Katie Price: why she should name her rapist

// 17 September 2009

Glamour model and reality TV star Katie Price was raped prior to her marriage to Peter Andre, according to her column in OK! Magazine earlier this month. In response to the media furore surrounding her revelation, Price stated that the only reason she chose to speak publicly about her sexual assault was following reports that her current partner, cage fighter Alex Reid, starred in a film that glamorised rape. While criticising the media attention this has yielded, two-weeks after her initial column Price has gone further to state that while she is unwilling to name the man who assaulted her he is, in fact, a “famous celebrity.”

Of course, this has inflamed tabloid interest in her attack, with almost any male celebrity she has ever been photographed with now the subject of speculation. As it stands the names of a footballer, a TV personality and a small-time film star have been bandied around the Internet as if the nation is involved in some sort of celebrity whodunnit, which not only means that, inevitably, innocent men are going to be accused, but that the severity of rape itself is being diminished, becoming nothing more than tabloid fodder, with papers scrambling to break the story rather than deal sensitively with what is a heinous crime and one that has a shamefully low conviction rate.

Price’s decision to publicly discuss her rape was, on Wednesday, the subject of channel 5’s current affairs programme, The Wright Stuff, and as a result Price called the show to defend her decision to conceal her attacker’s identity, stating that she would “never, never absolutely not” name him. While, understandably, it must be extremely difficult for rape victims to speak about their experiences, Price is a TV personality who has made the transition from glamour model to mainstream celebrity owing to her outspoken and confident public persona and her determination to speak her mind, all marketed as part of her independence and business acumen. Therefore her silence is, in itself, a strong statement.

The vast majority of women who are attacked neither speak about their experiences, nor report them to the authorities. The reasons for this are manifold, but include fear that they will not be believed, that their personal lives will be subject to the basest scrutiny and judgement, and that there will be aspersions cast upon their morality. It is a physical and emotional trauma that a lot of women suffer in silence, worried that they will be seen as the cause of their own abuse. While Price now feels able to speak about what happened to her, making the claim in a national publication, maintaining the anonymity of her attacker is not only inconsistent, but also downright irresponsible.It perpetuates the idea that rape is part of the male privilege, positioning guilty men above puishment, and suggests that female victims should consider their attacks something that they must just quietly accept. According to the Guardian:

The government estimates that as many as 95% of rapes are never reported to the police at all. Of the rapes that were reported from 2007 to 2008, only 6.5% resulted in a conviction, compared with 34% of criminal cases in general. The majority of convictions for rape resulted from an admission of guilt by the defendant, whereas less than one quarter of all those charged with rape were convicted following a successful trial.

Price should realise that as a public figure she can lead by example, and is now in a position to offer strength to women who are living in silence, wrongly convinced that this is their shame. She has no obligation, of course, she is an individual, but as she courts the media she must realise that by now refusing to name her attacker she is fuelling misogynistic attitudes that encourage the dismissal of rape allegations as nothing more than a form of attention seeking, meaning that in actual fact it will become harder for women to come forward, fearing a disblieving reception. While she claims that she did not anticipate the media reaction her comments have incited, Price is well-versed in the machinations of the British tabloid machine, making this an extremely poor explanation.

Cynical journalists believe that this is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Price, designed to win favour with the nation following her vilification during her divorce from Peter Andre, and the fact the name of her assailant is said to have been “accidentally” caught on camera during the filming of her ITV show, What Katie Did Next, will probably fuel this belief (especially as it was said to have happened during a magazine interview). However, this attitude is reflective of the general scepticism accorded many rape victims, and her claims must not simply be dismissed, but properly investigated. The reported involvement of the Suffolk police will hopefully lead to the serving of justice.

Comments From You

Ruth Moss // Posted 18 September 2009 at 6:49 am

maintaining the anonymity of her attacker is not only inconsistent, but also downright irresponsible.

Please, please, please, please, please can we not go there? Just, please?

Lucy // Posted 18 September 2009 at 7:10 am

Calling a rape victim “irresponsible” may not be the usual slut-shaming, but it’s still shaming. Price has no responsibility to anyone but herself for how she deals with her rape. This does not change just because she’s famous or has decided she can talk about it publicly. The fact that a feminist blog is engaged in telling a rape victim that she’s dealing with her rape incorrectly is appalling, but all too-typical of those types of feminisms that somehow feel “the cause” outweighs any one woman’s right to live her life and deal with her oppressions on her terms. This may not be blaming the victim for her rape, but it’s not much better.

polly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 8:28 am

I’m sorry, I can’t believe I’m reading this on a feminist blog. Katie Price says she has been raped, and I believe her. I have no need to know WHO raped her. Since there is absolutely no chance of a successful prosecution this long after the event, what is the point?

It won’t make what she is saying any more credible, and it won’t make people who don’t believe her, believe her any more. She will just get the same accusations flung at her that have alread been flung that she is publicity seeking.

Rita // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:05 am

Her breaking her story and deciding to keep it secret at the same time and insisting it is a private matter and it happenned long ago, really infuriates me and i will refrain from making a long comment because i am really angry about the whole thing, the timing, and she is a mother with a daughter and son and a public figure. That’s all i will say.

Laura Woodhouse // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:18 am

I have to absolutely disagree, Abby. Price has no obligation whatsoever to name her rapist, no more so than any woman. Doing so would lead to a trial which she would have close to no chance of winning, resulting in the whole nation viewing her as a liar, which would have a hugely damaging effect on her and her family. It would also reinforce the whole ‘women always lie about rape’ trope, which would help no one.

I can understand why she spoke up about being raped; it must have been a very hard decision for her and I think we should be applauding her for having the guts to do so, not calling her irresponsible for doing what so many rape survivors understandably feel the need to do to protect themselves from what is likely to be further trauma in the courtroom. The fact that Price is a glamour model would make that experience ten times worse.

That the papers are speculating and treating rape as gossip column fodder is not Price’s fault; the media choose to behave like this and as feminists I feel very strongly that we shouldn’t be blaming her for how she chooses to deal with being raped or hold her responsible for societal attitudes towards rapists.

Kirsty // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:26 am

I agree with Laura. I think all women should be able to speak to the police and reveal their attacker. However Katie Price has already been vilified unfairly due to her marriage break-up and she’s only going to get the same treatment if she names her attacker. She’ll be constantly under the media glare and forever haunted by her allegation.

Kez // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:34 am

I’m afraid I have to be a little cynical about this one. While I certainly agree that her claims should be investigated and taken seriously – as should anyone’s – it seems suggestive that this revelation has been made at a time when Price’s popularity with the public appears to have fallen. She “did not anticipate the media reaction”? – now THAT is implausible in a woman whose every move has, with her full co-operation and encouragement, been carried out in the full glare of the media.

Much as it goes against the grain ;-) I tend to agree with Abby on this one. By making a dramatic, attention-grabbing allegation and then refusing to provide any evidence to back it up, Katie Price is merely encouraging the widespread public belief that some women make up stories to gain attention.

Laura // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:39 am

In fact, I don’t think we should be having a discussion about the motivations or actions of a rape survivor at all. We have no idea what’s gone on and should be offering support or saying nothing at all.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:51 am

Hi Laura,

I agree to an extent with what you are saying, and in no way think Price is lying about what has happened to her. It’s absolutely awful and in one respect she should be applauded for speaking up about it because I think more discussion about women’s experiences will encorage other women to feel more comfortable about coming forward when they are attacked. But I think it’s her decision now not to name her rapist that will lead to accusations that she is lying, since while she is prepared to talk about what happened she is not willing to see that her attacker is brought to justice, and therefore not able to attack any other women. However, having given this much thought, I do think that once she spoke about what happened to her Price was placed in a difficult position because seeing this as nothing more than a potential paper-seller, the papers have gone into overdrive. Perhaps she didn’t anticipate this, but her experience with the media would suggest otherwise. What I can’t really understand is if, as she says, she didn’t expect her initial comment to be picked up by the media and she does not want to talk about this, why is she perpetuating the coverage with further comments? Especially making distinguishing remarks about her attacker without naming him? This is leading to much speculation, with innocent men being accused, which I think will only confirm “the women always lie about rape” trope and the “women cry rape” trope, which is damaging. If she is going to do this, suggest who raped her then remain silent, then she should name him. The trauma of the courtroom I imagine would be absolutely horrible, but surely that must be comparable to the trauma of seeing speculation about what must have been a harrowing ordeal for her dissected and speculated about in national newspapers, on TV shows and over the Internet. At least in the courtroom her attacker would be publicly shamed, and while unfortunately statistics suggest a conviction would be unlikely, if he is a celebrity at least he would suffer professional and personal ramifications from being outed as a rapist. Lastly, having been in situations myself which have been extremely uncomfortable and I have had difficulty defining after the event, I personally felt that Price’s reluctance to name her attacker would make women less likely to name men who have sexually assaulted them, just because it suggests it’s something of which she is ashamed. (Apologies for any spelling mistakes, I having had chance to proof read my reply.)

George // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:55 am

Laura got there before me.

To be honest, I don’t really understand how you could think that a “trial-by-media” would be the best way to encourage other women to report their own attackers to the police. In any case, even if it were, it is completely wrong to say that a rape victim “has” to do anything.

Rita // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:55 am

It’s one thing keeping it a secret to one’s self and it’s one thing putting it out there for the public. We who are reading the story and taking it in are human beings with feelings and we certainly want to see justice being served not for humiliation’s sake or for entertainment, but to assure people that the justice system can work. It does not have to be done in piblic but pursued out of public eyes. Much as i would like to offer support, emotionally, yes, but everytime i watch the news and there is an increase of peodophiles being exposed, i cannot help but feel the same as Abby.

Maybe we should leave all victims alone and not say or encourage them to do anything or even go for counselling or commit suicide or go to the police and just let them be. We should turn a blind eye and leave them to deal with it as they see fit like Katie did and close the chapter on sexual abuse altogether.

I do not know if this comment will be published for lack of showing support, but that’s how i feel about this matter.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 9:57 am

Hi Laura, I think once it has been put into the public forum – which is was by Price herself – we should be able to have a discussion about it as her treatment is representative of the treatment of rape victims in general. I think ignoring it would suggest rape is something that should not be openly discussed, which is not the case at all.

kez // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:04 am

As far as I can see, she has put this into the public domain herself by discussing it in a magazine column, therefore I think it is entirely justifiable for others to discuss it.

