Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What do the Lib Dems and Melanie Phillips have in common?

In the good old days, every year, the Lib Dems would have a conference where their activists get to vote for policies which are off the wall, reactionary, unworkable or a clever combination of all three. In the new, modernised Lib Dems, policy is made not by the harmless eccentrics, but by professional hacks, and the emphasis is less on the well-meaning but loopy policies, and more on the unpleasant.

Here's what Melanie Phillips says about why legislation gives anonymity to people who bring charges of rape against men, but not to men accused of rape:

"Giving women the protection of anonymity means it is more likely that women will make such false accusations. But then, the monstrous presumption beneath this bill is that all women are truthful and all men who are accused of rape are guilty...the cardinal tenet of extreme feminism - the assumption that men are intrinsically rapists, wife-beaters, child abusers and generally violent individuals, that women are their prey and that society additionally loads the dice against the female sex."

And here is what Rape Crisis says:

We must have anonymity for the victims otherwise women will not come forward to report. Most of the women who contact rape crisis have never reported to the police. We must respect the courage for those who do. It is not easy or pleasant going through all the police interviews and the courts. We must at least retain anonymity.

We must not treat the accused in rape cases any different from murder or child abuse. You cannot have special rules for the accused in rape cases as this will feed the myth that women who report rape are lying, that it is easy to report rape etc…

Anyone accused of rape should not be named until charged with the offence. Sometimes police forces do not adhere to this. On being charged it can be useful for the name of an accused to be published, as other women who have been raped by him, often with the same modus operandi, may be encouraged to report."

So what did the Lib Dem conference vote for? To have policy in favour of anonymity for men accused of rape.

Say what you like about the good old days of Lib Dem policy making, but I bet they never used to line up with the likes of Melanie Phillips to help feed the myth that women who report rape are lying.

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