Friday, April 03, 2009

India Knight Mirrors Attitude Behind Afghan Law Legalizing Marital Rape

In the Times Online column: Face it, girls -- a drunken romp isn't rape India Knight begins with the classic lie, most often stated indirectly, that the trial she discusses did not require the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Knight jumps to the false conclusion that an acquittal is proof of a fraudulent rape report which would mean that the legal system in the UK requires the defense to prove the defendant's innocence to avoid a guilty verdict.

This is provably false.

For someone railing against false allegations, it isn't good form to begin by making a provably false allegation and then basing your entire column on that proven falsehood.

Is it too much to hope that men falsely accused of rape by drunken women might one day be treated with ordinary courtesy and remain anonymous until proven guilty? Last week it took a jury a mere 45 minutes to throw out an accusation made by a woman in her forties, whom we must, maddeningly — because she is automatically guaranteed anonymity – refer to as Miss X, against Peter Bacon, a 26-year-old student and chef from Canterbury, Kent.
By positioning it as a fact that Peter Bacon was falsely accused, either India Knight is incompetent or she is purposely negligent. Either one makes Knight non-credible. This reflects on the Times which allowed this lie to be published.

Her opening sentence is telling. She positions all men accused of rape as falsely accused unless and until they are proven guilty. The reality is that if a man committed rape he is not falsely accused until the truth has been proven in court. If a man committed rape he is rightfully accused no matter what happens in the criminal justice system. If a man committed rape and is acquitted, he got away with rape.

But not according to Knight's twisted logic.

In a rape trial where the contact cannot be denied what does Knight expect the defense to do except claim that the sex was consensual (a drunken romp) and paint the victim as a liar or deluded? Real rapists are going to hope and pray they get people like Knight on their juries so that they can feed those jurors' bigotry against those who are raped while drunk.

The defense's claim about exactly what happened is just as much of an allegation as the alleged victim's claim is, yet Knight rejects this truth which fosters injustice against women and girls who were raped and encourages would-be rapists to rape as long as they select the right victim at the right moment so that people like Knight will quickly champion them as falsely accused when they spin false stories.

Just as Bacon has the legal status of innocent until proven guilty, the alleged rape victim in this case also has the legal status of innocent until proven guilty. But again Knight disregards this truth and this woman's legal rights. When it comes to those who report being raped, they can be declared guilty of committing the crime of filing a false police report with no need for charges let alone a conviction.

Due process rights? Sorry, not for those who are raped.

What Knight hates when it is done to men accused of rape (believing guilty prior to conviction) is what Knight loves when it is done to women accused of lying about rape. But again Knight either lacks the ability to discern this or she simply doesn't care since her false allegation gives her the platform she desires to launch personal attacks against many girls and women.

What's fascinating about this column is how it contrasts to the general outrage over the new Afghan law that legalizes marital rape by eliminating the need for husbands to get consent from their wives. Knight has aligned herself perfectly with those who support legalizing marital rape and who support many other laws that strip girls and women of their human rights.

Everyone who is raped while unconscious will be unable to remember the moment they were raped, but not remembering is transformed into consent by Knight. That means Knight supports making it de facto legal to rape the unconscious which aligns her with the thinking behind the new Afghan law that only what the man thinks and wants matter.

Since she supports this practice she should go all the way and support changing the law to explicitly make it legal to rape the unconscious. After all, those who rape the unconscious will claim consent and according to Knight's logic we must accept this claim because those raped while unconscious cannot testify in detail about the moment they were raped.

This denial of certain rapes allows Knight to lie and state that she is 100% against all rapes. I'm sure those who support the Afghan law which would eliminate marital rape from the definition of rape will make similar statements. They too are against all real rapes.

Those who oppose the Afghan law cannot ethically turn around and deny rape committed by a spouse, a boyfriend or even a friend.

The twisted logic Knight uses is also reflected in the latest development in a gang rape case in Bahrain:

A 24-year-old Filipina employee at a hotel in Bahrain was allegedly abducted, gang raped, and robbed by three men. According to the woman's lawyer, results from a rape test kit matched the DNA of the men identified as her attackers. All three men have denied the charges.

In a court hearing on March 3, the defendants' lawyer, Fatima Hawaj, appealed to the High Criminal Court judge to acquit the three men. Reportedly, Ms Al Hawaj argues that the men should be acquitted because their actions were committed for the sake of 'fun' and without criminal intent.

Knight might not approve of having her tactics and her dismissive attitudes used to deny kidnapping, gang rape and robbery, but this defense attorney is channeling Knight's twisted logic perfectly.