Laura // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:12 am

I think it’s fine to talk about media reaction to what she’s said etc, but I don’t think it’s fair to be talking about how she should be behaving or judging her actions. We have no idea how she’s really feeling, how the rapes affected her or what her motivations are, and I think we should be treating her with compassion and empathy, not adding to the pressure and judgement she must already feel. I don’t care that she’s Katie Price, glamour model and favourite of trashy mag editors: she’s a woman, she’s survived rape and we should be offering her the same respect, compassion and support we would any rape survivor, not adding to the non-feminist media pile-on.

Jess McCabe // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:20 am

@Rita said:

Maybe we should leave all victims alone and not say or encourage them to do anything or even go for counselling or commit suicide or go to the police and just let them be. We should turn a blind eye and leave them to deal with it as they see fit like Katie did and close the chapter on sexual abuse altogether.

But there is a massive difference here. What is OK is offering support, and enabling victims to report rape/sexual assault to the police, and lobbying to change the criminal justice system so it’s actually likely that going through that process will mean the rapist ends up being convicted.

What’s not OK, in my view, is adding to victims’ distress by criticising them for making the choice not to go down that route.

Let’s remember that rape victims, if they go through the criminal justice system, cannot be identified in the media. But Katie Price has already chosen to speak out and identify herself. She’s extremely well known. If she did name the rapist and this point, go to the police and trying to get him convicted, then I think it’s naive to think she wouldn’t face trial by media, as Laura points out. I agree with Laura, that in no way should she be harangued for not naming the rapist.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:23 am

Hi Polly, you’re right, unfortunately there is a slim chance that court proceedings would lead to prosecution, but once her attacker is outed at least it is less likely that he will rape other women. And even if it is a case that she will still be accused of publicity seeking, at least her attacker would be publicly shamed. Price has already stated that her rapist was a “famous celebrity” so I want to know who he is because why should he have a career under the media spotlight when he is clearly so morally reprehensible? Why should he suffer no consequences for his actions?

Hi George, it’s not that I think a trial-by-media would be a good thing, but that this is happening already. Already a number of men have been accused of being her rapist, meaning that statistically innocent men have also been accused. If she had chosen to keep the identity of her rapist a complete secret then her decision would be understandable, but having said that he was a “famous celebrity” – suggesting his identity without actually naming – what she has done is fuel speculation. If she names him now I think people would be less cynical about what has happened – it’s unfortunate that they are because it must have been difficult for her to speak about it in the first place but, as Laura said, as she is a glamour model too, it is harder for her – but by not directly naming him now what she is doing is fuelling the idea that rape is nothing more than a form of “attention seeking” for women, which is damaging. If Price truely did not want to encourage discussion about what happened to her across the media she would not have written about it in a national magazine column.

Rita // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:28 am

I do not think anyone has suggested that there should be a ‘trial by media’. What i am picking up is a need for justice. After all i think Katie made accusations in the media. Her life nearly is in the media, and that is the honest truth.

Katie has so many young girls who are her fans and there are some who are not educated who just see things in black and white, and ignorance is very expensive. We can sit here and easily say she has a right to keep silent which she has, but we know to a certain extent what the right thing is, even though it’s hard, but at the same time, we all know the power of these celebrities and the media and how it can manipulate the right thing and easily influence people and make them believe without proper assessment or weighing. I think this topic has to be talked about to re enforce what should be done incase sex abuse happens. Whether it’s done or not, we have to keep the reality of the truth afloat.

ConservatoryGirl // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:28 am

Several years ago one of my friends was raped.

She reported it, it was taken to court and ultimately thrown out because of her sexual history. I’m inclined to think the same would happen to Katie Price and can well understand why she doesn’t want to go there.

aimee // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:28 am

Holy shit. Don’t read the comments on the Mail article. Just don’t.

Monty // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:36 am

I respectfully disagree laura, i do not think anyone or any group is beyond criticism. If a person’s actions are negatively affecting other people they should be held accountable for them. In this case Price’s actions have a serious knock on affect for those under suspicion and rape survivors. It is particularly telling that:

1 Price tells us that the attacker is a famous celebrity, so she gives hints to who they are but not who they are. Makes a good headline.

2 There are less profitable ways to talk openly about this. Do you see a rape crisis hotline at the bottom of the column?

I do not questions her claim that she was raped but I think her actions are more opportunistic than altruistic. It makes a mockery of rape.

Laura // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:42 am

And even if it is a case that she will still be accused of publicity seeking, at least her attacker would be publicly shamed. Price has already stated that her rapist was a “famous celebrity” so I want to know who he is because why should he have a career under the media spotlight when he is clearly so morally reprehensible? Why should he suffer no consequences for his actions?

But I very much doubt he would be publicly shamed, Abby. He’ll be held up as one of those poor, poor men dragged through the mud by another slutty, lying woman. Price would suffer all the career-destroying humiliation.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:43 am

HI Laura, I don’t think that Price’s profession should have any bearing on her treatment as a rape victim, and that’s not something that I’ve touched upon. While she is a glamour model I don’t think that she is any less deserving of sympathy than anyone else, as that would be absolutely ludicrous. No is always no. I don’t think I’m adding to the non-feminist media pile on just because I happen to think that not naming her rapist at this point – having hinted at his identity – is damaging. While I would agree that as an individual woman she has the right to remain silent and maintain the anonymity of her attacker, this is something she both has and hasn’t done. Either she should name him or not, simply because the implications of keeping the middle ground mean that she is increasingly regarded as a doing nothing more than seeking publicity, which reduces the severity of her allegations in the eyes of the media. The likelihood is that the name of her assilant will out, as it did with Ulrika Johnsson and John Leslie. And while John Leslie, following a trial, was found to be not guilty, his career was absolutely ruined and he is known nationally as a rapist. Ok, justice was not served by the judicial system, but he will never be free of that label and he has been ruined while Johnsson still has a lucrative career. The same would happen to Price’s attacker and will when he is eventually outed, and with his name said to already be circulating media circles it will probably happen soon.

Laura // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:46 am

But considering how difficult it is to get a conviction, it may very well be that John Leslie is a rapist. I don’t know the details of the case, but if Ulrika said that’s who raped her I believe her.

childerowland // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:47 am

It’s not fair to suggest that women who have been raped should either tell all or keep quiet about it.

Much as I would love to see the rape conviction rate go up, women should not feel as though they *have* to go through the humiliating, intensely frustrating, distressing process of taking the matter the court.

Being raped is bad enough – being raped *plus* being branded a liar afterwards if your court case is unsuccessful (which sadly it is likely to be) – must be sheer hell.

I applaud any woman who is brave enough to try for justice, but the choice to not go down that route should be supported too. Rapists are responsible for rape, not women who decide not to report their rapist.

George // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:49 am

Abby & Rita –

The point is that if the man were to be named, the ensuing questioning over whether it was him, whether she was lying, who to believe, etc would be conducted by the tabloid press, not by the justice system. OK, so perhaps it would go to court as well – but the way which the public relates to the case would not be dictated by court procedures, but by the media frenzy – hence “trial by media” (and indeed, the jury can be influenced by this). Bearing in mind that the media is also pretty crap at talking about violence against women, this strikes me as doubly bad, and would in no way help Price or those of us who fight to improve public attitudes towards rape.

Moreover, the original point holds – if Price doesn’t want to act like a “proper” representative of rape victims (whatever that may look like!!!) this is entirely her right. We should criticise the society which does not allow a woman to state that she has been raped without crazy demands upon that individual, not the individual herself.

I mean, I’d like to think that I stand up as a “good” feminist representative of women, but I haven’t “named and shamed” the people that have hurt me. OK, I’m not a public figure, but if I were I’m sure I’d feel the same way. Saying “I’ve been raped” is one thing, saying who it was and dealing with that backlash is completely another.

Rita // Posted 18 September 2009 at 10:57 am

@ Jess, i got your point, about Katie being not forced to name her attacker in public. And i agree totally, but there’s something that really bothers me about the way the whole story came out and it’s a shame that the public has to sit and deal with all the emotional reactions and accusations. Like i said, we are humans with feelings, and this story has turned out to be more of an entertainment issue rather than a serious issue, just because justice will not be served. Feeling deflated right now.

Pink Zoe Realm // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:00 am

As a Person who at the age of 8 had an attempted rape in a Public place I feel I’m the best at the mo to say any thing on the subject on Katie Price & her Very Immature attempt at head line grabbing, I now live in Germany with My Lesbian Partner Who I cant Marry due to being Intersexed & the Childish attitude the is Prevalent in Britain that Katie Price has adequately shown towards all things of a Sexual Nature wether good or Bad, after all Britain like it partner are the only Countrys where “She Deserved it” is still said with same ease as Good Morning.

Katie Price did have a right to say she was raped, and not to name the assailant, but to then go on and hint that the person was famous, “INTOLERABLE” and as a commenter has already said cheapens the Crime, I will say this I have Never been a fan of Miss K Price, But her coming out as being raped does explain her behaviour.

If some one is going to say they have been raped it should be done in a way that helps, I have spoken openly of what occurred to me on twitter (@pinktank1) but is only when the gove pass some DRACONIAN BILL that is meant to protect Children, like the last one, I openly said, “NOT IN MY NAME”.

Katie Price should apologise to all Rape victims & Attempted rape victims, and then quietly fade from Public Face.

Jo // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:19 am

Hi Abby,

I have to say I’m pretty sad to be reading your article. As a volunteer worker for a Rape Crisis centre, I’d say the most important thing any of us can offer a woman (be they in the public eye or no…) who chooses to talk about their rape is support for her choices, and belief in what she tells us. Whilst you may be offering belief, you’re certainly not offering support for Katie Price’s choices. I think it’s pretty clear that Katie Price knows her own situation far better than anyone else, has her own reasons to protect the anonymity of the rapist and should not be judged for doing so. Criticising her explanations for her actions and judging her by your criteria as to what is an acceptable way to behave in her situation is way out of line, given that you do not know better than she does the reality of her own experience. Let Katie Price have control over her own situation. Blackmailing her with claims that she’s in a position where she can set an example to other women who’ve been raped and who are suffering in silence is trite, judgmental and something she could probably do without right now.

sianmarie // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:22 am

i think the real problem/shame is that rape is still not taken seriously in our society, so that we implicitly understand that if katie price did take her rapist to court she would probably lose. i think on one level we want her to name her rapist because the fact that someone so famous and so famous for her honesty (or at least her willingness to share the minutiae of her life on camera) cannot bring herself to call her rapist up on his crime. it just makes the whole rape/conviction situation seem even more hopeless. in the sense that, in our celebrity obsessed – clebrity as demi god culture, if she can’t take her rapist to court, then what hope is there for a non famous women who is raped. especially if you are young or see katie price as a role model.

altho it is her decision whether to name him or not, i’m not saying we should pressure her into naming.

does that make sense?

im not sure i expressed that very well! sorry.

the most terrifying thing is that becuase of who she is and her history i can imagine the response is going to be horrible, nasty and reinforcing of ridiculous beliefs about rape. i think she knows that and i think that is behind her decision as well.

i agree with abby that by saying “famous celebrity” she is going to cause speculation and she knows how the media behaves. but i also think that she obviously has her ways and methods of dealing with trauma (divorce and now rape) which may differ from mine, or yours, or my next door neighbours, but i can’t sit in judgement of that.

hmm – it’s a tricky one! all in all it just makes me sad that like so many rape victims she is destined not to have her accusation taken seriously, her past will be dragged up and blamed, and because of all of this she doesn’t feel able to stand up and name him.

