Rape is infamously and notoriously difficult to prosecute and that’s if it even gets that far. According to the Crime Survey which is conducted for the Office for National Statistics, ‘on average 85,000 women are raped every year and 400,000 are sexually assaulted. But a mere 15,000 rapes are actually reported. Of those, only a fifth come to court. And in just a little over a thousand of them is there a conviction. This is not, contrary to myth, because of time-wasting or false allegations. An investigation two years ago by the CPS and Home Office concluded they were extremely unusual: of every 161 rape prosecutions, there was just one related to a false allegation’.
A Guardian Opinion piece reported, ‘Successful prosecutions for rape and sexual assault are extremely difficult to deliver. For a start, the victim, frightened and diminished by the experience, has to have the confidence to come forward. Then the police have to believe the victim, and there has to be enough evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service to judge there’s a good chance of conviction. And then, when the case finally comes to trial, the jury must be convinced by the prosecution in a case that often comes down to one person’s word against another. No surprises then that more than one case in three (of the small proportion of attacks that actually get to court) fails at the end’.
This is how it is and that does not even begin to describe the intensity of the personal trauma which rape victims suffer for life.
It is in this atmosphere of profound trauma and the intense difficulty and the intimate invasion of even reporting a rape, let alone prosecuting, that the DWP has set about its latest punitive welfare reform, denying child support for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, for which one of the exemptions is a child conceived without the mothers consent, including rape. I am not sure why the government are making a distinction between ‘without the mothers consent’ and rape, and wonder under what circumstances, in their putrid minds, a lack of consent could mean anything other than rape, including being in a coercive relationship?
I cannot help be reminded of the following: “The first Poll tax of 1377 was levied at 4 pence on every person in England over 14. The second, levied two years later in 1379, was on a sliding scale between the seven classes in the English social order. But when this failed to raise sufficient funds for the war in France, a third Poll Tax in 1380, payable by everyone over 15, was levied at a flat rate of 1 shilling (12 pence, or 1 twentieth of a pound) per person, an average month’s salary for serf. When this went largely uncollected, with many peasants in the south-east of England refusing to register, the following year commissions of inquiry were dispatched to identify those who hadn’t paid. These inquires were extremely intrusive, and included checking young girl’s vaginas to see if they’d reached puberty and were therefore eligible for taxation. It was this, according to a later, Sixteenth-century account, that caused Wat Tyler to kill an official who tried to conduct such an examination on his daughter.”
This is the great dystopian divide under which we are living. How dare they treat us this way? That which they dish out, under no circumstances would they submit themselves to, yet they enact policy and defend the unconscionable and the obscene in the lives of ordinary people.
Try to imagine the outrage of Theresa May having this demanded of her and the faux outrage of rags like the Mail and the Sun. I don’t have the mind or imagination to make up whatever twisted headlines they’d use to incite the fury of their readers, but the poor are fair game in their evil minds.
This is the twisted world of the privileged and the plebian ‘stock’, or plebs, we are living in and how the imperial mind set works. They have no sense of their own privilege other than as their unassailable, god given, right. This is what is meant when people say they lack empathy. Such policies can only come from people so rooted in their own narcissism they have no idea of the impact they have, and nor do they care.
We have seen this for over seven long years, as people give up in despair and take their own lives, it’s called ‘incentivising people for work’ through state imposed penury and trauma. People too beaten to fight back, who are deprived of any hope of ever getting their heads above water to even get a decent meal a day.
On the face of it, it may seem the government is supporting victims of rape, when the reality is that rape victims are being targeted and treated worse than those simply denied child support for which no amount of money can compensate. It would be naive to think that targeting and re-traumatising rape victims is the lowest the government can go, they have amply demonstrated their capacity to come up with ever more outrageous and extreme cruelty on a regular basis.
The war against poverty is now, globally, the war against the poor. The neoliberal consensus has no place for us in their world. Whatever we may choose to call it, the aim is clear, to eradicate the poor and hound them out of life. We are literally fighting for our lives against an implacable enemy and state terrorism.
KOG. 09 April 2017