‘Alarming’ survey reveals ‘worrying’ attitudes to rape in Britain
More than 10% of British adults do not think having sex with someone who is either asleep or too drunk to consent constitutes rape, according to the results of an “alarming” new survey.
The End Violence Against Women (EVAW) campaign group said the findings of the YouGov poll was evidence that society was “failing to respond to the call for help” prompted by the #MeToo campaign.
Of the nearly 4,000 people who took part in the survey, a third said it would not be rape if there was no sexual violence committed, while 21% of female respondents said it would not generally be considered rape if the victim had flirted on a date – even if she had not explicitly consented to sex.
The report further reveals:
:: 11% said the more sexual partners a woman has, the less harm she will experience from an attack
:: 24% said non-consensual sex within a long-term relationship was not rape
:: 89% said it would not be rape to have sex with someone who was asleep or too drunk to consent
:: 33% of men think a woman cannot change their mind after sex has begun
EVAW co-director Rachel Krys described the findings as “worrying”.
“These figures are alarming because they show that a huge proportion of UK adults, who make up juries in rape trials, are still very unclear about what rape is,” she said.
“#MeToo has shone a light on the scale of sexual violence, and more women are seeking justice.
“Yet as a society we are failing to respond to this call for help, and this year the number of cases being taken forward by police and the courts fell.”
Ms Krys is among the campaigners calling for an independent review of how the police and courts tackle rape in light of recent figures published by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The Violence Against Women And Girls report from September highlighted a 23.1% fall in the number of defendants charged with rape in 2017-18 compared with the previous year.
Ms Krys said rape survivors needed to be guaranteed counselling, in addition to practical and legal help, whenever they decide to report attacks to police.
Last month, there were protests across the island of Ireland after a defence lawyer used an alleged rape victim’s choice of underwear to suggest she consented to sex. The defendant was later acquitted