Fortunately, though, it’s always easy and safe for women to report rape.
Anti-sexual abuse campaigners, among them the author who successfully put Jane Austen on the £10 note – before having to fend off the resulting torrent of online rape threats – have reacted angrily after it emerged that a man who admitted having sex with a 13-year-old girl walked free from court; while his victim was described by the judge and prosecution as sexually “predatory”.
Neil Wilson, 41, faces having his eight-month suspended jail sentence reviewed after the Attorney General Dominic Grieve agreed to look into the case yesterday. And the Crown Prosecution Service was forced to admit that its own prosecutor acted “inappropriately” when he placed a portion of the responsibility upon the victim in court.
Imagine what the judge would have said about her if she’d been 15. And if she’d been 25 – there would probably not have been a prosecution at all.
Their anger followed the comments made by prosecution lawyer Robert Colover. In sentencing, Judge Nigel Peters apparently accepted the suggestions that Wilson’s teenage victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was complicit in the abuse; despite her being well below the age of consent.
The girl was accused in court of “egging her abuser on” and was described as “looking older” than her thirteen years, something the judge said he would consider in Wilson’s favour. But anti-rape campaigners railed at the accusation that the young victim was promiscuous. They argued that it helped facilitate the sexual abuse of children.
The support group Rape Crisis (England and Wales) said it was “appalled and bitterly disappointed” at what it called “shocking and entirely unacceptable treatment of a 13-year-old sexual violence victim in court”.
So reporting rape isn’t all that easy or safe after all? Huh. How about that.