Arran // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:33 am

In regards to Rita’s last comment, while it is disheartening that the a woman’s admission of having been raped has become an entertainment story it is hardly suprising given who that woman is.

We are talking here about someone who is caught up in operation of the mediascape, someone who has been so thoroughly manipulated and (unfortunately) sought some sense of power by becoming a skilled manipulator of the mediascape.

Essentially, while we all know Katie Price is a real, flesh and blood woman, she does not operate as one in the consumer-consciousness. Especially in an age where the cultural consumer is, for the most part, an emotion-addict. That is to say, the reporting of Katie’s rape was only ever going to be (to use some worn out terminology) ‘spectacular.’

The media is focussed on a representation it feels it has created, a representation unshackled from its humanity and, more significantly, from her womanhood. As the reality of each of those aspects seeps in they become something of a threat, and so the emotive style of reporting is intended (whether it is successful or not) to preclude women from even recognising what is at stake.

None of this is to say that as a media figure her rape is any less the real…but the way it is being presented certainly seems to me to have that effect; the derealisation of rape.

Far from ‘naming and shaming’ being a strategy that would work in women’s favour, in this instance it might well provide just one more layer of that derealising effect.

depresso // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:53 am

Who is anyone to tell Katie Price what she should and should not do? Will you be insisting that she also has a responsibility, as a public figure, to report her rape to the police?

If I don’t know I’d followed the link from my reader, I’d not be surprised to have read that on some MRA site – the poor, poor men that are now being named as potenetial rapists and how that’s a life-destroying thing that the evol lying women do when they say they’ve been raped.

As for Katie Price chosing what she says about her rape, it’s totally up to her. I’m guessing that she’d like to not be another Ulrika Johnsen.

thebeardedlady // Posted 18 September 2009 at 12:05 pm

I must say that reading this article upset me quite a bit. Surely there must be a better response than exhorting Katie Price to take on the worldwide media and criminal justice system, knowing that it can only tear her to pieces if she does? How is that going to help anyone?

I also want to say that I do think it’s a bit of a convenient myth to call Price a skilled manipulator of the media – from what I’ve seen of her career, she is clever and ambitious, but I wouldn’t say that she is very powerful – she seems always to be at the mercy of tabloid editors and ‘popular’ opinion. This famous person is not a front bench politician or a scion of industry we are talking about, either, but an actress/model in the glamour industry – an industry which makes money from sexualising and objectifying women. She is well known and obviously well liked by many, but her position is hardly one that society at large deems important, respectable, powerful, credible, worthy or serious. How, then, is she in any position to single-handedly take on the media and criminal justice system and educate all our young people about rape and consent? You might *wish* that she would, but it’s not acceptable to criticise her for not doing what you want her to do.

Katie Price was raped, and her response to that is entirely her business. If we want to support her, and support other women who have been raped (approx 1 in 4 of us, according to some estimates), then rather than attacking Price for being ‘manipulative’ of the media, or criticising her for not suddenly becoming a feminist anti-rape crusader, we can show that support by expressing our belief in her, and getting involved with projects like Take Back the News, writing to newspapers to complain about their sexist treatment of rape survivors and generally trying to push the debate into a more humane and helpful and hopeful arena.

Arran // Posted 18 September 2009 at 12:07 pm

As to the ambiguity of her identification of her rapist, this is sadly to be expected.

As the real woman Katie Price and the mediatic machine of ‘Katie Price’ become ever more indistinguishable (as evinced by the dropping of the name ‘Jordon’ which marked out a terrain of play-acting, seperable from her real life) it is hardly suprising that she acts in such a strange manner, revealing only to withdraw again. There is a tug of war here, and who can tell which Katie is tugging on which end of the rope?

Also, a question for those who are demanding she articulate fully who raped her. Is this really a demand for her to become an ‘example’ for other women? Because as much as I hope it isn’t the case, I can’t help detecting a kind of perverse desire for all the juicey details, for yet more of the same tabloid exposure and media transparency- that she make herself fully present to our baying gaze.

I don’t mean that last comment to offend anyone, and as I say I hope that is simply cynicism on my part. So please do correct me.

Franny // Posted 18 September 2009 at 12:19 pm

What the hell would the media do without Ms Katie Price?

Whatever she says or does, I’m thinking:

– She’s just gone through the bitterest of bitter divorces

– One of her children has a disability

– Being a glamour model and being under such intense ‘male gaze’ scrutiny for years must have taken some kind of toll, no matter how confidently she seemed to deal with it.

Add up all of that and you have someone who’s bound to be in an incredibly fragile emotional state. If she’s also been trying to suppress the trauma of a rape, it’s not surprising that she suddenly mentions it now.

Anyone saying what, in their opinion, someone in Katie Price’s situation should do or feel might like to take a few moments to imagine how it might be for them. Next thing they can do is delete those words ‘should’ and ‘must’ from their vocabulary.

I am REALLY disappointed to have read this post on a feminist website.

Rita // Posted 18 September 2009 at 1:07 pm

And for any one who thinks i am interested in juicy bits or whatever, i am not. I would rather know that all women are fine and not being raped, and are getting on just fine, than know that there are women walking around and know their victims but cannot do a thing about it because the justice system fails them. Whatever the case i do not find any pleasure in anyone’s misery. I am furious that this story in it’s self has awakened many demons in people and for some left a feeling of hopelessness. Personaly, and i will speak for myself here, i would rather not have known, than know and see nothing being done about it, and not for entertainment.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 18 September 2009 at 1:25 pm

Instead of focusing on Katie Price’s actions we should instead be asking why the media is engaged in such ‘hysterical frenzy.’ Why has the media decided this particular case is supposedly ‘newsworthy’ whereas many other cases of male violence against women are invisibilised.

Is it because the media far from being ‘news orientated’ is solely concerned with increasing their profit margins.

The media is a very powerful tool but all too commonly it reinforces embedded rape myths and perpetuates widespread belief that most women if not all women who report a male has raped them are liars.

The issue is not about Katie Price but male-dominant society’s determined refusal to deal with the issue of how and why male sexual violence against women is apparently a ‘non-issue’ or are just instances of individual ‘evil monsters such as Josef Fritzl or Garrido’ rather than how our society justifies and excuses male violence against women.

Asking pertinent questions such as why the media consistently refuses to analyse or even ask questions as to how our society promotes and maintains a ‘rape culture’ would certainly cause much consternation and widespread accusations of ‘male-hating feminists – rather than attempting to understand just how and why challenging male violence against women is a direct challenge to the way our patriarchal society is structured.

Far easier to focus on an individual woman’s actions rather than challenge male-dominant beliefs that women are always responsible for men’s sexual and physical violence committed against them.

Similarily the Australian press upon learning yet another male has allegedly systematically raped and forcibly impregnated his daughter, deliberately reframed this case as ‘another Fritzl.’

Thereby hiding the various ways our male-dominant and male-centered society justifies and excuses male violence against women because such perpetrators are all apparently ‘isolated individual cases.’

gadgetgal // Posted 18 September 2009 at 1:27 pm

This is the first time I’ve ever added anything to this blog, but something which has been bothering me for a while just compelled me to do so. It’s the automatic assumption that the rights of the individual outweigh the rights of society at large in all cases – in this instance Katie Price’s right to state what she wants, when she wants to, with no evidence and no thought to the repercussions for others whatsoever. In all the responses I’ve looked at here not one person has mentioned democratic rights in any way – where the rights of the individual are protected, but not at the expense of the majority. I’m not saying that she should name her attacker, in fact I don’t believe she should, but in arguing this point everyone seems to have forgotten the truly silent victims – the women who have likely been attacked by the same person, the women who hear statements like “well, women lie about rape so often”, and “what about the men who have to suffer false accusations?” and “most reported rapes are false”(I’ve been hearing them all week, in my male-dominated engineering firm) and will now decide to not come forward, and also the other men who have been accused and speculated about because of an appalling half-statement. She is not the only victim, nor is she the victim who will come out of this the worst off in the end. So say as much as you like that she should have the right to do and say what she likes at will, but I expected a little more sympathy for the many more who will now have to suffer because of her (wilful or not) sheer stupidity.

As I said, I don’t agree she should be forced to tell, two wrongs never make a right, but I do believe that in making these statements she has done an awful lot of damage, and her emotional state should not absolve her from the backlash that ensues – not because we want to know, not even because she was responding (allegedly) as a sort of “rape apologist” for her partner’s new movie (although I have no sympathy whatsoever if that turns out to be the case, we don’t know yet and it isn’t really the issue anyway) – but because in doing this she has harmed more people than just herself, and as a believer in all things democratic AND feminist I believe she should be held accountable for that. I thought feminists in general would take a harder line on people who set us all back, regardless of background – we don’t do it for anyone else who may have suffered in the past if we think they’ve done something wrong, take Germaine Greer – she’s been raped, but that won’t stop me from calling her out on her harmful statements about rape, FGM, transgender issues and they damage they may cause!

Sorry, that was a long one, but it’s been building up over the last week or so!

Laura // Posted 18 September 2009 at 1:31 pm

I find this article disheartening, especially on a feminist blog. In my experience, after I was sexually assaulted there were always people who were keen to tell me what I should (or shouldn’t) have done and what I should (or shouldn’t) do next. I think this actually made me keep quiet about it and put off seeking help for longer than I should have done.

Perhaps as feminists we have an obligation to rape survivors to enable them to feel their choices in the aftermath of a rape are theirs to make. I think this is paticually important as they aren’t likely to be getting that message from the rest of society.

Stefanie // Posted 18 September 2009 at 1:34 pm

Keep in mind that she may well have legal reasons for keeping her rapist’s identity out of the headlines. Some that immediately come to mind are libel and slander issues, as well as the very real possibility that she has already spoken with police and was encouraged not to name names pending an investigation.

