actions need to follow systematic examination

The Guardian today has two very different reports on rape.  One focuses on a government review on how rape cases are handled here in the UK while the other looks at the prison sentence for a man in South Africa who was jailed for the murder and gang rape of a lesbian international footballer.

Harriet Harman has called for a ‘systematic examination on how rape cases are being handled’ after it was revealed yesterday that police failed to record 45 per cent of rape claims.   A systematic examination is all well and good but surely it’s time for action.

The government needs to throw more energy and resources into assuring rape victims that their claim will be taken seriously, fully recorded and get to court.  It could also go some way to tackling attitudes like those of vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham who claims that curvy students are the ‘perk of the job’

On the same subject but further afield in South Africa, the life prison sentence for one man involved in the murder and gang rape of footballer Eudy Simelane will hopefully send a clear signal that ‘corrective rape’ will not be tolerated.

South Africa has a dreadful record of violence against women and girls. According to Amnesty International’s report, from June 2007 – March 2008, there were a reported 20,082 rapes of women 16,068 reported rapes of children under 18 and 6,127 cases of indecent assault. Victims do not report attacks for fear of stigma and pressure by the perpetrators – in turn this allows many attackers to continue without fear of retribution.

It’s clear that in many countries around the world, acts of sexual violence against women is still a long way from being stopped.

On 1 October Amnesty is hosting the launch of a new book called Created Equal. Actor Patrick Stewart wrote the foreword and will be introducing the event. During that evening we will be discussing attitudes to violence against women and how they can be tackled. If you’re free next Thursday do come along – should make for a lively debate.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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