On Tuesday (21 August 2012) Hadley Freeman wrote an article entitled “Everyone’s talking about rape” and it certainly did feel like that, as we saw different politicians on both sides of the pond assert their opinions regarding rape.
First it was Todd Akin with his infamous interview making reference to what he called a “legitimate rape” (it seems that he used this term to refer to cases of rape involving physical violence and injury) and how “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”, followed by the Respect MP George Galloway stating that even if the complaints against Assange by two women in Sweden were “100% true” it would still not constitute rape. “They don’t constitute rape….At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it.”
This comes at a time when there has been a fall in reported rapes to the police with many, including women’s organisations and campaigners, stating that this “shows victims’ lack of confidence in Met’s sex crime unit”.
In fact, the Guardian goes on to highlight: “nine in 10 cases of serious sexual assault were not reported to the police and, despite Sapphire having 478 officers and 18 teams across London, the proportion of allegations reported to police that result in a conviction is around 15%. The scrutiny on Sapphire comes almost three years after senior officers announced the unit had been reformed following failures that left two serial rapists at large to attack hundreds of women.”
The ideas and opinions expressed by Galloway and Akins are rooted in the patriarchal conception of gender and sexuality. Hence, in this debate we wish to focus on how we can best challenge and change such misconceptions and distortions.
Therefore in our Tuesday’s debate we will explore the following questions:
- What constitutes rape?
- Should rape be considered a physical crime? a sexual crime? a psychological crime? or a combination of these?
- Given that interpersonal relationships are governed by culture and societal norms, should rape be conceived differently in different cultures and societies?
- How can we challenge the misconceptions & patriarchal distortions about rape?
- What are the implications of this for social work and social care professionals?
Join us & share your views regarding these and other relevant questions @SWSCmedia Tuesday (28 August 2012) 8:00 PM BST (UK) / 3:00 PM EDT (Eastern Time USA) / 12:00 PT.