Sunday, February 05, 2006

Your Honour if she hadn't wanted to be raped she should have avoided being born a woman

A couple of days ago National Radio had a short piece about a rape trial. Ranui Biddle had made a $50 bet with a friend that he could have sex with the friend's flatmate within six months. She twice allowed him to stay the night in his bed. The second time he raped her, while she said no.

During the trial: "defence counsel Michael Knowles pointed to what he called mixed messages from her that could have encouraged Biddle to think she might have been keen for a relationship."

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The judge approved:

"What the judge thinks doesn't matter a damn," said Judge Erber after the verdict had been delivered. "But I think in the circumstances it would have been very unsafe for any other verdict to be returned."
Unsafe? Unsafe! Well yes it may have been unsafe for men who wanted to force women to have sex with them. Then 'mixed messages means yes' is quite a good standard. But for women who do occasionally want to interact with men, without accidentally cosenting to sex, it's a pretty unsafe verdict.

13 comments:

  1. Nice result for Ranui Biddle - gets away with rape and gets given 50 bucks into the bargain. I was wondering where they could find 12 brain-dead inbreds to be the jurors, but from reading your quote it seems they also found one to act as judge, so inbreds can't be that hard to round up.

    Even if such bullshit had any credibility as a defence ("I had no choice but to hold her down and stick it in her, yer honour - I was confused by her mixed messages!"), doesn't the fact he's got a $50 bet riding on it constitute a huge motherfucker of a conflict of interest? I guess we now have a new precedent in NZ law: the penalty for stupidity in a female is rape.

    At least Ranui Biddle's mates will have learned something from the experience though - next time he bets them he can have sex with someone within 6 months (does anyone imagine he won't after this?), they'd better have a think about how they define "sex".

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  2. This case is so sad. I had a friend many years ago in a somewhat similar situation and none of us, her included, really thought about it as rape at the time (ill educated young teens that we were). I've been very very angry with the man concerned ever since I worked it out. Luckily I haven't seen him for years. But he's on my List.

    It reminds me also of depressing conversations I've had with people (including young women), in anti-date rape seminars at hostels, about when it is "too late" to say no to sex. If the woman (or man for that matter, but let's face it, it's the woman) says no after penetration, does the other partner have to stop? Or would they be morally ok to continue as it's really too late to expect them to pull out (read: act like a rational thinking human being and respect the wishes of their partner).

    Hmm I think there's a bit more in this, I'm going to post about it before I start hegemonically moving into your comments section Maia ;-)

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  3. here we go:
    http://spanblather.blogspot.com/2006/02/saying-no.html

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  4. BOO!!!!! WTF???

    I'm really at a loss for words. Wonder what the judge would say if the same thing happened to him (I'm assuming the judge is male)

    ARGH

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  5. Sadly actually you can't assume the judge is male (i have no idea of the gender of the judge) as a lot of us are not very sisterly when it comes to this kind of thing - that is the thing that really really depresses me - I can just imagine the "but really, what did she expect" and "she was asking for it" comments that many women, even women I am close to and love, will probably make about this case.

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  6. The judge was a man, his name was Stephen Erber. As a friend of mine said, it's the judge I hate most, the rapist was a rapist - you don't actually expect anything from rapists, defence lawyers do what defence lawyers do, the judge has no excuse.

    Although I agree, in general, I've heard some very scary things from women about rape.

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  7. Oh and I've edited the post to include a link to the stuff article, which I'd accidentally left out

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3558723a11,00.html

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  8. It's situations like this that make me wonder about how some people get so frothed at the mouth about the "all men are rapists" thing (which was a misquote, anyway).

    If in order not to be raped, women need to pretty much sit behind electrified barbed wire to avoid sending mixed messages, what's that saying about the moral capacity of men? Isn't it completely insulting to give men that many excuses for not understanding what no means? Do we expect them to have a go whenever they think they have a chance, no matter how dodgy? And isn't that the same as saying they're all potentially rapists?

    I don't buy it.

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  9. It's also buying into this false dichotomy that men want sex and women don't.

    I'm sure there are times when men say no too, but how many cases of women raping men are there? I'm sure there are some (despite the physical problems) but the fact remains that rape (and sexual assault) is still mainly a crime committed by men, upon women.

    But I digress.

    I guess I just find it so frustrating how highly socialised we are about sex - that men apparently all want it, all the time, while women never want it, except when they give in or have to (unless of course they are deviant sluts, ie people who let other people sleep in their beds).

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  10. I don't know how to create a link, but I wrote about this too: News from the land of WTF!

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  11. The links come through automatically on blogspot - thanks for your contribution.

    I'm glad there's been other people to be angry with.

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  12. Anonymous4:24 pm

    who the fuck are any of you to judge this guy, whos to say she wasn't lying.
    Thats right you don't know ,only the 2 of them know the truth.
    NOT GUILTY work it out!!
    In the case he was found guilty ,I would fully agree but give the guy a break. Did u ever stop to think the guy might actually be innocent, and if that were the case, how would he be feeling .Having his name dragged throuh the mud and it was a load of bullshit!!
    It has been known to happen!!

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