A retired female judge has said that the number of rape cases won’t decrease until women stop getting so drunk. Is she on the money?
Judge Mary Jane Mowat, who retired as a UK judge on 1 August 2014, said that given as the burden of proof in rape trials lies with the prosecution, it inevitably becomes a case of “one person’s word against another”. And until women stop getting so drunk, that word cannot be relied on. Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Judge Mowat said, “rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk.
“I’m not saying it’s right to rape a drunken woman, I’m not saying for a moment that it’s allowable to take advantage of a drunken woman.
“But a jury in a position where they’ve got a woman who says ‘I was absolutely off my head, I can’t really remember what I was doing, I can’t remember what I said, I can’t remember if I consented or not but I know I wouldn’t have done’. I mean when a jury is faced with something like that, how are they supposed to react?”
Her comments have understandably drawn criticism from rape crisis organisations. Kate Russell, spokesperson from Rape Crisis England & Wales responded in The Independent to Judge Mowat’s comments, saying, “The point that she and other influential people within the criminal justice system should be making clearly and publicly is that the legal responsibility is with the defendant in a rape case to evidence how they sought and received consent,” said Katie Russell.
“And if a woman is incapacitated through drink or drugs then she is not capable of giving her consent.”
Is Judge Mowat correct in her summation of the current situation, or should a country’s legal system give more protection to those who have been the victim of rape and assault?
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