Tuesday, 12 August 2008

More Rape Based News

Like the title says, more news. Anyone watching any sort of extended news broadcast today would've seen this story.

A rape victim who was told her compensation would be cut because she had been drinking before the attack has had the decision overturned.

I do so hate sounding like a bastard, but I do have a slight problem with the context of the story. I don't want to get into the rights and wrongs of compensation for crimes. This idea that: 'Well, we - the police - were not really around at the time of the crime, which is our fault, so here's some money to make up for it.' *

I have a number of thoughts about this case (only this one, as I don't know much more about the other 14). The story mentions the woman in question had been drinking 'excessively'. Whether this is over the typical 3 drink limit to make a binge, or whether it is actually excessive is not something I know, but it is at least hinted she may have had more than a swift half. Now, to say having a few drinks means the woman in question was 'asking for it' is fucking Neanderthal thinking and shouldn't be given the time of day, however; I'd be curious to see how 'excessive' alcohol consumption reflects on other compensation cases. For example, if someone had a few two many drinks and left their front door unlocked and only to have their home completely burgled, would they be penalised for that? Obviously these are completely different crimes, but legislation has to deal with this idea on an equitable basis. Consuming alcohol involves giving up a measure of control with your own consent. And although going out on the streets on a Saturday night may prove otherwise, this is not something to be taken lightly. There are plenty of risks attached in taking such a choice and unfortunately there are plenty of people to take advantage of people who take said risks.

I'm not really making any definitive conclusions or points, just noodling. But we have two people and one of this pair do something that makes them more vunerable and less in control of a situation, should that make a difference in how they're dealt with by the courts? I'm not sure.


* Obviously, I'm being glib. Things are more complicated than this, but the point still stands, no matter how lighthearted it may be.

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