up this sub-set with the matter at hand, i.e. anonymity for rapists, to be a little less than honest.

Meg Munn, and all the other women speakers in the debate, touched on how they “knew” from data and reports that rape convictions were low and reporting of rapes and other sexual assaults was low. Leaving aside the second aspect, Fig 1 clearly demonstrates that women are not slow these days in coming forward to report a rape.

Not only is this false information but it unswerving repletion indicates a common source. And as if to counter statistics to the contrary Meg Munn believes that:

To rely on figures for conviction does not tell us anywhere near the whole story regarding sexual offences.

Her position is hard to reconcile with her next utterance, namely, and paradoxically that:

I absolutely believe in the rights of people accused of crimes. I have worked with people who have been falsely accused of child abuse and know how devastating this is. It is essential that at the evidence gathering stage that this is done thoroughly so that the chance of someone being charged falsely with rape is minimised.

The perception that rapists’ rape over and over again is not an uncommon one but is misplaced. Clearly, some rapists do repeat offend but most do not.

The compulsion to re-offend among serial rapists may be the same or different propelling force that apparently leaves paedophiles incapable of stopping themselves.

The following graphic (depicted as Fig 4) is taken from the above (Police Research Study  No 144) shows that of the 1,057 serious sexual offenders over 360 had no previous conviction for an offence – sexual or otherwise.

Caroline Flint MP, writing in The Independent claimed that, “Every 34 minutes a rape is reported to the police in the UK.”[2]

Fig 5.  (click to enlarge)

She also claimed that “tens of thousands of rapists” are “getting away with it every year – going uncaught and unpunished, denying their victims dignity and justice.”

Caroline Flint’s opening sentence begins; “Every 34 minutes a rape is reported to the police in the UK.”  If that were true, then the number of reported rapes would be over 17,000 pa (approx 2 p/h x 24 x 365 days = 17,520). Fig 1 (above) indicates we have some way to go before reaching 17,000.

Arithmetic has never been a strong suit of women advocates and this is born e out by the parroting of patently spurious claims made by women MPs. If there are tens of thousands of rapists and all of them were caught we would not have enough prison capacity to house them.

Additionally, Caroline Flint is also of the position that rapists are serial offenders and offend in “double digits” numbers.” If all or most rapists are serial rapists, as seem to be the inference, then the number of rape per year must be fast approaching one million (90,000 rapists x 10 rapes (i.e. double digits) pa = 900,000 pa).

She then offers up in support of her position the extreme case of taxi driver John Worboys (2008), as if he was typical rather than most atypical.

Ms. Flint sees granting anonymity to defendants as turning the clock back and rejecting “the steady progress over the past decade” (could she be referring to the gradual loss of a defendant’s right of cross-examination in rape cases ?)

In a parody of her words what could be more pernicious to the adminstation of good justice  than to single out rape victims but not rape defendants for anonymity for special treatment ? Doesn’t the singling out of rape victims for anonymity carry the clear inference that rape victims are less reliable, less credible ? Or could it be that the ‘80%’ figure of cases dropped by the police does that for the public and authorities ?

She is concerned that a policy of equality, i.e. of granting anonymity to defendants would somehow reinforces the myth that women who report rape are lying.

Why should she be so concerned about that aspect unless she knew there was more than a grain of truth in it ?

Throughout the debate the contributors all raised the same points and conveyed an impression of like-mindedness or either of being couched or deriving their information from only one perspective.

This apparent singing from the same hymn sheet was characterised by Meg Munn who expressed in her emails what the other women MPs were thinking but had not articualted namely: 

“. . . .. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why those charged with rape should be granted anonymity while those who charged with murder or sexual assault on a minor should not.”

Equally one could retort, “I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why those bringing charges of rape should be granted anonymity.”

Perhaps the greatest argument fro granting anonymity to rape defendants is suicide. Many have entertained the idea many more have had it flicker across their consciousness. Unfortunately some have not been able to draw back from its attraction. British rocker Mick Hucknall was almost driven to commit suicide in the late 1990s after he was falsely accused of raping a secretary.

Contemplating suicide should never be seen as an admission of guilt, rather it is the male reaction to an assault on personal dignity to which there appears no escape. Shakespeare and the world’s literature is full of such confirmations of a man’s dignity and its place as a reason for continued living.

Reportedly, Hucknall was and is furious that the media were banned from identifying his accusee as a result of British law that protects the women (for life) but not the man. He said,

“It was the only time in my life that I ever contemplated suicide. I thought, ‘I just can’t handle this, I can’t leave the house, what will people think?’

“That was the lowest point in my life.”

