Regular drivers of cars live in terror of flying on commercial airlines. People deadlock their front doors at night to keep out violent burglars and then die of smoke inhalation trying to open them in a house fire. Pensioners stay indoors for fear of assault by teenagers, keep their cash in boxes for fear of fraud by banks; then they invite plausible middle-aged men in “to check the electricity meter” and lose their life savings. Most victims of “date-rape drugs” are simply too drunk to think.
When there are hordes of hoodie-wearing skunk-crazed paedophile asylum-seeker happy-slappers lurking around every corner, do we need to invent more threats to our personal safety?
That should be “hordes of hoodie-wearing skunk-crazed paedophile asylum-seeker happy-slappers lurking around every corner, crashing planes into your house to set them on fire…”
So “Rape is never the victim’s fault” is the official government line? How unsurprising.
Since this is the state we are talking about then it’s reasonable to assume that “rape” means rape as defined currently by English law. If so then saying that it is “never the victim’s fault” seems a sensible line for the government to take. If “rape” means rape as defined retrospectively by someone claiming to be a victim then it isn’t.
If “rape” means rape as defined retrospectively by someone claiming to be a victim then it isn’t.
Is this like the racism case, where it is racism if the one addressed perceives a remark to be racist whether the speaker intends it to be so or not? What is the state of play on that?
The point of law generally is to remove subjectivity as far as possible from the case and to rely on evidence that can be objectively assessed. All cases are harder when there are no witnesses, nevertheless other forms of objective, physical evidence might be available. This is, of course, complicated by the notion of psychological damage where the evidence is bound to be partly subjective. It muddies the water.
Nevertheless the abiding legal principle is that a person is innocent until proved guilty.
In cases of alleged rape where alcohol or drugs are involved there is a clear, or at least arguable, difference between consuming alcohol and, say, Rohypnol, in that one is taken consciously, the other unconsciously. Claiming to have been drugged without your knowledge is capable of being confirmed or denied by chemical evidence as to whether there is or is not a trace of the ‘date-rape’ drug in your system.
The charge then would then come down to the accusation: “He got me drunk”, the emphasis being on got me. This implies the woman bears no responsibility for her drunkenness, while the man is entirely responsible for her condition and for maintaining his own sobriety, or that while she bears no responsibility for anything she does while drunk, he remains a responsible agent even though drunk.
If that is the thrust of the responsibility argument that seems quite wrong in view of the assumption of innocence. A person would be found guilty once charged, not once tried.
> Regular drivers of cars live in terror of flying on commercial airlines.
There is nothing whatsoever irrational about that. People who think it’s irrational because of relative fatality statistics have completely misunderstood what it is that people who are afraid of flying are actually afraid of.
Yes, for example, would you rather be eaten by a lion or a tiger? It’s a real choice, think about it. I have a friend who refuses to wear a seatbelt because she has a fear of burning to death trapped in her car. I pointed out that the odds against this happening were very large; the odds of her flying through the windscreen on impact much more likely. It failed to change her behaviour.
If a woman breaks down on the hard shoulder of the motorway, it’s quite common for them to stay in their car for fear of some sort of lunatic attacking them.
The risks of this are much smaller than that of a car straying into the hard shoulder and colliding with you at high speed.
Some recent psychologist observed that one thing that people are fearful of is that which disgusts them, which I think this case demonstrates.
Yes, my old mum’s biggest fear about my demise was that I would be knocked down by a car and found to be wearing dirty underpants.
I once knew a guy whose life had been saved by his failing to wear a seat-belt. Has to be an extremely nasty crash for being chucked out of the car to be preferable to staying in it, but it does happen.
A lot of what people are frightened of involves how bad something would be if it were to happen. If a car does crash, it is highly unlikely that all its passengers will be killed; if a plane crashes, it is usual for all its passengers to be killed. People aren’t more afraid of plane crashes than car crashes because they’re more likely to happen; they’re frightened because, if they do happen, they’re likely to be a lot worse and they’re far more likely to be fatal. Similarly, if a car veers onto the hard shoulder and hits you, you’re going to be in a car crash, which is bad, but if a sadist kidnaps you, he’ll probably torture you before he kills you, which I think most people would think is worse. If you’re in a car crash, the hospital will give you painkillers; your average sadistic murderer-rapist, on the other hand, is more likely to maximise your pain.
There’s also the issue of intent: people would prefer to be in an accident than to be the victim of someone deliberately harming them.
And there’s control. In a car, there are all sorts of things you can do to exercise control over your environment and make yourself safer: you can drive, for a start, or you can ask the driver to slow down; you can wear a seatbelt that is actually rather good at saving lives (unlike the laughably crappy lap-belts on planes); you can use cars that have airbags and side-impact protection and things; you can choose not to use particularly dangerous roads. On a plane, you hand over every last bit of responsibility for your safety to other people, whom you do not know You don’t even get to see the pilot, usually; he’s just a disembodied voice on an intercom, and he has the absolute power of life and death over you. In my experience, people who are afraid of flying tend to be frightened of having no control over their own lives, which is entirely reasonable.
And there’s another thing. My wife is frightened of flying largely because she used to go out with a BA pilot and hang out with his pilot friends and so she knows far too much about what they get up to.