Some Truths are Facts, And Some Facts are True. But The Earth Is Not Flat And Wishing Won’t Make It So.

Now, just curve it round a little this way...
Now, just curve it round a little this way…

Some truths are facts, certain as far as anything can be, supportable by empirical, statistical and observational evidence. Gravity, for example – the presence of oxygen and the process of osmosis. These are facts, which are true, and would be factually true with or without anyone believing it.

Of course some people will argue that the facts are different and provide other evidence – often terribly dubious in their origin and spun, nay twisted, like so much hot glass or woven sugar on a cake – in to something which looks like a fact, but isn’t.

Flat Earth believers, for example. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they believe that the earth is flat. Does it impact on the lives of the people we love and care about that they believe this? No, not really. It doesn’t stop them being kind to their neighbours (at least I would hope not), or paying their taxes. It’s a foolish myth, but not a dangerous one. It doesn’t perpetuate oppression to believe it, or make the lives of vulnerable people more difficult to share such a belief with others. They believe it to be true, and believe the evidence to be factual.

But some truths are not facts.

Some truths are personal – they might be an individuals lived experience of something that many others have not shared; a personal realisation or awakening, a message decoded through a dream which leads to a better understanding. These are not less true by being only personally true to one or a few people. Something does not have to be universally true to be valid. Much of human experience is like this: there are common themes and threads, and yet also distinctive incidents. Grief, for example. Most people have the experience of losing a friend or loved one, but every person experiences grief differently and may find that every experience of grief is different than before.

Some truths are real then, but not true for you – or me.

I am a Christian – this a personal truth, a fact about me, and an act of faith and hope. My personal truths inform me about the existence of God, facts inform me about the existence of Jesus. Faith teaches me that Jesus was the Divine Incarnate. I will share this belief, appropriately within the given conversation, and I will share this belief in how I behave – after all, I believe that God created us all in Her image and so, even when it might be hard to, I will try and find some way to reflect that.  No, I am not terribly holy: I am human and imperfect so sometimes I will lose patience, or feel less than charitable, or find that the kindest thing to do for myself is to walk away. And yes, I swear – sometimes a lot, especially if I shut my thumb in a car door, like I did last year.

And sometimes the most faithful and true thing I can do is not walk away but speak up: because sometimes a fact is a fact that is true – sometimes the Earth is not flat now matter how much you believe it to be.

Rape myths are ideas which are not based in empirical, statistical evidence. Rape myths are not based on facts. A myth is defined in the following manner:

An ancient story or set of stories. A commonly believed – but false – idea. A popular belief that is not true.

Rape myths fall under this descriptor: despite the statistical evidence which clearly shows that deliberate false claims of rape are in the tiny minority of cases, there are some who truly believe most claims are false. Despite the clear statistical and empirical evidence that the majority of those raped and abused are the victims of people known to them, there are still those who only believe it is real rape if the rapist is a stranger who drags his victims down a darkened alley. And whilst so much evidence proves otherwise, there are those who believe that rape is only violent if the rapist threatens his victim with a knife.

In other words, some people are like those who believe in a Flat Earth – they believe these things to be true, and some who believe it passionately will even have ‘evidence’ which looks factual, but is neither fact, or truth. And it doesn’t mean that those people can’t be kind to their dogs, or nice to their elderly neighbours, and you can’t make laws for the weird things that people think.

But we do have to consider how those beliefs impact on the most vulnerable group of people, in the context of what they think and believe: the rape victims. The ones who almost never see justice in the courts; the ones who probably will never report because they are terrified of never being believed; those whose voices are silenced by fear and the pervasive myths which, despite being wrong, heap further scars on already scarred and wounded hearts.

For those who bear that cross, for those who carry that burden, for those who are imprisoned in the fear that such harmful, dangerous and toxic myths perpetuate, voices must be raised and must be heard. Because one day, those who believe in those rape myths will be like those who believe in a Flat Earth: a harmless minority, with odd ideas that the rest of us don’t understand, but who will, by their diminishing, become harmless.