A “famous celebrity” certainly would have the financial wherewithal to hire a team of top-notch lawyers. After several years, there would be very little by way of physical evidence and the legal case against him would probably not be very strong. Add to that the deplorable conviction rate for sexual assault cases and the pressure of the court of public opinion and you have a situation in which naming her attacker is very likely to do nothing but further victimize Ms. Price.

Without a conviction, a civil suit against her for public defamation, libel and slander would be a virtual slam dunk, meaning that financial ruin is also VERY likely.

Ms. Price walks a fine line right now, she should not be criticized for being legally prudent. She has a lot to lose (beyond the emotional costs of a trial and the public humiliation of having her trauma rehashed daily in tabloids) by naming names, and children to raise and she is already being vilified in the press.

I commend her on speaking up about her assault and for stating that her attacker was famous, even if she didn’t name him. All too often, male celebrities are viewed as being above reproach, Ms. Price’s disclosure reminds us that success and fame do not necessarily mean that a woman is safe with any particular man. It also challenges the perception that famous men do not rape because ‘they don’t have to force anyone’.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 1:34 pm

Sorry, haven’t got enough time at present to respond to all comments individually, but will try to later. But the main point of my arguement is not that she should have to from the outset name her assailant. If she wanted to keep that anonymous, that is fine. However, after suffering the media backlash following the initial revelations (something she claims not to have anticipated) she has continued to drip feed the media hints about her attacker’s identity. Why would she do this? This is what I find difficult to understand because she should either say who he is or not. This in itself has inflamed the media, and while she should not be subject to its scrutiny, as she lives almost every moment of her life on camera she must have anticipated the reaction. And to George, I can understand what you are saying, but unfortunately she has been subjected to this criticism – a form of this trial-by-media – anyway, but at least if it did go to court, despite prejudicial attitudes emanating from media coverage, her attacker would be rightly shamed (whether or not he was found guilty which, as you rightly say, he probably wouldn’t be). People are, unfortunately, doubting her motivations and her sincertiy, but at least if she was to now name her assailant (having already stated he is a famous celebrity – which she did of her own volition) at least then the right rapist would be exposed and she would regain a modicum of control over the situation. As it is innocent men are being accused of the crime, which is not fair and is unfortunately confirming the idea that “women falsely cry rape,” which does a tremendous disservice to Price and rape victims as a whole. I’m not saying that she should become a representative for all rape victims, but it’s not the case that she just came out and said she was raped. If that was the case then this discussion wouldn’t be taking place. She has said she was raped, then gone on to claim it was by a “famous celebrity” – she was not forced to comment on his identity. She made this claim two weeks after the initial revelation so she already knew it had been a controversial issue. I have never named and shamed the people who have hurt me, but if I speak about my hurt, I speak about the hurt, I don’t speculate about the identity of the person who hurt me, then refuse to reveal their identity when innocent people are likely to be publicly berated for something they haven’t done. I don’t think that this in any way means that Price should be denied the compassion and understanding that should be available to all rape victims, but I do believe the publicity surrounding this case, which has been inflamed by Price, will make it more difficult for some rape victims to come forward.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 1:38 pm

Gadgetgal I agree!

thebeardedlady // Posted 18 September 2009 at 2:01 pm

Abby, I truly cannot understand your attitude of blaming Price for muddying the issues here. Let’s face it, there is literally nothing she could do in this situation that would be ‘right’. If she names the rapist, she will be accused of lying and dragging an innocent man through the mud. If she doesn’t, she will be accused of lying and making things up to get attention. She literally cannot win in this situation. Isn’t it time to back off, and stop putting the responsibility for this onto Price? It’s not her fault she was raped and its not her fault that the mainstream media works in such an anti woman way.

You seem to assume that she has all this power in the situation, that she is inflaming a controversial issue, that this is somehow something she can and should take control of. Katie Price does not control what is said about her in the media, or the way the media treat these issues. To assume that because she at the heart of the story, in some way, that she has the ability to have this perspective, strikes me as foolish and naive. Yes, we who look on from the outside may think we can see the big picture, and understand the story and the situation in all its many ramifications, and in trying to make a coherent picture, we might think it would be better to do x rather than y. But it’s mad to think that Katie Price, stuck in the middle of all this, has this perspective and this ability to do something about it.

The problem with your article is that you focused on Price as the problem. She is not the problem. Patriarchy is the problem. A culture that perpetuates rape and violence against women, and simultaneously denies its existence, is the problem. A media which reflects that cultures priorities, and which paints women as liars and men as victims when it comes to rape, is the problem. Katie Price is not the problem, and it’s not up to her to solve the problem for you.

I am truly baffled and disappointed that such an article has appeared on this blog — I’ve seen articles in the media about this and they pretty much say the same thing as this one – Price is manipulative and it’s all her fault. What are you really adding to the debate here, except more of the same?

WildlyParenthetical // Posted 18 September 2009 at 2:29 pm

First of all, I simply cannot believe I am reading this on a feminist website. I really can’t. If you ask me, it doesn’t even fulfill the rules set for *comments*.

Second, I’m kinda horrified by how much responsibility is being laid at Price’s feet here. Apparently it’s *her* fault that the media is witch-hunting ‘innocent’ men; and that means that *she*, supposedly, is confirming the ‘women falsely accuse men of rape’ discourse (and her alleged confirmation of it matters way more politically, obviously, than all the media outlets who are bandying that motif about, or the legal system that created that fantasy in the first plac. Rly?). Because she ‘knows how the media works’; doesn’t this slippery-slope into a dozen other spaces: we *all* know how the world works. We *all* know that if you wear a low-cut top, you’re more likely to be sexually harassed, but as feminists, I thought we were all pretty aware that it’s not *women* who need to be adjusting their behaviour, but *men*. Why is Price responsible for the media’s behaviour? Why is Price responsible for a cowardly man who won’t take responsibility for his abominable actions (because really, how did the fact that all these ‘innocent’ men are being accused by the media become her responsibility, and not that of the rapist who won’t step forward)? Why is Price suddenly responsible for the situation she’s placed in by a crappy legal system that, in the end, judges that 6.5% of all rape claims are actually rape, and chases slander and libel down so swiftly?

There’s a lot of suggestion out there that if women want feminist change, they should be the ones to work for it. It comes mostly from those who are actually pretty happy with the status quo, and it ensures that those who are most vulnerable, and who have most to lose —by, for example, outing a man who will doubtless be unable to be convicted, which will probably lead to accusations of slander and lying, set atop the trauma of a court case—are the ones who pay, over and again. As if women don’t lose out enough within patriarchy, we’re then expected to be the ‘bigger person’, to give of ourselves, again, when we have already been made to give so much… Men ought not to rape. It is not women’s responsibility to stop them. And tbh, women who have been raped should put themselves first, because FFS, there are too few spaces in our society that will do it for them. Apparently even ‘feminist’ ones expect women to put others first. Yet again. As if the claim that ‘this time it’s for feminism, not for patriarchy’ changes who is made to do the work.

Kate // Posted 18 September 2009 at 2:29 pm

What happens if she names her attacker? Either he sues her for libel and the whole thing gets dragged through the courts and the media. Or she comes under pressure to officially report the rape and, again, be dragged through the courts and the media. The shocking rape conviction in this country combined with the behemoth that is Jordan mean that it is almost certain that he will not be found quilty and then the media will have free reign to paint her as a liar, probably with the added implication that all women lie about rape.

If I were Katie Price I would absolutely not try and take this to court and I would not name the attacker. Of course if I were Katie Price I also wouldn’t have taken the actions she has done to date. I am deeply uncomfotable with telling a rape victim how to behave but I do think this incredibly media savvy celebrity has handled this in a way that does seemed designed to boost her own reputation. This, I believe, is ultimitely damaging to other rape victims. She’s of course entitled to handle this however she likes, but I’m entitled to object to someone turning a violent crime against women into tabloid tittle-tattle.

micearenice // Posted 18 September 2009 at 2:47 pm

I find it hard to believe that Abby as a self defined ‘feminist’ does not grasp the concept that Katie should be able to deal with her rape in her own way. To add to the scrutiny of her action is down right irresponsible, particularly on a website where other survivors may turn to for support. I am disgusted.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 2:49 pm

“If I were Katie Price I would absolutely not try and take this to court and I would not name the attacker. Of course if I were Katie Price I also wouldn’t have taken the actions she has done to date. I am deeply uncomfotable with telling a rape victim how to behave but I do think this incredibly media savvy celebrity has handled this in a way that does seemed designed to boost her own reputation. This, I believe, is ultimitely damaging to other rape victims. She’s of course entitled to handle this however she likes, but I’m entitled to object to someone turning a violent crime against women into tabloid tittle-tattle.”

Hi Kate, I agree with what you’ve said, because the problem is that in the midst of this media frenzy the severity of rape as a violent crime committed against women is being lost which, as you say, is damaging to other rape victims.

Abby O'Reilly // Posted 18 September 2009 at 2:57 pm

Micearenice, I do grasp the concept that Price should be able to deal with her rape in her own way. That is not in question. But if she chooses to put her experiences into the public forum then they are going to be discussed. If she chooses to implicate a “famous celebrity” provoking, what she would have understood to be, a media witch hunt as the tabloids attempt to uncover the guilty man (dragging innocent men through the mud as they go) then this is damaging to rape victims as a whole, and is therefore worthy of discussion. I am not doubting that what happened to Price is awful and completely unacceptable, or that the media itself, in the pursuit of a story, has lost site of what her revelation should have really been about – sexual violence committed against women – but hers is, unfortuantely, a situation reminiscent of many thousands of women who refuse to speak about their experiences, locked in their own suffering, and I think this case will only make things more difficult for these women because it’s becoming nothing more than the topic of petty gossip columns, which is disgusting.

thebeardedlady // Posted 18 September 2009 at 2:59 pm

Kate – ‘boost her own reputation’? ‘incredibly media savvy’? Really? If she is so savvy, and so keen to boost her reputation, how come she didn’t realise that she was going to be absolutely villified in the press? They have taken her to pieces. The articles, including this one, and comments I have seen are more or less disgusting. I don’t see anyone ‘on her side’ — and I don’t see any boost to her reputation. She is a woman and she has said the magic words ‘I was raped’ — the words which mean everyone now has the presumed right to call her a liar and a manipulator and to laugh at and mock her appearance and to question her sexual history and her ability as a mother and partner. Way to go to boost your rep! Come on, that argument really doesn’t hold water. It makes no sense.

