Who cried wolf?

November 2, 2007

I was saddened to read letters attacking Joanna Bourke's column ("Men, too, must work to take back the night", October 19). J. Green's letter contains ill-informed comments. Reforms to rape laws are not intended to produce a "100 per cent conviction rate" as claimed. These reforms aim to remove outdated and discriminatory legal rules. Would Green oppose the criminalisation of marital rape? Given the accusation that "feminist manias" put "targets" before "evidence", it is surprising that Green links the falling conviction rate in cases of rape and false allegations. There is no credible evidence for such a link. The most recent UK research on false rape allegations suggests a figure of 3 per cent - comparable to rates for other offences. The outrage provoked by Bourke's column might be better directed at societal attitudes that minimise, excuse or justify sexual violence.

Phil Rumney, Reader in law, University of the West of England.

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