And that might not be a fact, yet – and it is certainly an article of faith. But it will be true, one day, because the earth is not flat and it never has been.

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An Second Open Letter to Ched Evans – If You Are Innocent Then You Will Take Down Your Website.

Dear Ched Evans

The Mail on Sunday today carries an interview with the father of the woman you raped today, and it is heart breaking to read.

He talks about the terrible toll being exacted on your victim: about how your fans incessantly hunt her down, how she has had to move house 5 times in 3 years, change her identity repeatedly, endure Christmas without her family and friends and cope with what he refers to as trial by website’.

Ched Evans is able to lead a normal life. He has never apologised to my daughter. Instead, his website proclaims his innocence and draws attention to my daughter every day that it remains posted on the net. I think it should be taken down.’ (Emphasis mine).

I have said it before, and now I am going to make a direct request: your website feeds your ‘fans’ and supporters and acts to aid and abet them in their hounding and harassment of the woman you raped. Protesting your innocence is one thing – allowing your victim to be treated in such a shoddy and disgusting manner is quite another.

I understand from the article in the Mail on Sunday today that your victims father wrote to Attorney General about the footage on your ‘campaign’ website, which is being investigated at the moment. There is clearly, and now unarguably, a direct correlation between this disgusting harassment of your rape victim by your fans, and that website. Like packs of wild dogs they feed off it as they would a carcass, then unleash themselves on that  poor girl, rabid in their conviction of what they perceive to be her ‘criminality’.

The psychological and emotional trauma on her must be unbearable, and it has to stop – now.

If you truly believe you are innocent then you would not need such ‘support’ because you would recognise that these bully boy ‘fans’ are in fact making you look more guilty by the day. And nobody who was truly innocent would want that type of support.

If you truly believe you are innocent then you would recognise that the decent, honourable and just thing would be to take down that website, to ask that wealthy Father-in-Law of yours to do that immediately and then, at the very least, issue an apology to that young woman for the unjust bullying and harassment she has had to endure.

If you truly believe you are innocent, you would do those things without hesitation.

Take down that website Mr Evans. It is the right thing to do.

Sincerely

Ali Wilkin

 

The Problem Is Not With #IBelieveHer: In Defence Of Radical Belief

The Enliven Project - The Saddest Graph You'll See All Day
The Enliven Project – The Saddest Graph You’ll See All Day

In the past few days, there have been some articles which question how valid and valuable the response of #IBelieveHer is when victims of rape and abuse speak up: and whilst we must think seriously and reflectively about our approach to the all too common problem of rape and abuse, there is a difference between reflective analysis and reflexive reaction.

In Sarah Ditum’s article in New Statesman the reflexive reaction focussed on issues around a recent Rolling Stone article, and the actor Shia LaBeouf, who recently disclosed about the attack he suffered during a performance piece in Los Angeles earlier this year.

I don’t entirely disagree with Sarah Ditum in Sabrina Rubin Erdley’s article: the poor standard of journalism in this case does not negate the validity of a victim’s disclosure; we know well enough that the shock and trauma to both the mind a body of someone who has been raped or abused mean that tropes about the ‘perfect victim’ are myths which are damaging and dangerous.

And yet having illustrated this, Sarah Ditum then resorts to using these very tropes to dismiss LaBeouf’s own disclosure (TW):

“..it is very hard to know what LaBeouf is asking us to believe. Rape, generally understood as forcible penetration with a penis or other object (not least under English law), could not have taken place in this instance, and LaBeouf does not specify what did happen[emphasis mine]

When we say on the one hand that the myths and tropes about how a victim reacts to rape are wrong, that there is not ‘perfect’ victim, and when we know that makes it harder for victims to come forward (never mind be believed), we cannot then shift the goal posts and say those tropes are suddenly acceptable simply because a victim does not fit our understanding of who the victim is. Here is the weakness of white western feminist theory to rape: Ditum see’s power imbalance strictly in terms of gender binary, and fails to grasp the nuance in this entirely individual situation, where LaBeouf’s power as a man is temporarily surrendered because he had voluntarily renounced it for the sake of the performance he was committed to.

