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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98652 Find in a Library
Title: Rape Controversy
Author(s): M Benn; A Coote; T Gill
Corporate Author: National Council for Civil Liberties
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 35
Sponsoring Agency: National Council for Civil Liberties
London, WC1X 9DE, England
Sale Source: National Council for Civil Liberties
186 Kings Cross Road
London, WC1X 9DE,
United Kingdom
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This pamphlet identifies prevailing myths and contradicting facts about rape, examines England's 1976 rape law, and considers how reforms in police procedures and legal processes could help increase victims' reporting rape incidents.
Abstract: Rape myths believed to work against victims at trial are (1) men cannot control their sexual urges if women display themselves provocatively, (2) unmarried women should be virgins, (3) women are insincere when they refuse a man's sexual advances, (4) women enjoy being treated violently and forcefully, and (5) if a rape victim does not resist to the death, she wants to be raped. The presented facts about rape deal briefly with the incidence of rape, rapist profiles, the use of violence, victims' reactions to violent threats, rape locations, victim-offender relationships, and victim profiles. A review of British rape law examines spouse rape, requirements for proving rape, the rapist's subjective belief about the victim's consent, and recent (1976) changes in the law. An analysis of how the law works in practice encompasses police treatment of the rape victim and court proceedings. Also outlined are variations of the three defense arguments typically used in rape trials: (1) the defendant was mistakenly identified as the attacker, (2) sexual intercourse as legally defined did not occur, and (3) the woman consented or the man believed she did. Other topics considered are the jury's task, judicial sentencing, the media treatment of rape trials, and socioeconomic class elements in rape trials. Legal reform is advocated in the areas of spouse rape, the legal definition of rape, the distinction between rape and assault, rules of evidence, and sentencing policy. Recommendations are offered for police investigative procedures and for the aftercare of rape victims. A summary of provisional conclusions of the Criminal Law Revision Committee on Rape and Allied Offenses is appended. A 10-item bibliography is included.
Index Term(s): England; Law reform; Rape; Rape victim shield laws; Rapists; Sexual assault victims; Spousal Rape
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