Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When is a rape not a serious rape?

Not for the first time, Ken Clarke appears to have been at the centre of some controversy, so I thought I would ask the following:

All of the following are legally rape, but do you regard them as equally serious?

1. A boy of just over 16 has sex with his just under 16 year old girlfriend, and they both want to do it so there is no complaint of rape.

2. A boy of 16 or 17 has sex with "his" 10 year old "girl friend" and there is no complaint from the girl of rape.

3. A man of 30 has sex with "his" 13 year old "girlfriend" and there is no complaint from the girl of rape.

4. A man and a woman having spent all evening together, consuming much drink go to one or others home and have sex which turns out to be non consensual.

5. During an evening in a bar a man slips a "date rape" drug into a drink for the woman he is talking to then takes her home and has sex with her.

6. A man jumps a woman he has never met in an alley, drags her away, threatens violence, and forces sex.

7. A man breaks into a house in the middle of the night, uses violence, and the threat of violence, forces sex.

Are they all as serious as each other?

Please note that in all the cases above the perpetrator is always male because the legal definition of rape involves sexual engagement with a penis. Anything not involving penetration with one is not legally rape but may be a sexual or serious sexual assault.


Anonymous said...

Two teenagers having consensual, under-age sex is not rape. In the unlikely event of prosecution, the crime is 'sex with a child'.

Anonymous said...

Otherwise known as statutory rape...

Alwyn ap Huw said...

1. A boy of just over 16 has sex with his just under 16 year old girlfriend, and they both want to do it so there is no complaint of rape.

This would be "statutory rape" in the USA, would be "sex with a minor" in the England & Wales, and very unlikely to be prosecuted.

Examples 2 & 3 would also be "sex with a minor" rather than rape, but both would probably lead to prosecution with no 3 getting a much more severe sentence than no 2.

Anonymous said...

Dear All,
It is our intention to release all violent offenders and sod the innocent public.
If you agree, please vote conservative.
Yours, Crispin &Ken

(Torys – Soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime)

Anonymous said...

Most agree that the above scenarios are different. What the public do NOT agree with is the govts policies of letting off violent offenders with minimal/no sentence.

Ken Clarke in particular is a disgrace. His views on rehabilitation of offenders are outdated and incorrect. Tough sentences lower crime. Period.

Cameron needs to sack Clarke if this govt wants any chance of staying in power.

Benedict White said...

Some interesting comments.

Since the 2003 sexual offences act the first case is no longer classed as rape but as sex with a minor/child, though if the girl was just under 13 it would be rape. These seldom come to the attention of the police though as neither party feels a victim.

In all other cases they are all rape and are all serious, the differences are in mitigating or aggravating factors which goes to sentencing. The thing is though that most people would understand the differences in mitigation and aggravation as differences in "seriousness".

It seldom matters to the victim though. For them rape is rape. They may accept that in some cases one rape deserves a higher sentence than their own case, but the pain is nevertheless as deeply felt.

I have no great issue with sentence discounts, although a broad brush approach is nuts. What I do have a bit of an issue with though is this:

For a rape of a person over the age of sixteen, with no mitigating or aggravating factors, the sentence (as laid down by the sentencing council not Parliament) is between 4 and 8 years with the starting point being 5 years. Given the nature of the crime and the compelling evidence that must be provided I find this a bit lenient.

Potentially the sentence is life with a whole life tariff, which would obviously be reserved for those offences with the gravest aggravating factors, that does seem to me to allow a large amount of room for higher sentences particularly when you consider armed robbery gets more.