That very lack of nuance in Ditum’s analysis is the reason why black and coloured women, cis and transgender, find it even harder to be believed, despite being more likely to be the victims of rape than white cis-gendered women.

Power is not binary: such general understandings of rape do not help us to dismantle the very power structures against with Ditum rails. What she refers to as ‘excessive belief’ is in fact radical belief: rape culture is supported by patriarchy, but patriarchy is not just a blanket subordination of women as a class, however easy it is to generalise is that way.

Racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, trans-misogyny, along side misogyny and sexism – all contribute towards ways in which humans group together and oppress other groups, and all these things act to support the rape culture.  Radical, victim-centred belief should not be the end of the that discussion, but #IBelieveHer is better understood at the start of that conversation when we don’t misunderstand the need for it. Labelling it as ‘excessive’ simply allows those who are least likely to believed to remain least likely to believed, to dismiss those already struggling to survive. Labelling it as ‘excessive’ means only ever partially dismantling rape culture for the sake of a tiny, white, cis gender minority.

I will continue to believe anyone at all who has the courage to stand up and say ‘I was raped’ because I want to see an end to rape culture. Radical belief is not the problem.

Patriarchy is.

 

 

#IBelieveHer: The Radical and Transformative Beauty of a Simple Statement

This post discusses rape, abuse and violence against women (cis, black, transgender) and children. I reference my own experiences as well as material which some people may find triggering, so please take care of yourself. If you have never disclosed, either by choice or by circumstance, then know that I believe you.  

One such misplaced belief is that false allegations of rape and domestic violence are rife. – Keir Starmer, March 2013

In March 2013 the CPS released a report which laid bare the reality about so called false rape and domestic violence accusations. It is a report that should be read carefully, and not simply because the figures make strikingly clear how rare false reporting is.

Previous studies had also shown the rarity of false reporting, but the CPS report mattered because it illuminated something which gets lost in the less than nuanced conversations demanded by those who want our attention on the infrequent occasions when someone reports something which didn’t happen, rather than on the all too numerous women and children who are beaten, raped and killed week in and week out – most often by men they know.

What it highlighted was the vulnerability of those who accuse – it illustrates that there is neither any maliciousness, nor vindictiveness, (as some men would have us believe (TW/CN) ): only powerless people in difficult situations who may, nevertheless, find themselves on the receiving end of an unreasonable and disproportionate prosecutorial system. Whatever else is said or written about Eleanor de Freitas in the wake of her death, both her family and the investigating detectives are certain that the prosecution which pre-empted her suicide was utterly wrong, and her fragile mental health made her vulnerable in ways too many failed to comprehend.

For black women, transgender women and transgender women who are black and of colour, the situation becomes more complex. Racism and transphobia as well misogyny and sexism, mean they are pushed still further outside of our anyway unwelcoming society: their bodies – labelled unacceptable by their skin colour and/or their gender presentation – find a society not only unwilling to believe them, but willing (even eager) to discard them altogether. Ce-Ce MacDonald, Marissa Alexander and Janay Rice are women at the appalling tip of a violent iceberg. Their humanity is not simply ignored: it is not recognised at all.

It is a paradox that creates a shameful isolation – women are raped, abused and beaten daily and yet any of us, either by instinct or experience, know that if we speak up the first reaction from too many people will be disbelief and primarily a concern for the accused; concern for the ‘stigma’ of living with a ‘false’ accusation. The first instinct of society is not to believe the woman or child. Ask any of the children – or their parents – who tried to report what was going on in Rotherham, what labels were laid on the girls, what disbelief was endured before any truth finally came to light. The hand wringing which followed will be repeated again because no lesson is being learned of any value.

