Breaking news: Man falls over; rape no big deal

NS April 9th, 2009

Excuse my language but what the FUCK is wrong with this picture?

Police at the G20 protest last week hit from behind and then pushed to the ground an unarmed, (what appeared to be) non-aggressive man who later had a heart attack and died. While this is unacceptable behaviour, no matter what the man may have been doing or saying, it has not been established yet if there was a link between the incident and the man’s death. The public, however, are already baying for the police commisioner’s head on a stick and demanding an independent inquiry, the officers involved sacked and possibly even charged with manslaughter.

Forgive me if this sounds insensitive, but I’m more than a little pissed off at all of this outrage being expressed over a man being pushed down when virtually NONE was expressed over the repeated failures of the police to investigate and link together the dozens, if not hundreds, of sexual assaults and rapes perpetrated by John Worboys, the Black Cab Rapist (finally) convicted last month, despite remarkably telltale signs of a single, serial predator. The gross negligence of duty and care, the indifference shown towards sexual assault victims and the unwillingess of the Met to punish anyone internally for the mistakes and blunders that led to a rapist remaining free to attack for nearly five years is utterly appalling and a telling commentary on how the police (and society as a whole) view rape and its prosecution.

Yes, this man died after being pushed over by police and that’s horrible and should be investigated thoroughly. I’m not taking away from his family’s suffering or the seriousness of the issues it highlights. But where were those infuriated voices and calls for inquiries when it was discovered how badly the police, the very “Sapphire Units” meant to catch and prosecute sexual predators, handled the Worboys investigation, if they initiated one at all? If not for the one officer who put two and two together after reading the victims’ reports, which were remarkably similar, Worboys would likely still be preying on women in the streets of London today.

I could’ve been one of those women. Your sister or friend could’ve been one of those women. You could’ve been one of those women. The Worboys case should’ve raised public consciousness of the seriousness of rape and initiated a massive investigation into how we view, handle and prosecute it. Were campaigns launched and did heads roll? No. What we got was more silence, or at best a few admonishments towards women about taking cabs alone and on accepting drinks from strangers, putting the onus back on us – US! – to watch our backs and prevent rape from happening. Let me just get my How Not To Get Raped Checklist in order:

  • Don’t wear revealing clothing unless you want to be accused of false advertising
  • Don’t get drunk or do drugs. That’s an open invitation to be used and abused. Men just can’t help themselves when they see a woman under the influence
  • Don’t chat to or accept drinks from strange men but get called uptight and paranoid if you don’t
  • Don’t walk or take public transport alone, even if there is no alternative
  • Don’t have a sexual history or enjoy sex. This will later be used against you in a court of law
  • Don’t flirt with and kiss a man and then decline to put out. That’s just confusing to them
  • Always physically resist by biting, scratching and hitting your assailant, even if by doing so you risk being beaten or killed. If there is no sign of a struggle, how will the police know you aren’t just crying rape because you regret being a big whore?
  • Always run immediately into the street, crying hysterically and screaming. If you go home and deal with the shock for a couple days before reporting it, you lose all credibility.
  • Be willing to “accept some responsibility” if you are raped while drunk. I mean, what did you expect?
  • It’s so complicated and exhausting, all these rules we have to follow in order to ward off rape. Wouldn’t it be easier if men just followed the only two they need to know?

  • Get active consent before sexual contact and stop when a woman says No
  • Don’t initiate sexual contact with drunk or otherwise incapacitated women
  • Seems pretty simple to me.

    Next week: outrage over people who don’t spay and neuter their pets; nothing about domestic violence.

    2 Responses to “Breaking news: Man falls over; rape no big deal”

    1. jen says:

      i agree with the outrage over the serial rapist. i have to admit i don’t understand the outrage over the cop who pushed the guy (which, while out of order, was clearly not done with the intent of causing actual death, and is pretty low on the scale of Shit Cops Have Done Against Civilians)

    2. andrea says:

      i agree that rape and violence toward women does not get nearly the attention from police and media that it deserves. i think it’s an unfortunate truth not only for the US and UK, but all over the world. putting the responsiblity on women to “protect” themselves by the standards you outlined is a cowardly and disturbing way for police to brush this important issue under the rug rather than cause a rift in the good ol’ boys club.