“I’m entitled to object to someone turning a violent crime against women into tabloid tittle-tattle.” Absolutely. But it’s not Katie Price who is doing this. In what world, in what way, could Katie Price say she had been raped and it *not* become tabloid gossip? In a non-patriarchal world only, I should think. So stop blaming her! I agree completely with Wildly Parenthetical’s comments about this. As feminists, we shouldn’t be sticking the boot in to rape survivors.


Kez // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:06 pm

At the risk of coming over all “what about the menz”, I actually do think this has some relevance. Inevitably when someone with the stratospheric tabloid profile of Katie Price says she has been raped by a “famous celebrity” then declines to say who, attention will immediately turn to anyone deemed a possible candidate and this will inevitably mean innocent men falling under suspicion. She must have known this would happen. Why specify that the person was a celebrity?

I am not minimising for a second the awfulness of rape, which is clearly worse than being suspected of a crime you didn’t commit. But the latter isn’t fair or pleasant, either. If Katie Price decides to continue dropping increasingly heavy hints about who it may or may not have been, is that absolutely fine, because suddenly nothing she says can be questioned?

Daniela Vincenti // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:12 pm

Dear Abby,

I agree that Katie Price should have either kept quiet or named the culprit, for the reasons you stated above. The option she chose could only have led to a media circus and being a savvy person she must have known it.

If she does name her aggressor, she would also have the option of taking the matter to court and he would have the option to sue for libel.

I would not, however, automatically believe her word over this alleged rapist just because she is the woman.

Laura // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:12 pm

I really don’t understand how Price not naming the rapist harms other rape survivors. By coming out and saying she was raped, she has already helped raise awareness that rape happens and, as another commenter pointed out, saying that it was a celeb shows that all kinds of men can rape.

Arguing that rape survivors should come forward and name their rapists to help prevent other women being victimised just places further blame on rape survivors for men’s choice to rape and pressurises women into doing something that could be harmful to them with only a very slight chance that the rapist will be found guilty and locked up. Sadly, I don’t think women would suddenly ostracise this guy (and so keep themselves safe[r]) because Katie Price says he’s a rapist; we are all – men and women – far too embedded in a a culture of rape myths to take her word as fact (or at least worthy of heeding).

The onus needs to be on changing public perceptions of rape survivors and male violence, not on pressurising survivors to take risks in an attempt to gain a justice which will most likely never appear.

Kate // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:16 pm

@thebearded lady – I don’t feel it’s appropriate to get massively into this, but Price first spoke about this after one of the tabloids had turned on her new boyfriend for acting out rape fantasies in a porn “film”. This was one of the first major hits hers “brand” had taken since the split and she explicitly linked her experiences to defending her boyfriend’s increasingly tarnished reputation.

micearenice // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:32 pm

Abby. Quite frankly I think your scrutiny of the way in which Katie chooses to respond to her rape on a site where many survivors will turn to for support is much more damaging than her choice to implicate a famous celebrity. The disgusting thing is that you do not seem to realise that by calling her actions in to question and making a public judgement about them on a feminist friendly space you are actively working against having a forum where survivors will feel comfortable about sharing their experiences and looking for support.

Rita // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:34 pm

Just to clarify, it’s not Abby’s story that i find bothering, it’s the way the katie’s story came out and how it has been turned into entertainment generally while missing the seriousness and implications.

WildlyParenthetical // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:35 pm

Ah, silly me. Clearly the only rape survivors who deserve support are those who behave in ways that we approve of/further the ‘feminist’ cause. I see the light now.

Seriously, people, I can’t believe this is even up for debate. At every turn, Price is being expected to be beyond reproach in a world that has set itself up so that a rape survivor can *never* be beyond reproach. But the world itself gets off scot free, while no matter what she does, there’s always something else she should have done, or shouldn’t have done, or should have taken into account, or shouldn’t have. Her motives have to be pure, and legal, and good for other women, and… whatever else. When the only reason we’re even having this conversation is that an abominably violent act was done to her, as it is done to so many other women. And what are we teaching these other women? If you want the support of feminists, make sure your behaviour cannot be questioned in any way; cannot possibly lead to someone else accusing innocent men; cannot possibly lead to someone else accusing you of making it up; cannot possibly be seen as having an agenda; cannot possibly be seen as selfish rather than selfless. I am flabbergasted.

Laura // Posted 18 September 2009 at 3:45 pm

Katie Price is the most successful woman in the UK. If a rapist can get away with raping our leader then what chance the rest of us ? If the rapist is, as reported, a serial womaniser, then the police should mount a sting operation. If they wont then we could hire a Private investigator to do so.

The Daily Record reports the rapist is Scottish,


Are Scottish rape laws the same as in England ?

BareNakedLady // Posted 18 September 2009 at 4:06 pm

Katie has shown a complete lack of judgement in thinking that the media would not immediately jump all over her for saying that she was raped. And a further complete lack of judgement for, as Abby says, “drip-feeding” further titbits of information which can be used to keep this as supposedly newsworthy. After all that’s exactly what tabloids love – a big story followed by some exciting hints followed by (they are all hoping) a big revelation, huge scandal, court battle etc. The media interest is sick, and I’m astonished that Katie claims that she did not see it coming.

*But that does not make her responsible for the media*. They are the ones salivating all over this, giving free rein to every sexist bullshit myth about rape that you can think of. They’ve already delighted in examining her clothes/relationships/sex life/etc – this is news which (in their own eyes) effectively justifies all this interest, all over again. It’s a sick society where someone can’t confess to being a victim of crime without being blamed for the crime, blamed for talking about it, blamed for not talking about it more, accused of lying, and no doubt more.

What would happen if she did name the man? The media wouldn’t quiet down and go away – they would want to know when, where, what she was wearing, why she didn’t manage to fight him off, why she didn’t name him sooner, whether she was in a relationship with him, whether she continued to be in a relationship with him, who she told at the time – every detail they can get. And every answer she gave to those questions, no matter what they were, would give the media more fuel with which to make up more stories about what *she* did wrong.

But again, this is not Price’s fault. It’s not her fault that we live in a world where rape is treated as tabloid fodder. And she shouldn’t be expected to try and fix it.

Rita // Posted 18 September 2009 at 4:18 pm

This country is so good at sweeping things under the carpet. If people do not see the seriousness and implications of HOW Katie’s story broke out, then rape victims are in trouble. Abby’s view clearly highlighted the problem, and seriousness. When people start saying, ‘oh well, it happened to all of us, and we haven’t complained’, isn’t that worrying? Why re enforce it?

Kez // Posted 18 September 2009 at 4:21 pm

I don’t think Katie Price, or anyone else, has to be “above reproach” in order to be taken seriously. However, I equally don’t see why the fact that (precipitated, as far as I can see, by criticism of her boyfriend’s role in a film) she has stated that she is a rape survivor should suddenly mean that any public action or statement she now makes – however damaging to other people that may be – is beyond criticism because “that might be her way of dealing with it”.

Not being an avid reader of OK magazine, I don’t know what was said in the original column. Anyone got a link?

Arran // Posted 18 September 2009 at 4:42 pm

I agree with WP. there is touch of the demand she set herself up as an ‘example.’ It is almost as though people are expecting her to be a feminist martyr.

Claire // Posted 18 September 2009 at 4:52 pm

I hope that others here are making the best of the situation and refuting disgusting comments they hear from people around them. Hearing my own mother say “oh well look at what she wears, I’m certainly not surprised she was raped”… Don’t accept comments like those, use the opportunity. Let’s get people thinking.

thebeardedlady // Posted 18 September 2009 at 5:43 pm


This, from WildlyParenthetical: “If you want the support of feminists, make sure your behaviour cannot be questioned in any way; cannot possibly lead to someone else accusing innocent men; cannot possibly lead to someone else accusing you of making it up; cannot possibly be seen as having an agenda; cannot possibly be seen as selfish rather than selfless.”

I’m not trying to explore Price’s motives in my comments – I am trying to explore *your* motives, and expose *your* arguments for what I think they are – i.e. blaming the victim. You don’t like the way Price has gone about this, so you feel justified in accusing her of making things worse for women and accusing her of manipulation because she’s just not the kind of rape victim you’d like her to be. I’m saying Price is being absolutely villified in the press because of this, and that *you* are doing nothing but joining in the pointing and name-calling. I hoped that by trying to show where your stated argument is nonsensical, that you might begin to question some of your assumptions. I also hoped that in discussing it on your terms it would shine some light for anyone reading and not commenting. All your argument adds up to is a sophisticated way of calling Price a manipulator, expecting her to take the blame and all the responsibility, too. I wish now that I hadn’t engaged with you in quite this way, as you seem to think that by coming out with more examples meant to demonstrate Price’s inherent badness and untrustworthiness, you are doing anything other than just name-calling and blaming.

Daniela Vincenti // Posted 18 September 2009 at 6:09 pm

To further expand on my comment before, Katie Price had many options available to her:

She could have first of all kept quiet, and obviously nobody would have criticised her. She could have just said she had been a victim of rape and left it there, without saying he was a celebrity and dropping further hints. She could have fully come out and mentioned his name with all the possible legal ramifications I mentioned previously. Again both of these would have been valid options and nobody would have criticised her.

However what she did is cast suspicion over a circumscribed and relatively small number of men (celebrities that have come in contact with her). I believe this is not the correct course and the fact that she has been the victim of a horrible crime does not abdicate her from behaving responsibly. I feel it is reasonable to discuss these issues in a public forum.

“And while John Leslie, following a trial, was found to be not guilty, his career was absolutely ruined and he is known nationally as a rapist.”

Abby could you please explain this further. You seem to imply that a man cleared from a charge of rape by a court of law should still be considered a rapist. I would interpret that as borderline defamatory.

Franny // Posted 18 September 2009 at 6:13 pm

Wildly Parenthetical and Bare Naked Lady, EXACTLY! Excellently put.

Abby, I am sure you mean/meant well, but I don’t believe you thought through some of your arguments. It’s okay – we’ve all been guilty of that and will be in future. Me for sure. But if we can look again and think again, that always helps. Reading TFW has certainly made me think again about a lot of things.

Bertrand Russell said ‘Some people would rather die than think’. That’s true of the stupid media and a lot of people out there.

You’re not one of them!

BP // Posted 18 September 2009 at 6:25 pm

I’m actually shocked to see a post like this here, and I’m really glad Laura Woodhouse and others are pointing out how deeply problematic this attitude is. The Curvature has just posted a response (http://thecurvature.com/2009/09/18/protecting-your-safety-while-speaking-out-is-not-irresponsible/) and said this:

“Katie Price has already done more than a vast majority of celebrities who are also rape survivors will ever, ever do. The media reaction has undoubtedly only ensured that even fewer will. That is enough. That is more than enough, and it is brave. And she didn’t owe it to me. She didn’t owe it to you. She didn’t owe it to anybody, and she certainly doesn’t owe us more now.”