The truth is this: that even thought there are endless studies, and reams of statistics, which show that women and children are telling the truth, that ‘false reporting’ is not all common and even more rarely done out of maliciousness, society prefers instead to be concerned for the powerful, and not the powerless.

Women are, therefore, not only untrustworthy in societies eyes: we must also bear the blame for the physical and sexual violence endured. Constantly the message is writ large: if we did not exist, neither would these issues. We are told every day: rape exists because we do.

Against this backdrop of disbelief and victim blaming must come liberation and rebellion, and transformation from one state to another – from the web like trap of being both the blamed and the un-believed, making a simple statement such as #IBelieveHer and #IBelieveYou can be a truly radical act.

I know this: twenty or more years after I was raped by a man who made sure I would be treated with suspicion and disbelief if I were ever to speak up, those words were like oil on my turbulent heart. After nearly of two years of sexual violence, of gaslighting, of rape – hearing those words years later opened up a pathway to real healing. Sure, I’d had counselling: I had learned to ‘live’ with what had happened. I had recovered enough to move forward. But I had no access to a community where I could feel safe when talking about it.

Because that’s the difference: whilst those words are not a panacea, those words mean that there is a community of people – even in this disbelieving and victim blaming society – where I can say: I was raped; and there will be no finger pointing, no shaming, no dubious questioning from people unwilling to confront the ugly truths of life.

Everyone who has ever been abused and raped needs this: until we no longer require radical acts to provide community and safety; until we live in a world where the vulnerable are believed and supported; until we understand that the stigma of being raped and not being believed is far more damaging than being accused; until we raise our sons not to rape, not to demand or feel entitled to demand, and to recognise the humanity of all women; until racism, sexism, transphobia and misogyny dies – until then, first, last and always:

I believe you.

BBC Norfolk’s Nick Conrad Thinks He’s A Slave to His Penis and Blames Victims on #ChedEvans Discussion

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Nick Conrad of BBC Radio Norfolk

“I’ve got to be so careful of what I say, I don’t want this to be explosive…” 

As if enough idiocy and nonsense hadn’t been spoken already in relation to consent, rape culture and the whole sorry mess that is the Ched Evans saga – enter BBC Norfolk’s own Nick Conrad, proving that not only is victim blaming alive and well, but that allowing men to think that they are incapable of self control and slaves to their penises is a toxic combination when talking about the causes of rape.

The full quote can be viewed here, and believe me it is not pretty: every possible trope, every imaginable victim blaming cliché is trotted out, from the hoary old ‘prick tease’ myth to the ‘men are slaves to their desires’. The thinking is incredibly reductive, the level of victim blaming simply incredible.

Mr Conrad needs to spend some time with domestic violence and rape charities learning exactly why he is both capable of self-control, and why a woman is never ever to blame for rape.

You are not a slave to your penis Mr Conrad.

Why @SarahVine Is Wrong About Rape & Saying So Is Not “Monstering”

I am all for nuance in debate and discussion – nuance can and should serve to provide richer and deeper understandings when exploring an idea, a situation, a problem. Nuance is good.

In the last couple of days there has been much reaction to Judy Finnigan’s comments about the footballer Ched Evans case on the ITV show Loose Women. After serving 2 years of a 5 year sentence, Evans is about to be released, and the suggestion that he might return to Sheffield United to resume his footballing career has met with a great deal of anger.

Finnigan suggested that Evan’s crime might not be considered as serious because “…he didn’t cause any bodily harm to the person. It was unpleasant, in a hotel room I believe, and she had far too much to drink. That is reprehensible, but he has been convicted and he has served his time. When he comes out, what are we supposed to do, just actually to refuse to let him do his job even though he’s already been punished?”

