Thursday, January 25, 2007

I do not know what to make of this

I know three escorts who have been raped by clients. Unfortunately only one of the three felt able to report it. The other two, did not feel they would be taken seriously if they reported it. They are all Independent escorts.

The only time when I felt I may have been in a similar situation, was when I went on an outcall, and discovered that there were two other men there.

I read something similar on a messageboard recently, and fortunately the escort had a bodyguard,who accompanied her to the hotel room. He was able to fight off the other men, there.

I came across this article yesterday.

Women who report being raped are treated far more sensitively than ever before. The police are no longer as hostile and disbelieving as they used to be. The law has been improved in a number of ways that help the victim. It has largely banned cross-examination about previous sexual history in court; it now insists that a man's defence of consensual sex be based on reasonableness. All these developments (as well as granting victims of rape and other sexual offences anonymity) have been aimed at persuading women to report rape. And it has worked. The reporting figures show welcome increases. But the unexpected and unacceptable accompaniment is that conviction rates have fallen steeply. In 1977, one in three rapes reported resulted in a conviction. In 1999 it was one in 13. The latest figures show a rate of one conviction for nearly 20 cases reported.

There was not much extraneous evidence of importance, so the trial - as most rape trials do - came down to one question: did she consent or didn't she? Or, do we believe him or her? Except that the law doesn't make it as easy as that. And therein lies the crux of the problem. A jury has to be "sure" that the man is guilty (the old formula was "beyond reasonable doubt"). It's not enough that they think he probably did it. A "not guilty" verdict doesn't mean the rape didn't take place, or that the woman is a liar - only that the jury couldn't be absolutely sure. Such nuances are not widely understood. The raped woman is distraught and feels betrayed by the system. The rapist is free to rape again. Yet the fairness of our trial system is based on the need to prove that someone has committed a serious crime. Are we to make an exception for rape? That is inconceivable.

The past decade or so has introduced a new trend to complicate rape cases - the level of alcohol consumed by the woman alleging rape. This offshoot of the issue of consent asks: when has a woman drunk so much that she is no longer capable of giving valid consent to sex? The government's attempt to find a way of defining her "capacity" (the legal word) to consent when she has taken drink has come under fire from the circuit judges (as revealed in yesterday's Guardian). Everyone has a different tolerance to alcohol. Clearly, at one end of the spectrum, a woman who is reeling around and falling about cannot give valid consent; one who had sipped one glass of wine probably could. It's the in-betweens who give rise to difficulties. How can you put into words the point at which someone crosses the line between having the capacity to consent to sex, and lacking it? How is the potential accused supposed to measure that distinction?

Leave it to the jury to decide on the evidence before them, the judges say, just as they have to decide other issues of consent. But the role of the jury is itself open to question. We are not allowed to discover what takes place in a real jury room, so we can't be sure that the factors jurors take into account are correct in law. There are indications that myths and prejudices play too prominent a part. Some jurors in the Consent programme seemed to pay more attention to their own past experiences than to the evidence; others were unduly troubled by the woman's failure to report the rape until six days afterwards, though there are good psychological reasons for such delay. A survey in November 2005 by Amnesty International produced worrying results. More than a quarter of the public - and therefore of possible jurors - still believes that a woman wearing sexy or revealing clothing is wholly or partly responsible for being raped. Similarly, she is responsible if she was drunk (30%), or had not said "no" clearly enough to her alleged assailant (37%). But who, if not the jury, can better decide whether or not there has been rape? Certainly not a judge alone.

Here is the full article by Marcel Berlins for the Guardian Newspaper.

It seems from the survey mentioned in the article that, escorts would be seen as responsible for being raped,by jurors.

What do you think?

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"It seems from the survey mentioned in the article that, escorts would be seen as responsible for being raped,by jurors."

Unfortunately, deplorably . . . yes.

I hate the use of "responsible" in surveys like that. Sure, it may not always be wise to wear revealing clothing, or to drink too much. But telling someone they should be more careful should not be confused with shifting responsibility. I shouldn't leave packages in the back seat of my car, where they might tempt a thieve, rather than the trunk . . . but if I do and they're stolen, that does not at all excuse the thief. He's supposed to follow the law even if presented with an opportunity to do otherwise.

We need to find some way to encourage precautionary actions and discourage carelessness by the victims without casting them as "responsible" for what happened. More precise wording in surveys like this might help.

Of course, there are many fewer people who would think I'm "responsible" for someone breaking into my car than those who think a woman is somehow "responsible" for being raped. All sorts of theories why. Hopefully, that will change.


Thank you for your comments.

Yes, what is responsible behaviour seems to sway their decision here. I hope their attitudes change.
The fact that some people might see escorts as inviting rape just shows how primitive sexual attitudes are in the population at large. Don't ever forget that those of us in prostitution blogging circles are wildly unrepresentative of the general population, and that for many people, sex, and enjoyment of it, is something scary and quite foreign.

Thank you for your comments. You are right, sometimes I do forget what the population at large thinks.
This is going to sound terrible, but if I was raped whilst working, I would not report it. If I was hurt and bruised, I would tell my children I had been mugged or knocked down by a car, anything other than the truth.

To go down that road, I would have to involve the police and admit that I am a prostitute. I do believe that these guys who rape prostitutes know this and feel they can get away with the crime.

The only thing I would do to protect other girls is report it on message boards and phone the other girls in my area, but that is as much as I would be prepared to do.

Then I would 'phone a working girl friend and have her counsel the hell out of me.

I worry when I hear you say, if you were raped you would not report it.

I just believe that by not reporting it, as you say, these men get away with it.
I can't know - of course.

But escorts have written on messageboards that the police do take seriously accusations of rape from escorts.

I hope that is true.

I wish it to be true.

I think it is brave for any woman to go to the police to complain of rape. I listened to a woman's experience on the radio today.

Meeting a woman she knew as she was being accompanied by two uniformed police officers in a hospital ...

Sensitive? or what ...

Having sex with men for money might sometimes feel like rape. When it really is rape I do hope you have the courage to report it.

Raping any woman is not a crime that men should feel they can get away with.


Thank you for your comments.

I have just watched the news, and a police officer was saying that if she got raped, she would not report it. She said her colleagues did not take it seriously.
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