Franny // Posted 18 September 2009 at 6:31 pm

P.S. Sorry, I meant to say ‘thebeardedlady’! Why did I say Bare Nekkid Lady?! Any psychologists out there?

Abby, I also think your post and the comments prove just how hard it can be to really think stuff through given all the twisted misogynist bullshit that is out there. It affects us all, often without us even realising it. Insidious. Your feminist heart is in the right place!

Racheal // Posted 18 September 2009 at 7:17 pm

I don’t think it is fair that Abby gets a backlash. The only reason her side is faulted is because it’s not feminist enough. But after reading through the comments, it just confirms the complicatedness of the rape process. Things are not straight 4ward anymore, the celebrities are always unquestionable, and why?? Actually i just feel that even no other feminist here is any help to rape victims practically. All i can say, i’ll never tell my child to stay silent. TV is a bad thing i guess.

Annika // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:10 pm

I must say, I am incredibly shocked to see something like this on here.

I don’t see why it would benefit Katie Price to name and shame the rapist, if she doesn’t want to. To be honest, I think this has all become some kind of media frenzy, and people are eager to know the next bit of ‘gossip’.

I’ve volunteered on a rape and sexual violence helpline. I would never, ever say “Oh, but you must report it so you can save other women”. Why put that responsibility on the victim? Haven’t they got enough to deal with? Katie Price is a victim/survivor of rape, and she has dealt with it in a way she feels comfortable with.

If she did name the rapist, what on earth do you think will happen. Is he going to say, “Hey, yeah it was me”??? Of course not, he will deny it.

Either way, she can’t win. If she names him,the press will have her down as a liar who is accusing an innocent man, and will get on with their usual “Women cry rape” crap. If she doesn’t name him, the press will have her down as a liar who is accusing an innocent man, and will get on with their usual “Women cry rape” crap. Same all round.

Sabre // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:45 pm

It’s very brave of Katie Price to admit to being raped in the first place, knowing the crap she’d get from sections of the public. To be criticised for not wanting to name her attacker, on a FEMINIST website, is pretty shocking. Heaven forbid she keep some small part of her life private!

This article is harsh and lacking in compassion and I’m really quite sad now.

Rosie, Bournemouth // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:46 pm

While I believe that Katie Price was raped, because it is beyond vile to lie about rape, I think the timing is all a little convenient. Her new book comes out next month and how convenient that she’s leaking tantalising titbits are her personal life to the press.

First it’s a rape she’s not talking about….then a seperate day it’s a celebrity….then she’s refusing to discuss it…now the police are getting involved. What a classic way of exploiting a situation to gain as much column inches as possible reminding us all of her presence in the build up to her book release. And also when you’ve got bad press nothing helps as much as the sympathy vote! Because nobody can slag off a rape victim, right?

I’m sorry but I am more than happy too. As a teenager I was trapped in a violent relationship when I was much too young to really see it for what it was or even think about the gravity of the situation but looking back I can see that men who commit violent and sexual attacks often do it more than once. If we look at relevant statistics you’ll see an obvious trend of repeat offending.

While I myself was not a rape victim merely a battered girlfriend so can’t completely relate I think if you are happy to tell the nation you are a rape victim you can tell the police the man’s name. Ok, most cases don’t make it to the courts due to CPS that mark is on that person’s record then and if somebody else comes forward it adds gravity to their allegations.

At the end of the day Katie Price represents a role model to alot of women and more importantly girls and she sends out completely the wrong message. She sends out a message that a) Men will get away with rape because women won’t report it and that it’s fine not to report these things just because…if she said I emotionally couldn’t cope with seeing my rapist face to face again in court or reliving the experience again then I’d be alot more sympathetic but if that is the case why is she dredging it up and feeding it to the media?

and b) By creating a media circus she trivialises what is actually an extremely serious and disgusting crime that is committed aganst women often and ignored rather than dealt with society.

I’m sorry but if she did one interview and said that she had been raped and all that I wouldn’t be so offended but I think creating a media circus around a sexual crime allegation is disgusting, immoral and irresponsible.

Shea // Posted 18 September 2009 at 11:49 pm

WildlyParenthetical has nailed this, as far as I’m concerned. Its not up to Price to be an example to anyone. It is her right, as it is the right of every victim to deal with what happened in their own way. There is so much skulking misogyny in this post it is unreal. As WP puts it-

“the only rape survivors who deserve support are those who behave in ways that we approve of/further the ‘feminist’ cause”

This is exactly the virgin/whore dichotomy that feminists have been fighting for years. So only if you are virginal, pure, “deserving” and prepared to put your own privacy and happiness (plus mental health) on the line to further the feminist cause (which one?) are you worthy of support. That is utterly sickening.

This “It’s the automatic assumption that the rights of the individual outweigh the rights of society at large in all cases – in this instance Katie Price’s right to state what she wants, when she wants to, with no evidence and no thought to the repercussions for others whatsoever” is bitterly ironic.

She is maintaining the anonymity of her rapist (she absolutely shouldn’t have to)– how does this constitute having no thought for the repercussions for others?

What rights of society? Are women not part of society? What about their rights to be free from rape?! What about their rights of restitution and justice?!? And now it is her fault that we live in a thoroughly misogynistic society, it is her fault that so many women do not report rape, precisely because they fear the viciousness and brutal judgement currently being exhibited towards Price!

(We don’t accept the transgender crap from Germaine Greer, because it is BS. It is a completely separate issue to attack her for being a rape victim, which is what people are doing to Price).

The rights of the individual and the rights of society (whatever these are) dovetail in this case anyhow– any offence against the person is an offence against society and the crown (this is why criminal prosecution take places in the name of the crown, R v Smith, (R for Regina, her majesty) for example). But there is no legal or moral obligation to pursue a prosecution, and on the evidence so far it is extremely unlikely that Price would be able to secure a conviction for her attacker.

There is also a case to make about the tyranny of the majority. As those who work with asylum seekers, or trans activists can tell you, sometimes the rights of the minority have to be protected from the majority for a society to be civilised and democratic. As WildlyParenthetical put it- why are you demanding that those who are most vulnerable, and who have most to lose, pay time and time again? You are asking that they stand on the front-line and take all of the body blows, for you and all of us, but you are not willing to give them your support or sympathy for doing so?

Frankly I couldn’t be that cruel.

WildlyParenthetical // Posted 19 September 2009 at 12:40 am

It’s not that I think that Katie Price is beyond critique because she was raped. It’s not about the other side being ‘not feminist enough’. It’s about how this critique is played out. Price is being held responsible for a) the media’s behaviour, b) for perpetuating the myth that ‘women lie about rape’ (somehow), c) for not behaving in what we consider a ‘perfect’ way, d) for not having ‘pure’ enough motives (oh no, don’t *use* your rape to protect a loved one) e) for accusing innocent men (which she hasn’t done at all?). The point is, there’s a politics to critique: who is being made to take responsibility for this situation? And according to Abby, it ought to be Katie Price. Not the misogynist media. Not the man who actually did rape her—and who *could* speak up now, who *could* put all the media furore to rest, who *could ensure that innocent men aren’t blamed. Not the discursive world that has made it possible to think a woman is lying when she makes a rape accusation. I don’t understand how holding Katie Price responsible for the actions of a patriarchal world, and expecting her to take responsibility for them, is feminist critique. I just don’t see it. I understand that these situations are complicated, and this piece *could* have been written about the impossible situation she’s been placed in by a world that simply can’t deal with rape, or rape allegations; instead, she’s effectively being told that her choice is between complete exposure, which as BareNakedLady points out above, is what the media would insist on, or keeping silent, because otherwise it’s her responsibility that the world might punish innocent men, or perpetuate myths about other women.

In holding Katie Price, this one individual, responsible for the situation, you obscure the patriarchal context that always does hold women responsible for their own oppression; which always treats women as if, if they had just been a little wiser, thought a little harder, been a little more of a paragon of virtue, worn the right clothing, said the right words, predicted someone else’s reaction to their actions/words (the rightness or wrongness of that reaction being irrelevant, somehow), they wouldn’t have been raped/oppressed/whatever. And in this sense, you hold an individual woman responsible for systemic injustice, and obscure that system. This is the politics of your critique, and yeah, I honestly don’t think it’s feminist. When you hold women responsible for the shitty situation a misogynist world puts them in, well, that’s incredibly problematic. And I’ll say so, over and over (and I am).

(Also, wot thebeardedlady sed! :-))

BareNakedLady // Posted 19 September 2009 at 12:43 am

Franny said:

P.S. Sorry, I meant to say ‘thebeardedlady’! Why did I say Bare Nekkid Lady?! Any psychologists out there?

Aww, I got all excited thinking you meant me. :P

From Abby’s original post:

While Price now feels able to speak about what happened to her, making the claim in a national publication, maintaining the anonymity of her attacker is not only inconsistent, but also downright irresponsible.It perpetuates the idea that rape is part of the male privilege, positioning guilty men above puishment, and suggests that female victims should consider their attacks something that they must just quietly accept.

Re-reading this, I do kind of agree with part of Abby’s original point. I don’t think any actual good has come of Price saying that the man was a ‘famous celebrity’ – to say that and then not to name him could be seen as inconsistent and implying that the protection of anonymity is due to this man because of his fame. But ultimately I think greater harm lies in trying to imply that there is a right way to deal with having been raped.

polly // Posted 19 September 2009 at 9:15 am

Pink Zoe Realm – In fact I think that a lot of those commenting on here will have experienced rape or sexual assault themselves.

I don’t think that means we should blame Katie Price for social attitudes to women who are raped. These attitudes would still exist even if Katie Price didn’t.

Mary // Posted 19 September 2009 at 11:34 am

This is disgusting. To suggest that there is a set script that someone who is a victim of rape has to follow is just disgusting. In particular, to suggest that Katie Price’s choice not to name her attacker is the single impediment to a rapist being tried and convicted suggests a culpable level of naivety about how the UK justice system treats rapists.

Don’t like the way the media are speculating about Who It Could Be? Blame the media, and in particular the editors and newspaper owners who pay journalists to write articles that will increase their circulation.

Don’t like the message that is sent out that women who are victims of rape won’t get justice? Blame the justice system.

Don’t like the fact that there’s a rapist out there who probably isn’t going to get brought to justice? Again, blame the justice system.

But don’t blame the victim. It’s absolutely disgusting. It is blaming the victim that prevents women from coming forward to name attackers and fight for justice, so you are really, really not part of the solution here.

