Helen Mirren tells men’s magazine date rape shouldn’t be illegal – why, oh why?!
Jess McCabe // 1 September 2008
Helen Mirren told GQ magazine that date rape should not be illegal, as reported everywhere, but here’s a link to the BBC’s story*.
In her interview with former national newspaper editor Piers Morgan in the October edition of GQ, Dame Helen also spoke about being date-raped as a student – something she first revealed in a 2003 interview.
She told GQ: “I was [date-raped], yes. A couple of times.
“Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will.”
Dame Helen said it was rape if a couple engaged in sexual activity but the woman said “no” at the last second.
However, she said: “I don’t think she can have that man into court under those circumstances.”
She said she had not reported her own experiences to police because “you couldn’t do that in those days”.
She’s quoted elsewhere saying:
“I guess it is one of the many subtle parts of the men/women relationship that has to be negotiated and worked out between them.”
[Edited for clarification purposes] I can only express sympathy for Mirren, and what she’s been through. But her statement that date rape shouldn’t, in effect, be illegal, is dangerous and wrong. In reality, in this country, right now, men can rape with impunity. And in this country, right now, rapists are getting away with it because of woman-blaming attitudes.
* For some reason they’ve led on her cocaine use, though!
Update: The Guardian’s coverage includes this quote from the solicitor general:
Vera Baird, the solicitor-general, described Mirren’s remarks as “dangerous” at a time when rape victims were being encouraged to come forward.
“We want women to report rape with the confidence that – albeit slowly – conviction rates are getting better. It really is a shame to cast doubt at the edges of what she thinks might not be rape.”
She added: “It is a pity, because she is a much-admired person.”