Is Cameron backtracking on anonymity?
Posted on June 2, 2010
I’ve just watched Cameron’s first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, where he said, when challenged by Harriet Harman over the proposals to grant anonymity to those accused of rape, that he “believed there was a case for it between arrest and charge.”
While I still don’t agree with the ConDem’s proposal, Cameron’s response appears to be a step back from the original “We will extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants” statement that was made a couple of weeks ago.
I don’t know if this means that Cameron is now backtracking, but it certainly sounds like it.
Perhaps the outcry these plans have provoked is actually having some effect. If so, keep up the good work everyone.
To sign the petition click here
To see Fiona Mactaggart’s Early Day Motion (and get your MP to sign it) click here
And to read Vera Baird’s excellent Progress piece on why anonymity for rape defendants is an appalling idea, click here
that sounds better. if anonymity was lifted once someone was charged, at least at that point other victims could come forward to give evidence if they wanted to. as with worboys.
ps – better but still not good enough tho, i still support no anonymity!
No anonymity is granted for defendants in any other crime because no reason exists to do so. As someone else said, misogynists are arguing for a “tit for tat” superficial equality, given that rape victims are granted anonymity while rape victimizers are not. But they are comparing apples to oranges — once again it’s a bunch of MRA’s crying that women get an “extra”.
The reason alleged victims in sexual assault cases are granted anonymity while other alleged victims are not, is due the sheer overwhelming amount of victim-blaming and slut-shaming which goes on surrounding the issue of rape. So, being a victim of rape IS a special case, which exists for no other crime.
The reason for naming the alleged victimizer is so that other victims have the opportunity to come forward — reasonable people seem to accept that explanation. Now consider how long it takes other victims of that same rapist to decide if they want to come forward or not, after they hear the name of the accused. As soon as we grant anonymity up to the point of being charged, if the trial starts the day after the victimizer is named then many potential victims would not have an opportunity to decide if they wanted to run the gauntlet of victim-blaming and slut-shaming.
Also, if other victims come forward before he is charged , lengthy legal proceedings and an even more expensive trial could be avoided, because the guy would most likely plead guilty.
It’s never been a ‘level playing field’ for women when they bravely charge a male(s) with raping them, because the male-centered and male-defined law systematically punishes and subjects women and girl survivors of men’s violence.
But of course the MRA’s want the ‘unequal playing field’ reinstated by claiming innocent men are being routinely charged with rape and then suffer the consequences of having their ‘good names’ tarnished because they were charged with raping a woman/girl.
Well let’s grant anonymity to everyone who is charged with any crime no matter how minor or how serious. In fact lets not have convicted defendants’ identities revealed because these defendants have family members who will also be tarnished by being associated with a criminal. Ridiculous? Of course such a suggestion is but then MRA’s are never logical because their only concern is the maintenance of male power and male control over all women and girls.
Male sexual violence against women and girls is a huge societal problem and one of the main problems is the belief that males charged with these offences are always ‘innocent’ whereas the female survivors are always ‘innately liars seeking to destroy respectable men’s reputations.’ A very simplistic approach but it works because our male supremacist society refuses to even begin to understand the central fact that only heterosexual men are accorded sexual autonomy and ownership of their bodies as well as ownership and control of women’s and girls’ sexuality and bodies.
Women and girls are still not accorded full human status and the idea that any woman/girl owns her sexuality and has sexual autonomy is too hideous to even contemplate. Why it would turn the common sense view of so-called normal heterosexual scripts upside down.
This is why women and girl survivors of male sexual violence are routinely subjected to misogynistic and women-hating condemnation because always it is women’s and girls’ responsibility to prevent males from raping them/committing sexual violence against them.
This is why anonymity was finally granted to women and girl survivors of male sexual violence because our society routinely disbelieves women/girl survivors and those women/girls who bravely charge a male/males with raping them know they not the male defendant will be subjected to minute examination of every particular of their lives, including sexual history, medical history. Male defendants are not routinely subjected to such intense questioning concerning their sexual proclivities, sexual history etc.
But then patriarchy/male supremacist system was never logical or rational because men’s rights and men’s needs/desires etc. must always supercede women’s and girls’ rights to be accorded human status.
Anonymity pre-charge is something that’s pretty much always the case for every crime already. The police (on 2000 ACPO guidance) won’t release names or identifying information to the press pre-charge except in highly unusual circumstances.
Since anonymity only affects media coverage anyway (which is very rare pre-charge except for the occasional celebrity suspect), it’s pretty unlikely that legally-required anonymity pre-charge would have any effect except to hamper the police in trying to catch strongly suspected rapists who they haven’t yet been able to track down to formally charge.
m Andrea: “As soon as we grant anonymity up to the point of being charged, if the trial starts the day after the victimizer is named”
Fortunately, our justice system is never that efficient (partly because it’s just busy, and partly by design as the defence will need time to examine prosecution evidence and build its own case)