It’s a myth that only pretty girls get assaulted

A response to Rod Liddle’s opinion column…

I’ve read today’s (9th July) Rod Liddle opinion column in The Sunday Times, and I need to highlight something important. Rod’s “humorous” opinion about sexual assault sends a dangerous message to readers, and is sad in this day and age.

“She deserves to be lampooned, from her jail cell, because people like her make it more difficult for legitimate rape and sexual assault victims to come forward.”

Liddle, who takes delight in sticking the knife in at anyone identifying as female, was in his element when writing about Jemma Beale. For those unaware of the story, Beale is not a nice human being. She has recently been convicted of 15 false rape and sexual assault claims, all of which were taken seriously by police. She deserves to be lampooned, from her jail cell, because people like her make it more difficult for legitimate rape and sexual assault victims to come forward. They are the reason that if you discuss rape online, a number of people will come forward and say “what if she’s lying?”, even though a minuscule percentage of claims made to police turn out to be bogus.

But here’s where Liddle’s dig gets problematic. He says “did the coppers not ask themselves ‘what is it about this 20-stone munter with more chins than the Shanghai telephone directory that drives so many men wild with unrestrainable lust?'” Then goes on to explain that police are not allowed to use their judgement because rape allegations must be believed.

Once you get past the 1970s ‘Chins’ gag, I’ll let that sink in. Liddle is saying that the police can’t use their discretion to rule out rape allegations from women they (he) deems unattractive. Only the thin and attractive are rapeable.

“Rape is not about being driven “wild with unrestrainable lust””

This is a dangerous and irresponsible message. Rape is not about being driven “wild with unrestrainable lust”. Rape is about controlling the person, about taking something away from them, about hurting them, punishing them, about asserting dominance. It’s not about fancying so much, you just have to have them – a view point as offensive to any man as it is to rape victims of all genders.

As I say, this one woman did lie, and it’s right that she’s been brought to justice. But it’s wrong to suggest that the police should be able to look at any victim and say “well I wouldn’t, so she must be lying.”

“It’s  wrong to suggest that the police should be able to look at any victim and say “well I wouldn’t, so she must be lying.””

I appreciate the article is opinion, and not The Sunday Times stating facts, and I also appreciate that Liddle would read this and rant about how I am a lefty feminazi with no sense of humour, but when you see injustice, you mustn’t stay silent. Liddle saw injustice in Beale’s original claim, so decided to include it in his column, and I respect that. I see injustice in the idea that rape victims need to pass some sort of “would I bang her/him?” judgement before being taken seriously.

I hope other readers of the column see it as the joke it is, and don’t seriously think it next time a victim is brave enough to come forward.

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