There was, inevitably, a good deal of anger at these remarks and Finnigan later apologised. Enter stage left Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail today, who was (to summarise) insisting that Finnigan was right, that she wasn’t defending Evans; it was all about feminist ideologues dismissing ‘nuance’ in the debate; that those who disagree and speak up for the victims ‘monster’ people like Judy Finnigan and Sarah Vine, and that this ‘wasn’t very sisterly’ of them.   Um.

There is so much wrong with this article which is – as @EVB_Now rightly pointed out this morning – so destructive, that it is hard to know where to begin.  But let’s start with the Sarah Vine confusing rape myths with ‘nuance’, because she clearly does not grasp why the myths which are perpetuated in this article are not about providing richer and deeper understandings, but about the very things which keep the emphasis on the victims behaviour.

Radhika Sanghani in the Telegraph yesterday covered the myths which both Judy Finnigan, and Sarah Vine in defence of her, propagate with their comments and article. What I particularly want to address is why these myths continue, and why these myths – which so effectively keep the focus on the behaviour of the victim – continue to dominate the narrative because of peoples failure to take in to account the effect on the victim.

Whether it is Sarah Vine, or Richard Dawkins, or various people with large media platforms insisting that some rapes are worse because more physical violence might be used, or because it was a stranger, or because ‘she was drunk and it just got out of hand…’ – these ideas are treated as reasonable (or as giving the debate ‘logic’ or ‘nuance’) because the impact on the victim is not taken in to account. 

One of the most damaging myths about rape is about how a victim is supposed to behave. This not only makes it harder for victims like the woman raped by Ched Evans, who was vilified, attacked and ‘outed’ on social media, but once again warps the understanding about the impact on the victim and makes it one of the most difficult crimes to prosecute.

In the context of these, and similar issues, a nuanced discussion would consider why society finds it so difficult to consider the victim (an issue almost unique to crimes involving rape and sexual assault). A nuanced discussion would look more deeply at why we find it easier to critique the behaviour of the victim that what we can, as a society, do to change how we raise our boys and why men rape. A nuanced discussion would look at this, at much more besides, in a more honest and raw way.

To state all this, to say that Judy Finnigan and Sarah Vine are both absolutely wrong, and to challenge what they say because it can and should be challenged, is not to ‘monster’ anyone. (And nor is ‘un-sisterly’ –  that was a particularly manipulative thing for Sarah Vine to say.)

On @RichardDawkins – The Religion of Logic As Used To Erase Victims Experience

Richard Dawkins believes that the severity of individual cases of rape and abuse can be gradated, and he doesn’t like people to point out to him that there are many reasons why he is wrong about that. He has clearly been mulling on this for some time, because this morning he took to twitter with this:

X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of X, go away and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to think logically.

Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.

Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.

Whether X or Y is worse is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of LOGIC that to express that opinion doesn’t mean you approve of either. @RichardDawkins 29.07.2014

 Dawkins would, I know, like us to believe that he is not a rape apologist. And in his fervour to apply logic to absolutely everything, he has created an equation which – he thinks – proves that not only is he right, but that those of us who state that his position is one of ignorance (to put it mildly) are emoting not debating.  

It is clear that he does not understand what sexual violence is –  he reproduces common myth and misconception immediately, working as he does from the false premise that rape and abuse have any gradation of severity at all. His formulae (which I am sure he feels is terribly logical), in fact is not;  in not accounting for the most important factor – the effect of the sexual violence on the victim – he erases the voice, knowledge and experience of the victim, thereby excusing one or other form of rape and abuse.   Which is exactly what his supposed fevered logic purports to disavow.

Logic is an important tool which humans use, as we navigate through our lives, trying to figure out the world in which we live and our place in it. But it is not more than that – used incorrectly it is, at best, a blunt object that mangles, obfuscates and erases (as in this case).

