Thursday, 13 August 2009

sentencing guidelines for rape cases

i was listening to this item on morning report (radio nz, 8.36am) regarding sentencing guidelines for rape acting. apparently there's a case up before the court of appeal that is going to lead to some guidelines being set down, as there are for other types of crime.

i don't have the legal background to make any kind of proper analysis about this, but there seems to be some danger here that certain types of rape will be, well, trivialised in the process of setting guidelines. it reminds me of this excellent post which was in the 14th down under feminist carnival, and i'll post again the extract that i included in the carnival:

The perceived semantics and language of rape – witness the ongoing debate about “grey rape”, “marital rape” and “date rape” (with many pundits and politicians seemingly believing the latter two don’t even exist) – are doubly frustrating because the fact that we even need to argue about the impact of language in these situations demonstrates that the seriousness of rape is still doubted or misunderstood. If a man rapes me, no matter whether I am given a black eye, a slit throat, a drink laced with drugs, or a bunch of flowers afterwards, a man has still raped me. When will the wider community (and, importantly, the legal world) realise that the issue is not (primarily, at least) what happened before, during or after the rape, but the rape itself?

there will be 5 judges who decide on these guidelines. i don't how many of these will be women (2 of the current 9 judges are women), but more importantly, how they have ruled on rape cases in the past. in any case, my first reaction is that this is not a good thing, but i'd be interested to hear what more informed minds think about the matter.

No comments: