Debate Magazine

Valentine's Violence Against Women

Posted on the 14 February 2011 by Humanwriter @roseforman

Valentine's Violence Against Women, 10 February 2011

This is an article about women being prosecuted for perverting the course of justice after retracting rape claims, "the move comes after a number of high-profile cases in which women who had been raped were sent to jail for changing their minds about giving evidence." It has been found that many women who have complained of domestic violence and rape, particularly rape by a partner, have then retracted their claim due to pressure from that partner or perhaps inner feelings of personal guilt, or even lack of confidence in the prosecution. In many of these cases the woman will end up being sent to prison, one woman was jailed for 8 months, despite the court being shown evidence that she was a victim of prolonged domestic abuse, her sentenced was quashed by the most senior judge in England and Wales, who said there should be a "broad measure of compassion for women who had already been victimised."But instances like this are only more likely to discourage victims, male and female, of domestic abuse from making any claim in the first place. Not to mention the lack of successful convictions, estimated to be around 14% of all reported rapes, (a figure which a report by Baroness Stern said was "not dramatically low" compared to other crimes.").It seems as though all retracted claims of crime have been treated the same, regardless of evidence of victimisation. Which is why new guidelines have been introduced to help combat this situation. "There have been cases recently where … I do not consider justice was done or was seen to be done," Starmer said. "We need to work on our approach in retraction cases. From now on, my approval for charging will be needed in these cases and we will monitor them closely. If the victim has decided to withdraw a rape allegation, we must explore the issues behind that, particularly if the victim is under pressure or frightened." It seems to me that there was obviously a problem at home, or otherwise, if a woman claims that she was raped and then retracts that statement. Why did it take this long for the judicial system to notice this? and why did they decide that it would be a good idea to lock up the victim rather than looking into the reasoning behind their actions?

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