Rape and abuse are not logical – those of us who have suffered at its claws, or who work in support and advocacy of those who are, do not learn to navigate the violent landscape in the wake of an attack with logic, because logic is useless to us in those circumstances.  We understand and know better than Dawkins the facts and realities, because he chooses to remain ignorant of our knowledge; he does not value it because it does not fit in to any ‘logical’ box.

Your over heated (dare I suggest religious) fervour for logic Mr Dawkins is useless: you do not understand the subject on which you speak.  Let those who know, speak. Let those who don’t, shut up and listen.

*****

UPDATE:  Richard Dawkins has produced this ‘non-apology-apology-whilst-still-trying-to-maintain-the-moral-highground’.  This man’s arrogance knows no bounds.

Apparently us thinking feeling people unleashed a ‘tsunami of hate’. I taste man tears…

#SurvivorPrivilege, Fairies, Unicorns and Other Myths: A Response to @georgewillf

(Note: The hashtag #survivorprivilege was started by @wagatwe – for more information on that read here).

 

Washington Post pundit George Will  has finally blown the whistle on the big secret – those of us who have been lucky enough not to be killed by our attackers and rapists have privilege and status.  It’s even possible that we lied to get it.

Funnily enough, just recently I was discussing this with a friend of mine (who always insists to her therapist that there honestly is no need for her to roll out an actual red carpet, and that feeding her grapes whilst she reclines on the therapist’s couch is actually quite embarrassing); we were marvelling at how it has turned out to be such a benefit to us, and how society falls over itself to treat us like royalty.

Both of us are amazed that the media now focus on the behaviour of the attacker who chose to rape us, and that girls no longer have to be told to adjust their behaviour; that nobody ever tells a rape joke anymore, and that it is great that we can feel confident that we (and every other rape victim everywhere) will see justice for the crimes committed against us.

We then flew to lunch on the back of our dragons and had a splendid time with the aliens who popped over from the neighbouring galaxy in their UFO. Sorry you missed them, but they have promised that they will be back next month.

Like many men who don’t want the status quo to be challenged, Will has a ‘women-who-do-not-endlessly-kick-and-scream-against-their-attackers-are-not-real-victims’ kind of mentality. And he cannot get his head around the fact that being educated about rape awareness only unearths more pesky ‘not-really-victims’ victims . To Will, these women (whom he comes within a hairs breadth of calling liars suggests in a less than subtle manner are of dubious morality) are simply exerting their feminine wiles because the Obama administration seeks to address the situation of college rape, and sees them as akin to getting a man to pick up the hankie you just accidently-dropped-on-purpose because – well, they’re women and they want the men [i.e., government] to come riding to their rescue.  (Just pass me another grape will you? And please pick up my lavender scented hankie whilst I recline on my chaise longue).

It’s not that this man has a view point that is grotesque in its rape apology: it is the prominence that both the Washington Times and New York Post give to this privileged white man who belittles the violence of rape in such a casually dismissive manner. (“Consider the supposed campus epidemic of rape, aka “sexual assault,” he writes, as though rape is some prankster-with-good-intentions hiding behind a mask and doesn’t really mean it when it frightens the crap out of you, violates you and leaves you unable to function emotionally or psychologically).

The world George Will lives in is the one where the patriarchy gets to do exactly as they please – to whomever it pleases them to do it – without ever having to be held even remotely accountable.

The world in which every woman deserves to live is very different – it is nowhere near to reality yet, but it’s not a myth and we will continue to fight for it.

 

Dear Jerry Hayes, The REAL Uncomfortable Truth About Rape and Why you should apologise…

Dear Jerry Hayes

My twitter time line exploded on Thursday night. As did I, in an almost-literal re-creation of Mr Creosote from Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life’: not from eating too much food though – but from hearing too much un-varnished rape apologism. The reason for the twitter storm is because you said something really awful, denied that you said it, ignored some very public facts and have now gone on to blog about rape, claiming that your view is an ‘uncomfortable truth.

