Common Sense on Rape At Last

Heart-felt response to this Independent article, and two the preceding day after Ken Clarke got (quite unnecessarily, in my view) hauled over the coals for commenting clumsily on the topic of rape:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mary-dejevsky/mary-dejevsky-a-feminist-presumption-of-victimhood-impairs-justice-2286494.html

Sirs,

Mary Dejevsky is a very brave woman and deserves applause for having the courage to write a rare column full of common sense on that most hyped of crimes, rape. Daring to question the blinkered world view of the Saintly Sisterhood, she has provided a perspective that allows the crime to be taken seriously in its own right and not just dismissed as more feminist whining.

Along with your correspondents Christina Patterson and Steve Richards, the Independent is one of the few newspapers treating rape seriously and not using it as a political football on the side of enraged feminists. A viewpoint that is both rare and refreshing, and I congratulate you on it.

Only by treating rape properly will the huge injustice of the trial by public opinion that those accused of rape – whether accurately or not – have to go through be ended. It has always struck me as grossly unfair that men accused of rape have been tried, found guilty and punished in the media long before any court appearance. Rape seems to be the only crime where “innocent until proven guilty” does not apply.

The “perp walk” that Strauss-Khan underwent is nothing compared to the public vilification that a man accused of rape has to go through in the media, long before any court verdict. Too many rape accusations are shown to be false for this to be acceptable, and it has to change. Rape will never be taken seriously while it remains possible to falsely manipulate the media in this way.

There should be enforced anonymity on all sides of a rape case until a verdict is handed down.

Paul Harper

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It’s not Stephen Hawking’s fault that journalists are stupid!

Quick rant to the Independent in response to the bottom part of this article:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-connor-does-finding-an-aids-vaccine-matter-any-more-2286495.html

Sirs,

Steve Connor (Science Studies, 20 May) drips his sarcasm in completely the wrong direction when referring to the news that Stephen Hawking does not believe in God followed a couple of weeks later by the revelation that he doesn’t believe in Heaven either.

Connor should be directing his ire at whichever idiot journalist asked the second question, clearly not picking up the hint the first time. Hawking has good manners and will answer a question when it’s put to him, however stupid.

Paul Harper