Thursday, 3 July 2014

Summing Up

Judge Michael Mettyear said the following to a man who was recently convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for raping a woman:

It's sad to see a man of generally good character in the dock for such a serious offence.

I do not regard you as a classic rapist. I do not think you are a general danger to strangers. You are not the type who goes searching for a woman to rape.This was a case where you just lost control of normal restraint.

It was almost out of the blue that two girls turned up late at night, very, very drunk, at your home.
The victim was the worst for drink out of the two of them. She was completely out of it. I accept that evidence.
She was a pretty girl who you fancied. You simply could not resist. You had sex with her.
She was clearly upset at the time. The consequences continued. She was unable to work for a while. She has had to take anti-depressants.
She has lost her cheerfulness and outgoing spirit.
It is a great shame you did not have the courage to say, 'I have made a terrible mistake and I am sorry'.
That would have made it much easier for her and I could have passed a lighter sentence.

Imagine if the Judge had said the following instead:
It's sad to see a woman who's life has been seriously damaged having to give evidence for such a serious offence against her. I don't care what a good bloke your employer thinks you are; a man of 'generally good character' does not rape women. 
Men who don't hate women don't need to think about not 'losing control of normal restraint'. A man who needs to think about not 'losing control of normal restraint' around women needs to seek help immediately. Also, I'm a judge which means I know a thing or two; I know that rape isn't about sex, really. I know that rape is about power, control and misogyny. So, I know that talking about 'losing control' in this case doesn't make any sense because the reason men rape women is to gain control.
I regard you as a rapist. You are a classic rapist. You are a classic rapist because a classic rapist is someone who rapes someone else and that's what you did. End of story.
You're clearly a danger to strangers because you raped a vulnerable woman you don't know. 
Had two girls turned up late at night at your house, you should have called their parents. Or Social Services. In fact, two women turned up late at night at your house. They were very, very drunk which is only relevant due to the following: if two very, very drunk women turned up late at my house, I probably would have called them a taxi or made them go to sleep in my bed while I slept on the sofa because I'm not a disturbed individual.
Your victim was even more drunk than her friend. Maybe this is why you decided to rape her instead of her friend who was less drunk? That speaks volumes about your lack of respect for women and for consent.
You've told the Court that your victim was a pretty girl woman who you fancied. This is irrelevant because, as I said earlier, rape isn't about sex or about fancying people. And also, if your lawyer advised you to rely on that fact as evidence to the Court as part of your your defence, he or she should probably have a good look at his or her attitude to women. 
Apparently, you simply could not resist having sex with your victim. I refer you to the above paragraph.
Your victim was 'upset' at the time. I feel like this might be a monumental understatement. I was going to say that she has lost her 'bubbly nature' but instead I'll say this: she has lost her cheerfulness and outgoing spirit.
It is a great shame that you are a rapist. If you had said something like, 'I made a terrible mistake and I am sorry', it probably wouldn't have made any difference to your victim's suffering, either at the time or in the years to come. This is because the impact of rape on a woman usually lasts for the rest of her life. She will be depressed and anxious. She might well suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She will probably feel guilty and ashamed.  She may well find it hard to form close relationships. Her existing relationships might break down. She might self-harm or attempt suicide. She might not be able to continue working. That kind of thing. Also, nobody rapes someone by mistake; people do it on purpose, because they want to, because they want power over someone else. So, if you were to have said, 'I'm sorry, I made a terrible mistake' it would have been a statement of such despicable disrespect and poverty of insight that I might have held you in contempt of court.
To sum up, there is one thing that would have made it easier for your victim and that thing is you not raping her.