Once you start dismissing details of a rape case based on your own bigotry then you open the door to dismiss the details of other rape cases based on other people's bigotry.

I wonder if Knight views this conviction in Pennsylvania as a miscarriage of justice as the defense attorney claims it to be.

Testimony revealed the woman eventually left the bar with her boyfriend who walked her back to his residence at about 6 p.m. The woman’s boyfriend testified he and the woman had sexual relations when they got back to his home and that she passed out and went to sleep afterward.

The woman’s boyfriend returned to Champs to play poker and soon noticed that Myers, his friend since childhood, was no longer at the bar, according to testimony.

The woman testified she can’t recall leaving the bar with her boyfriend nor having sex with him when they returned to his residence. The woman testified her first recollection is waking to find Myers having sex with her and that she tried to get away from Myers.

“The defendant knew that the victim was very drunk, knew that she was passed out and knew that she was all by herself in that house. He waited for his opportunity and took it. He didn’t plan on her waking up,” Cauffman argued.

If Knight accepts this case as a real rape then the only reason she does so is because of the boyfriend's testimony. That means that according to her logic it should be a crime to rape your friend's girlfriend after he sees that she is unconscious, but that it shouldn't be illegal to rape that women if another man has not verified her unconsciousness.

This means that Knight supports rape laws which require neutral witnesses -- laws that make raping someone without witnesses legal.

In this case, like in many others, the woman woke mid-rape and reacted immediately to the crime being committed against her. In this case her return to consciousness wasn't used as proof that she must have been conscious the whole time.

Sadly, that is exactly what has been done in another case where the charges were dropped against 3 men because the woman seemed fully conscious during the forensic exam and investigation in the hours after the alleged rape. I've been to the hospital in this type of scenario and this dismissal is based on nothing more than ignorance and bigotry.

If being conscious during the forensic exam and investigation hours after a crime was committed is viewed as proof that someone was conscious during the alleged rape then it must be viewed as proof when someone wakes to a non-sexual assault being committed or wakes after a non-sexual assault was committed and realizes a non-sex assault has occurred.

But because we don't have the same bigotry about non-sexual assaults as we do about sexual assaults -- and those who report sexual assaults -- identical details are rightfully viewed as meaningless.

Knight and too many others claim to be for justice when they are in fact actively working to support injustice. We must call them on their false claims since those false claims do nothing to genuinely identify individuals who are in fact falsely accused of rape or any other crime.

h/t: Feministing Community

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:03 AM   2 comments links to this post


At April 03, 2009 2:44 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Spot on 'Those who oppose the Afghan law cannot ethically turn around and deny rape committed by a spouse, a boyfriend or even a (male) friend.'

Exactly, if it is acceptable for Afghan husbands to rape their wives, then it is also a non-rape if a British husband rapes his wife, or a British man rapes a woman he is acquainted with.

But Knight's misogynistic claims are widely accepted within the UK and increasingly rape is viewed as non-rape because the vast majority of men rape women they are acquainted with. It also means UK women who report a known man has raped them are commonly disbelieved because unfortunately there is no neutral witness to the alleged rape which means it is legal for men to rape known women when there are no neutral, objective male witnesses.

Furthermore, the UK law has no irrebutable presumption that if a woman is unconscious due to consuming alcohol or is drunk she is irrefutably incapable of giving free and informed consent.

Most rapes are committed without a neutral male witness and this is why only in cases of male sexual violence against women are the female victims automatically viewed as liars, unless they can provide a neutral, male witness who is able to declare the woman did not 'consent.' So especially in the UK rape is now legal unless a neutral, male witness is able to corroborate the female survivor's statement a man/men had raped her.

By the same logic, because a rescue worker, medical examiner and a police officer all claim a woman rape survivor was not intoxicated when they saw her, then of course she could not possibly have been intoxicated at the time three men allegedly raped her.

One has to wonder how these 'experts' had such accurate knowledge, given they were not present when three men allegedly raped the woman.

Such claims serve to deny women rape survivors justice and also reinforce male rapists' beliefs it is their right to commit rape because it is never rape simply a woman' supposedly automatic drunken consent.

At April 03, 2009 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If being conscious during the forensic exam and investigation hours after a crime was committed is viewed as proof that someone was conscious during the alleged rape then it must be viewed as proof when someone wakes to a non-sexual assault being committed or wakes after a non-sexual assault was committed and realizes a non-sex assault has occurred.

If we take this to its conclusion, surely it's proof that I was not asleep an hour ago, since I'm awake now. But all that would do is expose how patently absurd that so-called logic is.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home