The Crown Prosecution Service have produced new legal guidance for prosecutors helps to tackle rape myths and stereotypes against the changing picture of modern life
Most victims of sexual assaults will never see their attacker in court, a situation described by the Victim’s Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, as “utterly shameful”. As a result, the CPS have responded by updating their guidelines.
Just some of the false statements surround rape are:
– Young adult men should not be convicted as they have their whole lives ahead of them or have good character references;
– If you drink alcohol or use drugs then you have made yourself vulnerable to being rape and you bear some of the responsibility;
– A real rape victim is visibly distressed when describing what happened to them or a real rape victim wouldn’t freeze when attacked, they would fight back;
– If the victim didn’t complain to the police immediately it wasn’t rape or if the victim didn’t say ‘no’, it’s not rape;
– Only young or attractive people get raped and strong or independent or powerful or older people don’t get raped;
– Other complaints of rape which have not resulted in successful prosecution outcomes mean the victim lacks all credibility as a witness or false allegations are common and women cry rape when they regret having sex or want to seek revenge;
– Previous withdrawals of complaints, or previous reluctance to co-operate with a prosecution, means the victim lacks credibility as a witness;
– The victim had previously consented to sex with the accused a number of times so he or she must have consented.