The roots of rape

September 5, 1997

SUE LEES is seriously misleading in her review of Bernard Lefkowitz (THES, August 29). The gang rape which took place in King's Cross, London was not carried out by English boys in what was an overtly racist attack. The repellent assault was accompanied by cries of "**** the white bitch". Those who took part were the children of parents who were not British subjects but recently arrived economic migrants.

Lees with her impeccable PC credentials does not mention this. Or that gang rape has strong homoerotic overtones which are more likely in inward-looking groups detached from a wider society. These include deprived inner-city kids as well as spoilt Ivy League boys. What is perhaps a more striking common feature is paternal absence or indifference. Such kids do not consider their actions as abnormal and show no remorse. The enormity of their transgression in an atomised world is explained away by expensive lawyers or social workers. It is this social anomie and desensitisation which is at the root of rape which Lees herself rightly has categorised as a crime of hatred and not desire. Both left and right responses to this are wrong.

Lees states that gang activity has not been much researched. This is quite untrue (see Rosemary Harris, Prospect, June). Perhaps she means that the results of such research are not very palatable to the PC academic audience she represents.

Angela Pinter

Kyverdale Road, London

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