Laura Doherty // Posted 19 September 2009 at 3:28 pm

I totally agree with thebeardedlady and wildlyparenthetical about this: The person who raped Katie Price caused and should be held accountable for every subsequent repercussion that has happened since. Katie Price has lead her life candidly in the press, but she does not run the press; she may be experienced at dealing with the press but she does not control it, on the contrary, she is manipulated by the press.

If she felt the need to mention something which did happen i.e. having been raped, and then went on to state another truth i.e. he is a famous celebrity, how dare anyone twist her admission (whether it is only part of the story or not) into the duty for harbouring the responsibility for the damage that may insue?

Why are people not focusing their disapproval and anger on the perpetrator of the rape, or indeed the ruthless profit obsessed press, who are in actual fact the ones who have caused this?

Katie Price is allowed to state a truth about something traumatic that happened in her life and say as much or as little as she wants. This happened *to her*, against her will and it is not fair to blame the repercussions on her, even if one of those repercussions was that some damaging words that came from her mouth.

Anna // Posted 19 September 2009 at 8:11 pm

‘As a Person who at the age of 8 had an attempted rape in a Public place I feel I’m the best at the mo to say any thing on the subject on Katie Price & her Very Immature attempt at head line grabbing’

I’ve survived two ‘completed’ rapes in public places and I don’t think she should feel the need to do anything. Noone is ‘best placed’ to comment, we shouldnt comment at all. What we have been through isn’t relevant, it’s what she has been through and how she should feel able to deal with it. And I firmly believe that is exactly how she pleases – as every woman should.

saranga // Posted 20 September 2009 at 8:07 pm

Katie Price has a responsibility to herself and no one else. She know show to deal with the rape, she knows her own circumstances.

What the hell gives anyone else the right to tell her what to do or how to act?

I don’t give a damn if the media start speculating on who raped her – that’s the media’s fault, not hers.

Catherine // Posted 21 September 2009 at 5:52 am

To me, Katie Price’s antics (going back a long way) reveal that she is a very troubled woman who has a poor self-image. Discussion of how she should or shouldn’t conduct herself as an alleged rape victim is purely academic and unconstructive, because she clearly has some very serious issues and needs professional help. I hope that she gets it, and I hope her alleged rapist is able to be brought to justice, because otherwise there can be no happy ending to this story.

Raped a few times // Posted 21 September 2009 at 1:02 pm

I have reported two serious sexual assaults to the police. One an attempted rape and attempted murder, one a marital rape. Neither resulted in a conviction and the suffering I feel goes on and continues to have an impact on many parts of my life. If I hadn’t felt a sense of responsibility I wouldn’t have reported either rape. In the first instance, it was to protect the rapist’s next victims whoever they should be, and in the second instance, to protect my children as the rapist was their father. Rape has left me with such feelings of worthlessness that I see no point in retribution or criminal justice for my own sake. Which is sad, but a common feeling. Rape leaves you feeling ashamed sometimes, and like your psychology is everyone’s property – so that I was told I “ought” to feel dirty, ought to feel guilty etc. Once you start down a path of notifying people that you have been raped, I think you need to continue down that path. It is a woman’s choice either to go public or stay private about a rape. I am grateful to all the women who go public. THose that stay private allow rapists to get away with it and to attack again. Yes, reporting rape is not that easy, but reported it should be – to the proper channels. It is a woman’s duty to all fellow women to report a crime that impacts us all.

I know I’ll be shouted down for saying all this, but if the victim doesn’t treat the rape as the serious crime it is and report it to the police then how can we carry on bleating about how “society” doesn’t treat this as a serious crime. It is your duty to report crime, the failure for which is the continuance of the rape.

thebeardedlady // Posted 21 September 2009 at 5:47 pm

Hi Rapedafewtimes, definitely not wanting to ‘shout you down’, but I don’t agree that not reporting rapes is what perpetuates the continuance of rape – I think rapists themselves who are reponsible for rape.

I too have also been raped on more than one occasion. Unlike you, I didn’t report it and I am sure that both the men who raped me went on to rape again. If it happened now, I might feel differently, maybe, but at the time I was not in a position to go to the police, did not feel confident enough to want to go through the possible ordeal of a rape trial, just really wanted to forget about it and get on with my life.

I didn’t feel at the time, and don’t feel now, that my reporting either of these rapes would have made the slightest bit of difference. I didn’t feel that anyone would have believed me and I still don’t. It was my decision and while the rest of the world might condemn me for it, I hope that fellow feminists would support me and not try to make me feel ashamed or guilty for not doing things differently.

I agree with all those who are saying, blame the rapist/blame the media/blame the justice system – don’t blame the victim. I think that no matter how you might try to twist this argument, Abby, you have very seriously missed the point and gone for absolutely the wrong target here. And it bothers me, too, that this article is meant to be a feminist critique. Also your follow up comments. I hope that the comments here from WildlyParenthetical, Shea and others will make you think about this from a different point of view.

Anna // Posted 21 September 2009 at 7:09 pm

I reported and it got ‘no-crimed’ (as far as I can tell, I didnt pay too much attention at the time – I know they both got verbal warnings). I was also asked by the police that ‘didnt I think I was sending out ‘those’ sortds of signals’ and ‘what did I think would happen’ – until the police did that, I wasnt blaming myself. It was a long awful downward spiral after that.

I also reported the man who abused me as a child to the police. That wasn’t followed up either, and merely resulted in half the family not speaking to the other half and at least one divorce. My niece, who is seven, still stays at his house.

Responsibility lies with the rapist. not us.

Daniela Vincenti // Posted 21 September 2009 at 7:52 pm

“I don’t give a damn if the media start speculating on who raped her – that’s the media’s fault, not hers.”

Well saranga perhaps you might give a damn if it was your husband being dragged through the mud.

I agree that the media is also to blame but Katie Price knew this would be the inevitable outcome. Therefore I still think it was irresponsible for her to say he was a celebrity and then not give his name.

That said, I obviously sympathise with the trauma and ordeal that she has gone through and the fact that she is generally raising awareness on this issue is a positive.

Kez // Posted 21 September 2009 at 8:35 pm

I agree, Daniela.

I do not think she is under any obligation to name him. But I do think she should refrain from dropping hints about who it *might* be (e.g. “it’s a famous celebrity”). I fail to see how this helps anybody, except the newspapers to sell papers.

Rape Victim // Posted 21 September 2009 at 11:12 pm

I think all of you who are complaining that reporting isn’t worth the hassle are missing the point. If we don’t report, we are admitting defeat. We are letting men get away with it. You might say that’s each woman’s individual choice (and I absolutely acknowledge that reporting can be soul-destroying) but if you don’t report, you are complicit in a culture that allows men to get away with it. If a woman is raped, doesn’t speak about it and her friend is raped by the same man next week, of course the man is guilty of two rapes, but would you really be selfish enough to say the first woman owed nothing as a citizen to help prevent further crimes. How would you feel witnessing the suffering of the second victim? Feminism to me means equality in terms of creating and adhering to principles that help us thrive in a society. It doesn’t mean “I have rights and no duties”. Thank you very much to all those brave and heroic women who HAVE reported rapes, and faced disinterest, disbelief, ostracism and blame. You did the right thing. If no one complains, rapists will walk free to rape again.

I don’t buy all this self-righteous rubbish about who on this site is more idealogically feminist than the other. Have we learned nothing about the negative impact of oneupMANship? Don’t listen to oneupWOMANship about what true feminism means as if there is some ridiculous fascist notion of the pure feminism that precludes the rest of us from commenting.

saranga // Posted 22 September 2009 at 12:05 am

But Daniela, ‘a famous celebrity’ means nothing. There are thousands of famous celebrities in the UK. How are we to know who it was? I think the media shouldn’t speculate because they have no idea who it could be. how can anyone know except the 2 involved?

I also think that you cannot hold Katie accountable for media speculation, which is what I think some people in the thread are saying.

And yes I would care if a male friend/partner/relative was accused (falsely or not). but if they were famous and the media had speculated and was falslely accusing them, I’d like to think i’d put the blame on the media, not the victim.

gadgetgal // Posted 22 September 2009 at 9:12 am

Hi again – final comment here, because I think twice is enough.

I must admit after reading this thread and reading a few others on this blog I started to feel a little disillusioned, a lot of which has been down to the negative comments made to women taking various positions on this issue. It seems that the automatic position for everyone to take is “if that person doesn’t agree with me then they can’t be a feminist”, which is as offensive as it is ridiculous. People will always have differences in opinions, that’s just life, not feminism, and belittling them for it doesn’t help, it’ll just make them angry and walk away, thereby striking yet another blow for rape culture and the patriarchy.

After reading Raped a few times and Rape Victim I’ve now got a glimmer of hope back – thank you for being that strong, you’re the bravest people I’ve come across in a blog in a while. And you’re right, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to try and eradicate rape and violence against women. Talking is great, but it only gets you so far – action is what counts.

I’ve also got to mention responsibility – on a few of these blogs I’ve noticed that blame is accorded (quite correctly) to the rapist, or to the men who won’t listen, or to the government who do nothing to help, etc. etc., and I even read one note that said “the responsibility to change lies with them, not me” – the problem with that is they’re the ones who like things the way they are, therefore they WON’T. And us sitting back doing nothing is as good as saying they’re right – we may not be to blame but unfortunately the responsibility DOES lie with us, because no one else is going to do it for us!

So, at the end of all of this, I’m still somewhere in the middle on this topic – I DON’T think Katie Price has any obligation to name her attacker, however I DO believe she’s acted very badly and damagingly and that we shouldn’t whitewash that away because she’s had a bad time of it – we’ve all had bad things happen to us, it doesn’t mean that if we do something wrong or stupid no one should say anything!

thebeardedlady // Posted 22 September 2009 at 10:40 am

Dear Rape Victim, it’s funny how I only ever hear this argument in relation to rape. If a man is mugged in the street and he doesn’t report it, do we hold him responsible for the future actions of the mugger? Do we really? I honestly don’t think that we do. I have known people who have been victims of many kinds of crimes and have not reported it to the police – including violent crimes. But the only time I’ve ever heard anyone say the victim is responsible for the actions of the criminal is in the case of rape.

