Conservative politicians get it wrong on rape

30 May

The problem: Ken Clarke’s comments have been widely reported. During a radio interview, he contrasted “date rape” and “serious rape”; he later said he had confused the idea of “date rape” with that of sex between, for example, a 15 year old and a 17 year old. Nonetheless, his comments appeared to show that he considered there to be some rapes which are less serious than others.

Less discussed are these recent comments: Tory MEP Roger Helmer stated that in a situation where a couple are naked in bed, and “at the last minute she gets cold feet”, but her partner “carries on”, this is rape but the woman shares some of the responsibility for it.

Towards a solution: You can contact the Conservative Party Co-Chairmen here and David Cameron, the Prime Minister, here. Not sure what to say? Rape Crisis has a list of facts on rape, as does the Campaign to End Rape. Particularly relevant in this case is the fact that most people who are raped know the perpetrator. Really rushed for time? Here’s a sample comment for you to use – it will be more effective if you personalise it:

I am writing to you to express my concern about recent comments made by Ken Clarke MP and Roger Helmer MEP on the subject of rape. Their comments were offensive, ill-informed and worrying, especially given Mr Clarke’s role as Justice Secretary. I welcome Mr Clarke’s clarification of his comments and the way that the party has distanced itself from Mr Helmer’s remarks. I urge you to ensure that there is no place for such outdated views in the Conservative Party.

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Posted by on 30/05/2011 in Uncategorized


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