The bitch who cried rape
9/20/2006 12:59:46 PM
The premise of “innocent until proven guilty” is utterly ignored in rape cases.
There is one area of British law in which there remains a huge injustice in terms of how one group is treated, and that is men accused of rape. The premise of “innocent until proven guilty” is utterly ignored in rape cases, as a man even arrested and questioned over a rape claim can be named and have his face plastered all across the newspapers.
What is quite shocking is that a crime of such magnitude and with such long term stigma attached to it does not have any laws in place to protect those men who are not guilty. By all means, name and shame a man found guilty of rape but why should anyone arrested be made a hate figure before they have even gone to trial?
What makes this even more difficult to swallow is that if a woman is found guilty of having lied, and by this I do not mean simply that the man is found not guilty but that she is exposed as having fabricated the story and even admits it was a lie, she is almost never named. Her anonymity is respected and protected.
There have been several fairly high profile cases recently of such in Britain; one was that of Warren Blackwell who, as a married man with children, was sentenced to five years in prison for the rape of a woman 1998. He went to prison in 1999, served his five year stretch, and of course, left prison as a registered sex offender only for the police to find that a huge amount of evidence actually indicated that not only had Mr. Blackwell not raped the woman, but that evidence not allowed into the initial case shows that the woman in question had made many such bogus claims. In fact, other such claims were almost a carbon copy, right down to small details against a string of men over a course of many years in various locations. All of these claims were found to be false.
The conviction has been quashed now, but I doubt that is a huge comfort to a man who has spent five years in prison for an imaginary crime, nor to his wife and children, who spent five years without the husband and father they loved in their lives. Why on earth was a serial liar allowed to make another claim that resulted in conviction, when there were so many previous lies and nothing but circumstantial evidence to convict Mr. Blackwell? Well because the “victims” anonymity is protected. Thus, quite incredibly, this woman’s name was not on record for her previous dismissed claims. She had somehow escaped prosecution for wasting police time and her anonymity ensured that when she accused Warren Blackwell of rape, the local police had no record of her. There was never even sex between the two parties. There was zero DNA evidence; just her word against his.
Now the last thing I would want is for a woman to be named every time her accusation of rape does not result in conviction. This would be a terrible move and one that would put off genuine victims from coming forward. But when someone is proven to have lied, then yes, her name should be released. What must be galling for the entire Blackwell family is that mud sticks, and even though he has been cleared, Warren Blackwell has still served five years for rape and will always have that on his character, whilst even now his lying, manipulative accuser is protected by the law.
In an even more recent case an 18 year old who lied about rape was named and shamed, but only because the case never made it to court. Had it gone to court, she would automatically have been classed as a victim, and had the law to protect her, but unfortunately for Cinzia Sannino, her pack of lies was exposed within 36 hours and thus she was charged with trying to pervert the course of justice and the whole disgraceful affair came to the public’s attention. To cut a long story short, she met four men in a bar, went back to the house of one of them with the others, told them to sit down, performed a strip tease and once naked allowed them to grope her and then told them to all have sex with her.
The next morning she wanted to go home, had no money for a taxi, and presumably found the men unwilling to help. So she rang the police asking for a lift. But when they said no, she broke down and told them she had been ganged raped. The four men were arrested for rape, interrogated and made to provide DNA. Then one of them pulled out his mobile phone and showed the police a video he had filmed on it, in which Miss Sannino stripped and could be heard telling the men to have sex with her. Once she saw the footage she admitted to lying and was given six months in a youth detention centre. She will, of course, be released in less than three months.
How is that justice? The four men in question could plausibly have faced six or more years in prison for a gang rape and a lifetime on the sex offenders register if it were not for modern technology and the fact that one of the drunken men decided to film a brief part of the evening.
And yet, the girl in question gets six months? I am stunned. It is time that the laws were overhauled; a woman who can be PROVEN to have lied such as in this case, should be sentenced to the same time as a rapist.
Moreover, both parties should be protected by the anonymity law until the trial is complete, and if the man is found innocent, both names should remain kept within the confines of the court, because being found innocent does not mean that he certainly was or that the woman has lied. If he is found guilty then surely he should be named. Again, he may not have been, but once found guilty of any crime we allow naming and we do not need to totally tear up this system.
Any woman found guilty of willfully setting out to accuse an innocent man should face the punishment that she would have had him endure. But don’t expect this to happen anytime soon, as it is yet another case of how the courts favour the supposedly oppressed gender in our society. Whether it’s more lenient sentences for the same crimes, to paternity rights in child custodial cases, through to the shocking inequality of these rape cases, the justice system is too often lacking in any measure of justice.
About the author: Ally Roy is a Journalism graduate who has a severe anger problem and hopes to use his sizeable talents to induce rage and hate in as many of the readers as possible.