There are many, many, many good reasons for not reporting a rape to the police. We know that rape victims aren’t believed (see the blog post about the police not recording rape reports), we know that if there is enough evidence for it to go to court, the woman will be put through a nightmare ordeal, her family will have to go through it with her, and the rapist will highly likely get off scot free. Can you really blame women for not wanting to report rape? Instead of pressurising women to take responsibility, why not put your efforts into campaigning against the anti-woman structures that make women fearful of reporting rape? If we knew we’d get a fair hearing and there was a good chance of justice, I think there would be a lot more reports. Maybe *then* it would make sense to encourage women to report rape. Note that I say encourage – not pressurise or guilt trip or emotionally blackmail.

Don’t forget, as well, that women often blame themselves for being raped. We have a whole culture which says things like ‘she got herself raped’ and ‘what did she expect, silly girl’. Rape victims often feel that they did provoke their rapist by being dressed sexily, being out late, being drunk, ‘leading him on’ etc. It can take a lot of time and effort to get over the idea that it’s your fault. If you blame yourself, how are you in a position to go to the police to report a crime?

No. No. No.

The reasons why women don’t report rape are the same reasons why women get raped – the anti-woman culture we live in that says women are there for men’s pleasure and their bodies are public property. We have to challenge this culture and its expressions in the legal system – and stop blaming the victim. Please.

Kez // Posted 22 September 2009 at 11:10 am

There can’t be THAT many celebrities who have been linked in some way with Katie Price, though. Inevitably the finger of suspicion is going to point at certain people who are known to have dated her, or whatever.

sianmarie // Posted 22 September 2009 at 12:35 pm

i didn’t get victim blaming from abby’s post.

what the real issue is, the deep and troubling issue, is that people don’t believe women who are raped.

and this issue is bigger than katie price. as i said, it is a shame, it is so sad that she won’t name her rapist because it reminds us how hopeless the current conviction rate of rapes is. that’s what i keep coming back to in my head. it isn’t her “responsibility” to name her rapist and “save” oterh women, of course not. it is just so desperately sad that 1 in 4 women wll find themselves in her shoes, and most of them won’t name the rapist because people don’t believe women who are raped.

it just makes me so sad, and angry. not with her, but with rapists, the sexist media and the failings within the judicial system.

for want of a beter phrase, it totally sucks.

Kate // Posted 23 September 2009 at 10:29 am

To move things on from the very atypical case that is Katy Price, I think there’s a risk of complacency around the poor reporting figures. Yes, it’s great that feminists are aware of the reasons why women do not report to the police and we should definitely continue to lobby to ensure that resources can reach victims who do not pursue criminal justice options. But does that mean we should be happy that women in general do not go to the police? No, we should challenge this. This doesn’t mean placing some sort of moral obligation on women to report but we should empower them to do so. It is absolutely right that we raise the appalling way the police deal with rape reports, but I think we have to be careful not to deter women from speaking out. We shouldn’t talk about “reasons not to report” but acknowledge and fight against the barriers that there are to reporting. Women fought hard to have rape recognised as a serious offence and we should definitely continue to push the message that women have a right to pursue justice and be taken seriously and treated with respect while doing so.

And back to Katie Price, she named her rapist during the shooting of her reality TV show. The crew all know and various tabloids claim to as well.

Laura // Posted 23 September 2009 at 10:34 am

For some reason I only just thought of this, but we should remember that women have been prosecuted and convicted for making false accusations when the police and courts did not believe their stories: yet another reason why the decision to go to the police is such a tough one to make.

Qubit // Posted 23 September 2009 at 11:02 am

When you say up to 1 in 4 women will be raped is this a self definition by the women or another definition? I have never been in the scenario myself however I have often talked to people who I would define as being raped but they just considered it something that happens. While I can see this attitude is damaging I can also see how it allows an individual to protect themselves. However for some sense of scale I would be interested in whether someone who had sex against their will but didn’t count it as rape would factor into the statistic.

Rape Victim // Posted 23 September 2009 at 5:14 pm

Dear Gadgetgal

Thanks for getting what I was saying. I feel proud of having reported the sexual offences against me. Of course, it’s not nice (and that’s an understatement) to be part of the statistics with no obvious benefit such as direct criminal justice, victim support, compensation etc coming back to me because of my reporting of these crimes. I do not subscribe to the view that I should only do something because there is a direct benefit to me.

Laura, you say “women have been prosecuted and convicted for making false accusations when the police and courts did not believe their stories: yet another reason why the decision to go to the police is such a tough one to make”. The standard of proof for criminal conviction is “beyond reasonable doubt”. If a woman has alleged rape and been proved BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT to have fabricated the incident, let her go to jail. She is letting us all down, has committed a crime and deserves to go to jail. If you know of anyone in prison currently whom you believe to have been wrongly convicted of false rape allegation, name them – their name will be in the public domain anyway. I’ll look into the case and contribute £500 initially for legal fees to assess the chances of an appeal or pardon, rising to £1,000 as the case progresses. I mean it, so please do blog about anyone you know to have been wrongly convicted.

Dear Bearded Lady

You suggest I am “holding a woman responsible for the future actions of a mugger/rapist”. I am not, and did not say that. But what I did say is that “women who did not report are complicit in a culture that allows men to get away with it”. I am holding each woman, all women, responsible for failure to support (and improve) the criminal justice system. Criminals commit crimes and are responsible for crimes. But society as a whole convicts criminal acts and is responsible for the criminal justice system. You are part of that society. We have a duty to protect society, each other, by trial, incarceration, punishment and eventually rehabilitation of offenders. A victim’s role is to report. There are roles for others in her rehabilitiation too and these roles are very sadly neglected and need more funding and support. If my next door neighbour got burgled, and didn’t say anything, then I got burgled by teh same person, aren’t I entitled to be miffed at the neighbour as well as at the burglar? If all we were meant to do was take care of matters in our own backyard, who would campaign for anyone other than themselves? How many serial rapists get away with it for too long?

I am not saying reporting rape is not an ordeal. I am not saying going to court is not an ordeal. (Get a scrip of diazepam, take a friend, expect to feel lousy afterwards, but do it).

I am fine with the call to arms for more campaigning (as I already have done) on improvements to Sexual Assault Referral Centres, the Home Office consultation on violence against women, the Fawcett’s Society’s campaign, the lobbying to increase funding to Rape Crisis. We need all of this. We need proper mental health care for rape victims. We should be doing all these things. But none of these things detract from the argument I first put forward that society needs women to report rape.

There are lots of reasons that deter women from reporting rape, but we won’t stand a cat in hell’s chance of lessening the awful toll of rape if we don’t use every resource including the criminal justice system to combat it.

Shea // Posted 23 September 2009 at 9:56 pm

@ Rape Victim

“The standard of proof for criminal conviction is “beyond reasonable doubt”. If a woman has alleged rape and been proved BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT to have fabricated the incident, let her go to jail. She is letting us all down, has committed a crime and deserves to go to jail.”

The burden of proof for rape convictions is also beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore are you also suggesting that every man convicted of rape is guilty, that no man ever convicted of a sexual assault or rape was innocent? If so why are so many people bleating on about “the poor innocent menz, falsely accused etc”. You have just said- the justice system never gets it wrong, so what are they afraid of?

Incidentally, can we clear up the false allegations ruining a man’s life etc. There is no more false reporting of rapes than there is for other crime, and secondly it doesn’t appear to have hurt the careers or lives of Roman Polanski (I think this was actually a case or rape, rather than a false report) Errol Flynn, Mike Tyson (actually convicted of rape) and Paul Weller.

I would also like to reiterate the point made by thebeardedlady: “but the only time I’ve ever heard anyone say the victim is responsible for the actions of the criminal is in the case of rape”.

This is two fold, for being the victim and also now you are blaming them more generally for not reporting the case.

You say: “criminals commit crimes and are responsible for crimes. But society as a whole convicts criminal acts and is responsible for the criminal justice system. You are part of that society. We have a duty to protect society, each other, by trial, incarceration, punishment and eventually rehabilitation of offenders. A victim’s role is to report.”

But this is wrong. The role of the criminal justice system is protect us and our property and to seek justice on our behalf. An individual CANNOT bring a criminal case against their attacker. It is impossible in the English justice system. As I pointed out before, criminal cases are brought BY THE CROWN. The offence is against the CROWN via a subject of the crown, not the individual herself. This is an inherent part of the social contract, it is why we give the powers and privileges to the police and the courts that we do. They are the ones failing us here, not the rape victims.

“If my next door neighbour got burgled, and didn’t say anything, then I got burgled by teh same person, aren’t I entitled to be miffed at the neighbour as well as at the burglar?”

This is a poor analogy for many reasons, not least because you are comparing a property crime with an offence against a person. But also you are assuming that even if the neighbour reported this that you would not have been burgled. As we can see from the rape convictions statistics, that is not true for rape. An individual would need to report a rape approximately 52 times in order to guarantee their rapist would get convicted.

There was a post just recently about a woman who was falsely convicted of making a false allegation of rape and had her conviction overturned. Time to cough up that £500 quid I think. You are also saying prima facie, that women MUST prove their allegation of rape or be liable for false allegation charge. In essence this amounts to shifting the burden of proof onto the victim. I think that is an extremely unfair and dangerous development. It would also discourage women from reporting their rape which runs contrary to your later suggestion that women have a duty to do this.

Society needs to protect women in the first place without placing the burden upon them. Women are already blamed for being raped for the flimsiest reasons, drinking too much, dressing inappropriately etc. It is a zero sum argument. Now you want to extend this to women who don’t report rape?

How about actually placing the blame where it deserves to be placed, with the rapist. No one forces him to do this. It is an entirely free choice. It is time rapists were held accountable for their actions, instead of having a litany of excuses wheeled out for them at every opportunity.

Laura // Posted 24 September 2009 at 1:00 am

Hi Rape Victim,

I know this isn’t very helpful, but I definitely remember blogging in the past about a couple of women who had been convicted of wasting police time when their stories sounded very much genuine; unfortunately I can’t track them down right now and I deleted my old blog. Will keep looking though.

Annie // Posted 24 September 2009 at 3:44 am

Rape Victim – Gosh, how true! It’s a good thing that my friend E. reported the man who repeatedly raped her throughout high school. I mean, the police never got around to doing any thing with her report or list of witnesses, and they told her she ought to be ashamed of herself for saying such rude things about a good man, and she did try to kill herself dozens of times during and after the whole ordeal (after the entire thing was made public and she was dragged through the mud by nearly all of her friends, family members, and coworkers), but hey, she reported it, she did her job. That’s all that really matters, right?

As for me, I did my “duty” and reported it the first time I was raped. The officer took careful notes as I told my story. Then, after shaking my hand and sincerely telling me he would do his best, I left the room. As I left, I saw him throw the piece of paper in the garbage beside his desk. But hey, it’s sure a good thing that I went through all of that pain and trouble, right? Right?

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