At the police and the Crown Prosecution Service’s first joint initiative on rape, prosecutors said they had established an emerging pattern of behaviour where rapists constructed “false narratives” after the crime.
One technique described involved rapists contacting victims the next day, sometimes by text or social media, thanking them for a sexual encounter. Defendants can try to rely on such messages should there be a trial.
So, chaps, did you send her flowers the next day? Well, I hope you didn’t pick a nutter, because that’s no longer a romantic gesture, it’s now ‘covering your tracks’…
Police and prosecutors at the event examined a hypothetical case where an 18-year-old student went to a freshers’ party with a more mature student in her first week at university, drank too much, took drugs then woke up to find he had come into her room.
Despite repeated requests for him to go away, he continued to take off her clothes. When it became clear he was going to rape her, she gave him a condom to give herself some protection.
Asked whether they would prosecute the man for rape, an overwhelming number of hands in the room went up; not everyone at the conference was a prosecutor.
Ask a jury the same thing – a jury that is considering whether the case has been proved beyond reasonable doubt, with the presumption of innocence rather than guilt on the part of the defendant – and you’ll possibly get a different story.
The conference was shown moving video interviews with survivors of rape, one sequence ending with the repeated refrain that: “I want to be believed.”
One woman said: “I was the victim of a drug rape. I want the police to believe me and not to be blamed for drinking too much.”
The first one sounds a lot like brainwashing.
And as for the second…well, I want my car burglary to be believed and not to be blamed for having a satnav on display in the car!
Saunders said: …“We want police and prosecutors to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue: how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly? ”
How about a pre-sexual intercourse contract, Alison? It could be part of Anne Summers’ new range.