So I am going to deal with what was said, why it has upset lots of people, and why you really do need to apologize for it.

First your opening remarks, in response to the question about whether accused people should be anonymous:

I’ve been prosecuting and defending rape’s and serious sexual offenses for over thirty years. The fact is I am firmly of the view that if you are accused of a sexual offense, particularly with rape, particularly with children, you should be anonymous until after that trial. Because the stigma is just, well, it’s worse than murder. I have seen people who have been acquitted – perhaps when I’ve defended them – erm, hah-hah little plug…

(Yes. That’s right. In the middle of a discussion on the subject of rape and child abuse, you plugged your services and made a joke about it. Sensitive, much?) But moving on…

…the stigma sticks with them for life, everyone says ‘Oh, there’s no smoke without fire’.. and there’s, I know, a movement a people who say ‘Well it stop’s women from coming forward’ – it doesn’t stop women from coming forward, we’ve gone a long long long way from all the old idea’s about rape and they are treated very very well…

And at this point I have to stop for a moment. Partly because if I try to explain to you about the stigma of being abused and raped I will end up getting a bit emotional and I want to deal with facts as much as possible.

So here’s what what happened, and what was actually said, (and if you want to check me, be my guest: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01sffvs/Question_Time_09_05_2013/   and it starts at around the 42 minute mark) –

A member of the audience decided to take to task the notion that it is ‘easier’ for a woman to come forward to speak about rape, and that it is really hard to prosecute someone for rape. You cut her off mid-sentence to say that ‘it is honestly not the case’, but the audience member pressed her point by quoting the statistic that there were 95,000 reported  (important to emphasise that word) rapes which were prosecuted last year – and barely 900 convictions, and how does that show that it’s easier for women to come forward. That’s right Jerry: that figure she quoted you was based on those rape allegations which were brought to trial.

Those figures don’t just come from Rape Crisis, but are backed up by the CPS’s own figures. The 2011 CPS report on VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) showed a 38% rise from 2006/7 to 2010-11 in prosecutions of rape and domestic violence cases: up from 68,930 (of reported incidents) to 95, 257 (of reported incidents). If you don’t believe either the audience member, or me, or Rape Crisis then at least believe the CPS.

In your blog post you say:

I have been accused of saying that rape victims are liars. Not only did I not say or suggest this, I certainly don’t think it.

What you said (and again, pop along to BBC iPlayer and watch it again if you must) was this:

You can’t say there were 95,000 rapes because clearly they weren’t raped because the person wasn’t prosecuted.

Yes Jerry, that is exactly the same thing as calling rape victims liars.

To say such a stupid, crass, pig ignorant thing like ‘clearly they weren’t raped because the person wasn’t prosecuted’ is to demonstrate quite spectacularly not only an appalling ignorance of the facts, but is a quite spectacular example of the old idea’s about rape which you claimed just a few minutes before we come such ‘a long long way’ from.

Further, it is perpetuating the very same myths about false rape,  that the report issued by Keir Starmer and the CPS in March, are trying to dismantle. That report (which Stella Creasy tweeted out to you and you so casually dismissed) makes the very necessary point that not getting a conviction for rape is absolutely not because the victim was not raped. That report makes it clear that false rape allegations make up just 0.02% of all reported rapes.

Your blog post (which requires a trigger warning for rape victims so loud it would be heard from Mars) only makes what you said worse. Victims characters cannot be trashed?? Try telling that to Ched Evan’s victim (as just one random example).

So yes, of course you should apologize.

If you want to blog about the ‘uncomfortable truth’ about rape, I suggest you find out what the uncomfortable truth is first.

But if you want to insist you have nothing to apologize for, in the face of your own words and the overwhelming evidence, at least refrain from throwing words like ‘defamatory’ around on twitter to those who sought to call you out for the wrong you did.

Yours (most) sincerely

@aliwilkin