The number of rapes reported to the police has risen by 29% since last year. It now stands at its highest ever figure in the UK.
This is something of a dichotomy: one the one hand it is good that victims are having the courage to come forward and report these crimes to the police, and the police are actually listening. But unfortunately, it also means that rape is still a very real and present threat to women: 22,000 were reported in the UK last year alone.
Just prior to the police announcing these figures, thee has been some controversy surrounding a particular rape case that criminalised footballer Chad Evans after he raped a drunk girl in his hotel room. TV presenter Judy Finnegan then rocked the boat by declaring that she did not think this was a bad case of rape.
Well, however it happens, rape is bad. It is a violent crime that can have horrendous effects, both physically and mentally for the the victim.
To make this media feud worse, Judy was then targeted by trolls on twitter saying they would rape her daughter, 27-year-old journalist Chloe Madley. Yes, Judy may have spoken out of term, but it is unnecessary to drag her daughter into it. Judy can certainly now reflect how it would feel if, god forbid, it was her daughter who was being attacked.
I have used the verb ‘attack’ because that is what it is. Women are often criticised when reporting rape cases: they were dressed provocatively and asking for it, they were drunk so they brought it upon themselves, they changed their mind at the last minute and cried rape because they regretted sleeping with someone as it started happening.
Posters issued by the NHS depicting a drunk woman lying in the streets reading, “One in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking” was displayed in GP practises around the country. But they were taken down after they were met with fierce criticism; and rightly so. Yes, most of us have been there. Oh get a bit drunk and start flirting with someone without necked direly meaning it to lead to anything, just having some fun. But to generalise that women get drunk and leave themselves as sitting targets for sexual predators is a big leap to make.
Men are just as responsible as woman. Yes, most men would be decent enough to realise that a woman is drunk and perhaps is not in her right frame of mind, but there are some who see this as an opportunity to take advantage.
And it’s not just when women are drunk. What about those who are just walking home and get attacked. Sometimes in broad daylight.
All of this is in the UK; think a little further a field and the picture can be even worse. According to the a UN report, Lesotho in southern Africa has the highest number of rape cases, with 88.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011.
A report in the International Business Times reported that in neighbouring South Africa, “the prevalence of rape and particularly multiple perpetrator rape is unusually high.
“The proportion of adult men who have raped is between 28-37%, and 7-9% have engaged in multiple perpetrator rape,” according to a report by the Institute for Security Studies.
These figures are abhorrent and wrong. Something needs to be done to bring this rate down and to stop the blame culture that has sprung up around rape cases, both in the UK and abroad.