Rapists sentenced for disabled woman rape

// 20 January 2009

One rapist got 9 years, two got six years, at least another seven got away scott free. Most of the press has focussed on how that means they might be out in 2.5 years if they behave. As if reminder were needed this is the 16 year old learning disabled woman gang raped by up to ten men who filmed her rape on their phones and then threw caustic soda on her to try and “destroy the evidence”. Shame they forgot the “evidence” is a young woman who is now permanently disfigured.

But what also intrigues me is the comments in the Metro (forgive me, it came up in a news feed). Six of the seventeen comments use it as a vehicle to make party political comments (kick out Labour and bring back proper jail sentences type stuff). Almost all use the notion that this is all the woman will now amount to.

Hang on – step back – this is a young woman who, despite learning difficulties, has been able to help the Police catch three of her attackers and bring them to (what passes for) justice. That’s pretty damned impressive – lets not do that usual trick of passing the story off about whether one set of men (lawmakers and the judiciary) are insulting or not another set of men (the commenters). Let’s focus on what’s really important here – another woman raped and another case of “brothers” protecting their power. The defendants didn’t give up the other perpetrators, the legal system didn’t push for it, it’s considered case closed because some of them have been punished.

Returning to the sentencing issue it’s a tough call to make sense of how the tariffs are applied but there were specific grounds for this to be considered an aggrevated offence such as mental incapacity of the victim (deliberate targeting of a vulnerable victim), age of the victim, gratuitous violence, group offence, planned offence and repeated assaults.

Thankfully the Attorney General has already announced a review of their sentences. Just remember in all cases such as this the place to complain is the Attorney General.

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 20 January 2009 at 7:00 pm

Good to read the Attorney General has immediately said she will review this case because the sentences are way too lenient and yes sentencing guidelines are precisely that. Guidelines which of course means Judges impose their own perspective on what is seen as ‘real rape’ and ‘real harm’ to rape survivors.

Ah well seven men get away with group raping a young woman and three were convicted of rape. No need to ask why male-dominant judicial system did not pursue this case more thoroughly. So it is not about using this case to promote party politics rather it is about how once again justice has not been done. Seven men got away with group rape and attempted murder -because yes throwing caustic soda at a woman means the offenders did not care about the woman’s life.

Josie // Posted 20 January 2009 at 9:29 pm

I feel sick. The strength it must have take for this young women to stand up in court in front of her (giggling and sniggering) assailants defies belief. As do the so-called “sentences”. These men will be released when only in their early 20s. How on earth can this possibly be justified? Personally, I would question whether they should ever be released. I pride myself on being a left-wing, die-hard human rights supporter but cases like this really stretch my anti-corporal/capital punishment stance to the last shred

jim jay // Posted 21 January 2009 at 12:24 am

I normally react against any kind of hang them and flog them type comment but my mind boggles at how this was an appropriate sentance.

As you say every aspect of this case is horrific, and the victim has not only been extremely strong in being able to see this prosecution through (to some of her assailants) also all the quotes I’ve seen from her in the press have been extremely impressive.

Stephanie // Posted 21 January 2009 at 1:35 pm

This case was awful to read about, I cannot believe they did not pursue the other seven. I can’t imagine what impact it has knowing that not all of your attackers are behind bars.

I read in the guardian that one of attackers was actually the man stabbed to death on oxford street last year – it was horrifying at the time but now I know who he was, I can’t say I’m sorry.

I’m glad the Attorney General will review the case.

lisa // Posted 21 January 2009 at 1:41 pm

I’ve already emailed the attorney general and ask anyone reading this to do the same. Given the planning and attempt to burn forensic evidence off the woman’s body with caustic soda, I believe that these offenders are not only likely to attack women again but would even progress to murder to prevent the woman going to the police in the first place.

My sister has Downs Syndrome and I have a 7 year old daughter and it is hard to maintain a liberal Human Rights intellectual stance – I must confess my instinctive emotion is a pre-emptive strike against men who are threats to them. In fact I wouldn’t want men who are capable of this having any opportunity of attacking any woman ever again. Is chemical castration and tagging a civilised compromise ?

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