UK: Campaigners criticise BBC’s ‘The Verdict’ for trivialising rape

End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Campaign

Call for more ‘reality on rape’ in television programmes

Commenting today on the BBC television ‘rape trial’ programme ‘The Verdict’, the End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaign criticised the ‘reality’ TV show for its lack of reality and for trivialising rape.

The End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaign, which is calling for the government to fund local services for victims and challenge attitudes which condone a culture of sexual violence, believes that The Verdict fails to show the reality of rape and the way the criminal justice system fails victims.

The programme comes just two weeks after the Police and CPS Inspectorates made widespread criticisms of the way rape is investigated and prosecuted.

End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaign chair Professor Liz Kelly said:

“The Verdict is guilty of trivialising rape. This is reality television that misses much of the reality of rape - for example the fact that most Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are raped by someone they know.

“With rape rarely dealt with at any length by broadcasters, The Verdict is a missed opportunity to show the facts on rape. The bleak truth about rape is that little support or justice exists for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in this country.

“There is almost nowhere for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to go to receive support, as rape crisis centres are being closed down because of lack of funding. There are now only 37 Rape Crisis services In England and Wales, compared with 68 in 1984.”

The End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaign is pointing out that the path to justice for a rape victim is hampered by systemic state failures and prejudicial attitudes towards Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. For example:

  • A minimum 47,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in England and Wales are raped each year - and most rapes are committed by someone the woman knows
  • Up to 95% of victims do not report the matter to the police
  • Of those cases that are reported, over half do not proceed past the police investigation stage. The Inspectorates’ report raised concern about police officers over-estimating the number of false allegations and wrongly recording a case ‘no-crime’
  • Only 5.3% of cases reported to the police result in conviction
  • In 2005, an Amnesty International opinion poll showed that a third of people in the UK believed that a woman herself was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she had ‘behaved in a flirtatious manner’, was deemed ‘drunk’ or was wearing ‘sexy or revealing’ clothing
  • These attitudes are likely to pervade the criminal justice system. Research for the Home Office has found that disbelieving the victim is a key factor in the high ‘attrition rate’ in the crime of rape

Professor Kelly said:

“The fact is that the majority of perpetrators of rape simply get away with it. As most rapists are repeat offenders, they often go on to offend again and again.

“Funding for many rape crisis centres after this March is highly uncertain. The grim reality is that soon there may be even fewer services for victims of rape than there are now. A BBC programme on this issue would be welcome.

“We need to see guaranteed funding for vital local services that deal with the reality of rape, day in day out.”

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