Worcester WE are calling on the Government to require all jurors to receive unconscious bias training in order to combat the inherent sexism in the trial of rape and sexual assault cases.
WE are deeply concerned by the clear confusion across society regarding what counts as rape and sexual assault.
#MeToo has shown the epidemic proportions of sexual harassment and assault experienced by women around the world. Yet, the latest survey by the Violence Against Women Coalition produced worrying results about attitudes to rape.
- One in 3 people in the UK think that sexual activity must include violence to be called rape.
- Almost a quarter do not believe non-consensual sex with your spouse or partner is rape. (Laws against rape in marriage have been in place since 1991.)
- One third of men believe a woman can’t change her mind after sex had started, (compared to 21% of women).
- 40% do not believe that ‘Stealthing’ (removing a condom without a partner’s consent or knowledge) is rape. (it is)
- 69% thought that if someone was raped a police investigation and court process would be the next steps – that is too often not the case.
- 11% of respondents thought that a woman who had a lot of sexual partners would suffer less harm if she was raped.
There is a disconnect between the law and public opinion that runs throughout society. When taken in context of a significant 23.1% drop in the number of defendants charged with rape in 2017-2018 while just 36% rape cases end in conviction, despite increased reporting, it is clear we have a problem.
Every adult in the UK is a potential juror. With this level of confusion, we need to ensure that all jurors are given the facts about rape and sexual assault and the law. Training them to ensure a fair trial.
“These figures are alarming because they show that a huge proportion of UK adults – who make up juries in rape trials – are still very unclear about what rape is.
We know that 90% of women who are raped know the person who raped them but, for many British adults, the most commonly understood scenario is a single violent incident of rape committed by a stranger on a dark street. This could explain why juries are so reluctant to convict particularly younger men where consent is in question.”
Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition
Sources - Crown Prosecution Service’s Violence Against Women and Girls Report, September 2018 The End Violence Against Women Coalition Survey, December 2018