Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Men must prove a woman said 'yes' to sex under new rape guidance

152569841.jpg

New guidelines will be issued to the police regarding rape allegations in the UK, with the onus to now be placed upon suspects to prove that the woman consented to sex instead of proving that she said ‘no’.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service said that women should not be punished if they were incapacitated due to drink or drugs or could not verbally agree to sex because of shock or fear.

"For too long society has blamed rape victims for confusing the issue of consent - by drinking or dressing provocatively for example - but it is not they who are confused, it is society itself and we must challenge that," commented Saunders at the first National Crown Prosecution Service/Police Conference on Rape Investigations and Prosecutions, which took place yesterday in London. "Consent to sexual activity is not a grey area - in law it is clearly defined and must be given fully and freely. It is not a crime to drink, but it is a crime for a rapist to target someone who is no longer capable of consenting to sex though drink."

Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders

Rape Crisis reports that roughly 85,000 women a year are raped in England and Wales, but the latest figures show that just 5,670 attacks were reported to the police and of the 2,910 cases which went to court, only 1,070 led to a conviction.

90% of rape victims are said to know their attacker. Speaking further about the new approach which will be rolled out to police and prosecutors, Saunders added: “We want police and prosecutors to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue - how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly?"

The guidelines also say that the ability to consent to sex should also be questioned where the complainant has mental health problems, learning difficulties or was asleep or unconscious at the time of the alleged attack.

"These tools take us well beyond the old saying 'no means no' – it is now well established that many rape victims freeze rather than fight as a protective and coping mechanism," said Saunders.

Read more: 'Will we ever stamp out victim-blaming in cases of sexual assault?'

Related

The Hunting Ground.PNG

New documentary suggests rape is an epidemic in US universities

rexfeatures_1221742p.jpg

2014's most powerful and provocative longreads

ByeF88zIQAIZvgM.jpg

Over 100 women prosecuted for false rape allegations, claims charity

More

The deadly secret hidden within that creepy Game of Thrones hug

Spoilers are coming…

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Why it’s totally fine if you don’t have a ‘work wife’

Having friends at work is nice – but it’s not the be all and end all

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

Meteorologist’s epic response to troll who called her “disgusting”

“Enough is enough.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 Aug 2017

Acts of love, humanity and solidarity following the Barcelona attack

In the darkness, there is light.

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

How you can help those caught up in the Barcelona attack

The ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

People are furious about Trump’s response to the Barcelona attack

The world is sick of his double-standard on terrorism

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Ryan Phillipe on how he tackles depression

“I’m thinking about how to focus and steady myself”

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Are black girls being forced to grow up too fast?

A study has shown that black girls as young as five are seen as more adult than their white peers

by Kemi Alemoru
17 Aug 2017

Teen receives sickening messages after asking for career advice

This businessman's response was shocking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017

We want everything from this new high-street Disney collaboration

Seriously magical

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017