“Even now I think it’s disgusting that the law meant my name was brandished around the world, even though I was entirely innocent, never charged or prosecuted, and the accuser was allowed to stay secret. It was beyond belief.”

The downstream consequences not only affect men but all women too. Take Mick Hucknall post accusation life style as an example. he decided it was “a kind of perverse favour” because it was a wake-up call for how he was leading his life and the assumptions that accompanying a normal life. Thereinafter he became far more circumspect towards women.

He was forced to reconsider his priorities – and this process is happening to all men whether they have been falsely accused, or whether they know of, or have heard about, someone being falsely accused.

Women cannot be and are not regarded any longer as reliable, dependable,  a supprt through life and/or as a life-partner. instead they are increasingly seen as the very opposite; a liablilty of the most dangerous kind.

Paradoxiacally, Meg Munn writes in her June emails that she is an absolute believe in the rights of people accused of crimes.

“Having worked with people who have been falsely accused of child abuse and know how devastating this is. It is essential that at the evidence gathering stage that this is done thoroughly so that the chance of someone being charged falsely with rape is minimised.”

Rape as a ‘hot button’ topic has been with us since the mid 1980s. In 1986 Woman’s Own magazine undertook a survey into rape and 25,000 readers responded. Only 12% (or approx. 1 in 8), claimed to have been raped, but of this 12%, 76% said they had not reported it to the police.

To convert this information into concrete numbers we can say, in approximate terms, that 30,000 women out of 250,000 claimed to have been raped and that 22,800 failed to report it, ie 200 did report it to the police.

The Woman’s Own survey followed a 1983 Research Study (No. 76) undertaken by the Home Office into rape allegations. This found that 93% of sexual assaults “uncovered” in Scotland (via the BCS, British Crime Survey) were not reported to the police. The can be said to mark the beginning of the modern era of the history of rape, ie 1983.

Home Office Research Study No 85 (1985) found the number of reported sexual assaults was also very low in England & Wales (see date line and trend line in Fig 1, above).

Usefully for those wishing to highlight this problem area and make out a case for this subject, ‘hard numbers’ are absent. Again and again in the literature, and in footnotes citing research, we are asked to rely on percentages of totals we cannot even guess at.

In “Murder and Serious Sexual Assault: What criminal histories can reveal about future serious offending” (Police Research Study, No 144, 2002), 36% of the serious sexual offenders had no previous convictions (this is a general category of only the very serious of sexual offenders and so must include all rapists). (http://library.npia.police.uk/docs/hopolicers/prs144.pdf).

Much more recent data (2009) shows that this proportion has remained constant and that rapists who re-offend by raping again represent only1% of all offenders.

The next article will contain more information about this last component in a jig-saw that is habitually misrespresented.

END

 Appendix A

 Table A.  Findings on the prevalence of false allegations of rape 
 Authors Year of study Country % of false allegations
 HMCPSI [i] 2000 & 2005 UK

UK

8.3%

10%

 Ingemann-Hansen et al [ii] 1999-2004 Denmark 10.5%
 Feist et al 12 2003-2004 UK 8%
 Kelly et al 18 2000-2002 UK 8.2% or 3%#
 HMCPSI & HMIC [iii] 2000 UK 11.8%
 Jordan [iv] 1997 New Zealand 41%
 Harris & Grace 19 1996 UK 10.8%
 Manser  [v] 1990 UK 13.7%*
 Kanin  [vi] 1978-1987 USA 45%

[i] HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (2007) Without consent: A report on the joint review of the investigation and prosecution of rape offences. London: HMCPSI. www.hmcpsi.gov.uk/documents/services/reports/THM/Without_Consent_Thematic.pdf   

[ii] Ingemann-Hansen O, Brink O, Sabroe S, Sorensen V, Charles AV. Legal aspects of sexual violence – Does forensic evidence make a difference? For Sci Int 2008; 180: 98-104

[iii] HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate/HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (2002) The Report on the Joint Inspection into the Investigation and Prosecution of Cases involving Allegations of Rape: A CPSI and HMIC joint thematic inspection.

[iv] Jordan J. Beyond belief? Police, rape and women’s credibility. Criminal Justice 2002; 4(1): 29-59

[v] Manser T I. Cases of serious sexual offences – a survey. The Police Surgeon January 1991 (38): 4-27

[vi] Kanin EJ. False Rape Allegations Arch Sex Behavior 1994; 23: 81-92

Footnotes:


[1] Namely: Fiona Mactaggart (Slough, Labour), Hazel Blears (Salford and Eccles, Labour), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East, Labour), Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock and Loudoun, Labour), Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Kilburn, Labour), Caroline Flint (Don Valley, Labour), Meg Munn (Sheffield, Heeley, Labour), Russell Brown (Dumfries and Galloway, Labour),Denis MacShane (Rotherham, Labour).

