Do You Believe?

I’ve got to be honest, much as I admired the women who set up Mumsnet I didn’t really think it had anything to offer me, albeit I am a mother. But their recent survey on rape brought to my attention by this article in The Guardian newspaper has changed all that.

Many of you, like me, will have been appalled by the treatment meted out by the British courts to ‘Sarah’ . In November, 2009, after another violent rape by her husband, Sarah called the police. Ray was brought into custody, charged with six counts of rape and a court date set. But two months later, Sarah abruptly retracted the charges, telling investigators that she “lied about the rapes,” according to court documents.

In August, she called police and reversed the retraction, saying she had only claimed that her rape allegations were false “due to fear of repercussions from him,” according to court documents. At the time, Sarah was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a forensic psychologist would later tell the courts.

Crown prosecutors decided to prosecute her for perverting the course of justice and she went to prison for 18 days and then was put on probation for 2 years. This week her attempts to have the conviction overturned were rejected. Her husband Ray, in case you’re wondering is free and has custody of the children, according to press reports, despite this evidence having been presented to the courts:

as well as repeatedly abusing Sarah, her husband had forced her to work in a massage parlour, providing sexual services for other men. He drove her to the premises, to this brothel, waited for her and took her home again, took the proceeds and then proceeded to attack her emotionally for doing what she had done at his insistence and for his gain,”

Take Action

Mumsnet has set up a campaign called We Believe You which has been accompanied by a twitter campaign of women sharing their experiences of unreported rapes using the hashtag #ididnotreport I warn you 140 characters can be harrowing. But this is important stuff. Rape is rarely about sexual desire but about power, control and hatred. It is a crime that as a society we are still not dealing with appropriately. As one person tweeted this morning “Saddest things about #ididnotreport: that so many men are shocked by its content. That so few women are.”

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Photo Credt: Mert Suvaydas

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Posted on March 14th, 2012 by

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