OU blog

Personal Blogs


Questions of law

Visible to anyone in the world
This 'bedroom tax' really hits a new low and has to be the worst piece of legislation to pass through a so-called modern democratic parliament. When doing politics, I learned that the UK doesn't have a written constitution but one that is drawn from law and tradition. There is a long standing tradition in England, that an Englishman's home is his/her castle. Surely, a case could be taken against the government on the grounds that this 'bedroom tax' in unconstitutional, and as such could be thrown out by the court?? On the question of law and justice, here's another one. There is a very low percentage of conviction in rape cases, from the already very low number that actually get to court. Often in rape cases, it comes down to one persons word against another. Now, I've thought about this one a lot, there is one simple question that could be asked in court to differentiate between rape and consensual sex, and it's this. How many times did you kiss during the sexual act? It's quite simple really, because rapists don't kiss you while they're raping you? The act of love-making or sex, usually involves a lot of kissing, rape is an act of violence, there isn't much kissing involved.
Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Kathryn Johnson, Friday, 5 July 2013, 16:38)
Share post


Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 19 Oct 2023, 16:25

I was reticent about writing on this subject, and I was going to comment on it earlier this year when Senate hopefuls, Todd Akin, and Indiana State Treasurer, Richard Mourdock came out with some crassly stupid remarks on the subject but decided to leave it as a topic for another day, sure that it would come up again but I never envisaged that it would be in such shocking terms.

The death of the young woman in India from injuries sustained from a violent gang-rape has sickened and shocked me, and I am not one who is easily shocked.  This young woman was stripped and gang-raped for an hour before being badly beaten and then thrown into the street. 

I feel physically ill when I think of how utterly helpless and terrified she must have been. The thing that is missing in relation to many discussions about rape, is that very little attention paid to the long term effects and aftermath. Over the years there has been a lot of nonsense written about rape, mostly by people who know nothing about it. Some say that it has nothing to do with sex that it is about power. I disagree, it is about sex and power but it is also about immaturity, and cultural and religious beliefs. The question has been asked many times, why do men rape?  Well, the simple answer to that is, because they can, and mostly because they know they will get away with it. Just to clarify, when I say men, I mean it only to denote male in gender because no real man would ever rape anyone and would be abhorred by the idea of forcing themselves sexually on another human being. The preoccupation with sex in our society merely reflects our own immaturity in dealing with it, and is also reflected in the fact that almost every woman I know has, at some point in her life, been sexually assaulted by a man, the only difference is the degree to which it happened. I remember as a teenager, even before the assault, being hunted like an animal by young men who thought they had the right to manhandle me in any way they chose.  There was nothing extraordinary in this, it was almost a social norm. 

The attitude of the man who assaulted me and the men who assaulted this young woman is exactly the same. It is two-fold, on the one hand it comes from their overblown sense of entitlement, culturally they have been socialized to believe they have the right to do and to take what they want. On the other hand, it can reflect the religious and cultural belief that a woman is of less value than a man. The Bible is often used to justify this belief and we saw it in action recently in the vote against women bishops in the Church of England. The Bible is an amazing book, it contains a lot of history and also a lot of truths about humanity and our origins. But people have used it many times to justify their own prejudices and to give credence to beliefs about the superiority of men over women and other ridiculous ideas like Manifest Destiny and the superiority of some ‘races’ over others. Within the Bible you could find a passage to support any argument, just by virtue of the volume of writings contained within it. We also need to remember that the Bible was put together by men not God. It has been edited and re-written in part by several Popes. Its texts are selective and reflect the times in which they were written and what has been left out of the Bible is almost as significant as what is contained within it.

Unfortunately, these archaic cultural and religious ideas of a woman’s inferiority are still prevalent throughout the world, even in supposedly more advanced countries. It can be seen all around us from the extremism of the Taliban, to the front benches of the present Government and again the only difference is in how it manifests itself in action, is in degrees. We all remember Mr Cameron’s patronising ‘calm down dear’ to Angela Eagle. 

Most societies, ours included, has patriarchy as one of its foundations and when something is that inherent it is very difficult to change. It was only recently that the primogeniture rule in relation to the Crown was changed to allow a first born female to be monarch.

The caste system and the class system are no different in practice, they both promote the idea of inferior and superior people. The most extreme case of this was in Nazi Germany, which is often presented as an aberration in history, a one-off event. This is a lie. Nazi Germany was the accumulation of 2000 years of bigotry and prejudice against the Jewish people, driven in the greater part by the ‘Christian’ Churches. Again, I use that term lightly because too often the Churches act in ways that are far from the Christian ideal. 

It really is time for a re-think on these issues but I don’t hold out much hope of it happening soon. It would be wonderful if the horror of this incident changed attitudes, maybe it will, but I think it will take a lot of time. I do, however, take heart from the younger generations here in Ireland where I see change happening and fathers being much more involved in the care of their children than past generations. 

As long as we continue to create social hierarchies among people, as long as we continue to bring up our males to believe in their superiority, as long as the class and caste systems remain in place, and as long as these cultural and religious beliefs go unchallenged, unfortunately, incidents like this will continue to happen.


Comments, as usual, are welcome.


Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 6 Jan 2013, 15:41)
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 1459574