Friday afternoon round-up

// 17 October 2008

Victim blaming carries on as usual:

Anthony Francis has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for raping a woman seven years ago. He was caught on DNA evidence. During the trial, reports the Daily Mail, the defence barrister tried to win a reduced sentence, on the basis of Facebook photos showing the victim “laughing and smiling at a fancy dress party in the years since the rape”.

Yeah, he really tried to get time off the sentence because the woman who his client raped has had a smile on her face and attended a fancy dress party in the seven years since the crime.

Mr Salter, a member of the home affairs select committee, said: ‘This quite extraordinary and callous attempt by the defence barrister to suggest that rape victims are not entitled to a life of their own is a shameful act and does no credit to our criminal justice system.’

Meanwhile, one of our readers wrote in to alert us that her MP Harry Cohen has made a speech calling for the law to be changed so “I was sleepwalking” isn’t a defence for rape:

I am concerned about the current legal precedent. Anybody up in court on a rape charge could get a few friends and family to claim that he sleepwalks, and he will almost certainly get off. Rape is traumatic and damaging to the victims. As well as suffering the physical assault, they also suffer emotionally, often taking on the guilt of feeling that they cannot get justice.

Over at Comment is Free, Belinda Brooks-Gordon has an extremely problematic post about legislative plans on prostitution/sex work. If I mention that she relies heavily on minimising/denying the evidence on trafficking, and indeed puts “trafficked” into scare-quotes, you get the idea. Irrespective of differences of opinion on what legislative strategy is best on this issue, how anyone can build their argument on the idea that sexual slavery isn’t such a big deal is beyond me. Vile.

We (almost completely) missed “Love Your Body Day” – but surely that should be every day, right? Feministing has a good suggestion on how to celebrate

Kate Smurthwaite pinpoints three examples of terrible headlines, over at Cruella.

70% of LGBT young people “don’t feel safe in school” – Milly has more over at Lesbilicious. Could a campaign like this help the situation?

stoat at Feminist Philosophers records a confusing account of confusion. Note use of the word “unjustly”!

The US is remaking Absolutely Fabulous – why? It’s a mystery alright.

Rio Ferdinand thinks that England has done poorly in recent years because of the players’ pesky “Wives and Girlfriends”. See the Guardian for more.

Pepsi’s latest ad is bad news.

Over at the new online mag QBG (Quirky Black Girls) Takkara draws some lessons about patriarchy from a scene on a bus.

A reminder about next week’s pro-choice protest from Stroppyblog.

And finally, for the record, yesterday’s disgusting Daily Star cover:

The story was about the shocking decision by the BBC that it won’t broadcast bigotry aimed at Muslims.

Comments From You

Juliet // Posted 17 October 2008 at 5:53 pm

She’s got her nerve, hasn’t she, daring to try and get back her life after being raped!That barrister should be struck off. Are there no restraints on how they’re allowed to behave in court?

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 17 October 2008 at 6:48 pm

Misogyny rules (see Kate Smurthwaite’s article) and of course that pornographic magazine masquerading as a newspaper -newspaper? also engages in reducing women to men’s sexualised commodities. Daily Porn – sorry Star says it all on its front page is both female sexual dehumanisation and racism. Well done the free news papers (newspapers???) and Daily Porn for showing how not the report objective news which accepts women like men (surprise surprise) are also human rather than men’s accessories or else women are subjected to a constant stream of women-hating bigotry.c

No wonder men charged with rape are being acquitted which means rape is the easiest crime to commit and the one least likely to result in conviction.

Renee // Posted 17 October 2008 at 6:55 pm

I am sincerly hoping that, the pepsi ad is some internet fake. It is disgusting on so many levels not only because of what it implies, but because it normalizes this behavior.

Shea // Posted 17 October 2008 at 7:45 pm

erm, why is it shocking the BBC won’t broadcast bigotry aimed at Muslims? I’m not a fan of censorship but it seems a reasonable decision. Or was it mean sarcastically.

saranga // Posted 17 October 2008 at 9:59 pm

The Daily Star…are we more surprised by the racism or the sexism?

Cara // Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:25 pm

I thought ‘disgusting’ referred to the objectified woman on the cover.

Not that the headline isn’t disgusting too.

And yeah. I read that in the free paper the other day. Disgusting. How dare rape victim get over her rape and, er, go to a party and smile? Jeez. If survivors don’t recover they would be seen as a moping victim.

Add to that Kate’s piece – that’s why I don’t read the free London papers. It’s just depressing.

Toury // Posted 17 October 2008 at 11:49 pm

“That barrister should be struck off. ”

Only doing his job. Might be mean and such but that is what he is being paid to do. Can’t fault someone for doing their job. The judge shouldn’t care anyway.

Rebecca // Posted 19 October 2008 at 5:05 am

Well, if the Star ever had a big circulation among Muslims, it certainly doesn’t anymore.

Saranga // Posted 19 October 2008 at 1:24 pm

@Rebecca: Pity it will still have a big circulation amongst women…

Kath // Posted 19 October 2008 at 4:39 pm

Toury, the fact that the vicitm was photographed smiling at a fancy dress party is irrelevant to whether she was raped or not and whether or not she was traumatised by it, therefore the defence barrister was not doing his job. He was being a misogynistic asshole.

Lindsey // Posted 20 October 2008 at 11:25 am

It doesn’t matter how the rape victim felt after the act – a crime was committed. It’s like trying to argue someone mugged me for my ipod but because I got a new one the crime never happened. Obviously not the same but equally ridiculous.

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