Rape law crisis

// 7 November 2006

A woman has been jailed for falsely accusing her ex-husband of raping her. A month before, a Labour peer named another woman who falsely accused a man of raping her – overthrowing the traditional protection of anonymity for sexual assault victims, even if they are unable to prove their case in court.

In this new case, the judge took the step of calling the woman a “wicked liar”.

Now, we all know that the rate of successful rape prosecutions is frighteningly low in this country. And all the analyses suggest that the number of people who report being raped to the police is only a fraction of the true figure, as many are scared to come forward.

The justice system is already failing rape victims. These developments can only make the situation worse.

Meanwhile, in the US, a Maryland appeals court has thrown out a rape conviction because it says a woman cannot withdraw consent after intercourse has begun. Feministing has done an excellent post on the subject, including an expose of some of the horrendous comments people have been leaving about the case on Broadsheet.

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