[2] “Anonymity is an enemy of justice”, Caroline Flint MP. The Independent Monday, 7 June 2010 http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/caroline-flint-anonymity-is-an-enemy-of-justice-1993154.html

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2 Responses to Britain’s Benighted Women MPs

  1. Verity says:

    The feminist lobby appears to have an insidious agenda to fulfil from what I can surmise by their highly inaccurate, insular and quite frankly fantastical regurgitation of statistics which have been proven to be inaccurate, incorrect and spurrious time and time again.
    They are intransigent in accepting they are utterly wrong in many areas of the issue of ‘rape’ and child sexual abuse.
    Their tunnel vision will not allow them to accept that their ‘sisters’ are more capable of cunning, slyness, duplicity and vindictiveness.

    Females are not the ‘sweet and innocent’, vulnerable fairer sex of ye days of yore.
    Women have become emotionally and in increasing numbers, physically aggressive.
    Children are taking their cue from the females who dominate their lives and make false allegations to ‘get their own back’ on an alienated parent for a percieved slight against themselves or their main carer (ie, their mother).
    ‘Step-fathers are also an at risk group. Young people have the easy opportunity to make a false allegation (historic allegations are easy to make) to ‘get rid’ of the male they see as a threat to the attention previously lavished on the child and now transferred to the ‘new boyfriend’).

    It is unusual for a male child to make an allegation of historic sex abuse against the biological father and even more unusual to assert the ‘abuse’ was a one off incident but it occures.

    The knee-jerk, ill-conceived, ill thought out, cumbersome, ambiguious laws brought in by the previous administration has opened the floodgates for disgruntled people to make false allegations and police, Home Office and CPS policy and directives have eroded and grievously undermined the civil and legal rights and protections of all men accused of an offence of a sexual nature.
    This has come about by politicians acquiesing to the powerful feminist lobby groups in parliament in an attempt to be ‘popularist’.

    Feminist groups refuse to acknowledge publicly that this is the situation facing every man in this country.
    The laws encourage and support females and young people of either gender to make false allegations of a sexual nature.
    It is beyond the realms of belief that privately they are not well aware of the truth of the situation.
    I postulate they in fact know fine well but it is not in their political interests to accept that there os an outrageous injustice being played out under our noses on a daily basis.

    It is not in the interests of the police to investigate allegations of rape or sex abuse in an impartial, balanced or fair manner.
    Sanction detections and targets are not achieved by looking for the truth, disclosing information or evidence that points to the innocence of the accussed.

    It is not in the interests of the CPS to stop a case where the accuser is known to and has been proven to have made a false allegation and false statement to the police.
    The policy is one of ‘100% convictions in cases of a sexual nature’. (See comments made by previous Home Secretaries, in particular Jack Straw on the subject).

    We find ourselves in an appalling state of affairs when because of the ‘rape and sexual abuse mania’ gripping this country men known to be innocent by the police, CPS and the Crown stand trial for ‘crimes’ those authorities know and have the evidence to prove never ocurred and has no basis in fact or reality.

    Those in power have no interest in the fact there is a witch hunt being waged against the male population.
    There seems to be a glee in the corridors of power that the rape reporting rate has shot up expedentially and refuse to consider the clear fact that their actions in power have been the catalyst to the greater percentage of that rise and that the ‘rise’ is in fact a rise in false allegations made against innocent men.

    This is costing you and me the taxpayer an unacceptable fortune in compensation payments to those who claim victimhood where in fact no victimhood exists.
    The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority ‘owes’ SIX HUNDRED MILLION to claiments.
    How many of those ‘victims’ have made a fraudulent claim?
    How many fraudulent claims have been made by a parent on behalf of a child who made a false allegation?

    How many of those claims have been properly assessed?

    How many innocent men have committed suicide as a consequence of a false allegation?
    How much is this costing our country in Benefits for men who are too ill to ever work again?
    What is the annual NHS medical bill for psychiatric therapy and treatment?
    What is the annual NHS bill for medications for this group of men.
    What is the cost when family members are factored in?

    I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the only way to make the powers that be pay attention to this abomination of a social injustice is to point out the fiscal drain on the public purse.

    • rwhiston says:

      Dear Verity, the latter part of your Comment is the part no one wants to talk about, ie the annual indirect costs of Health and Employment.
      What might have started of as a brave and honest endeavour has by now degenerated into the repugnant witchhunt you mention and the blinkered thinking that has to exist before any withchunt can take hold of the public’s awareness.
      RW

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