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Assault vs Sexual Assault - a civilised debate

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Brock
1373708.  Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:53 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
That I did continue initially was out of respect for your opinions but since you have no inclination to consider my views merely a desire to deride and deliberately misrepresent them and claim as justification that in responding to your post line by line I didn't consider your argument I see no point in continuing; from my point of view this is a pity but frankly I have neither the energy nor the inclination to throw accusation and counter accusation back and forth while I offer answers to your points as completely and directly as I can and you claim that I have not done so.


A sentence comprising eight lines of text with one semicolon and no commas is what I'd call a "wall of text".

 
Alexander Howard
1373721.  Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:31 pm Reply with quote

Many years ago I sat in the Visitor's Gallery of the House of Commons, watching an almost empty House in which a government minister gave a statement of policy, then her opposite number said exactly the same in barely different words, and each continued to attack the other across the floor for saying what each had herself just said. Some things here remind me of that.

 
dr.bob
1374026.  Tue Feb 09, 2021 10:28 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
You find it unacceptable that I referred to your links in the wrong order


Not unacceptable, just massively confusing. Not the ideal way to conduct a discussion.

Celebaelin wrote:
yet you ignore the content of the links I have provided in their entirety


This is factually incorrect. I responded to the content of the links you provided, noting the difference between regulations as written and how they're enacted in the real world.

Celebaelin wrote:
it seems clear to me that if you consider what must be about 1000 words at a time or quite possibly considerably less a 'wall of text' astrophysics must be a substantially simpler discipline than I gave it credit for.


I would categorise a "wall of text" not simply by the number of characters contained therein, but whether or not the text actually says anything useful. As I pointed out, your references took a lot of text to say very little, and completely ignored several of the points I raised.

Celebaelin wrote:
If you had read my provided links


I read them, and responded to them.

Celebaelin wrote:
you would, I hope, at least understand the purpose of citing them - that is as legal commentary on the points you make.


The problem with your sources is that they make a point that has already been rendered irrelevant by the sources I posted previously. The Big Brother Watch report made it clear that the way the police are implementing guidance on the ground is far from ideal. So having you post a source which says the guidance is written in a certain way adds very little to the discussion, and leaves me with the distinct impression that you haven't bothered to read the sources I've posted.

If you're just going to keep making the same assertions and never bother to read or respond to the sources I post, it makes the whole discussion exceptionally one-sided and utterly pointless.

Celebaelin wrote:
Your post gives the impression of someone spoiling for a bitter confrontation entirely on your own terms


I'm sorry it comes across that way. In reality, the post was a result of me becoming completely frustrated and annoyed that I was having a discussion with someone who consistently ignored most of the points I had raised, only chose to tackle a choice selection of points, and even tackled those poorly.

Celebaelin wrote:
but since you have no inclination to consider my views


I'll have to leave now as my irony-meter has just exploded and is threatening to set fire to the curtains.

 
Jenny
1374036.  Tue Feb 09, 2021 10:51 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
One of Jenny's moderately consistent objections was/is that Rape and Sexual Assault should not be treated in the same manner as other forms of assault. The article she cited disagreed with her on that point insisting that they should be but are not. This is in particular reference to conviction rates in Denver which muddies the waters as it crosses over both the Atlantic and the frequent lack of available evidence in, most notably, non-violent sexual assaults.


Like dr.bob, Cele, this is where I wonder if you actually read what I write. My argument all along has been that rape and sexual assault are not, in fact, treated in the same manner as other forms of assault. I pointed out to you the paucity of even charges being brought for rape, and the tiny percentage of convictions. How does this compare with other allegations of assault and convictions for it? Or is it your contention that the victims of such offences are lying to a hugely greater extent than victims of other assaults?

Also, you have this tendency to take every example as if it were only the basis for discussion of the issue in that particular place (which in the example I used was Denver) rather than illustrative of a far more general attitude that applies on both sides of the Atlantic.

 
Celebaelin
1374049.  Tue Feb 09, 2021 1:08 pm Reply with quote

I cannot find the original source for this data from The Independent but I'll lend it credence for what it purports to be ie statistics reported for England and Wales.

Quote:
The reason for closing almost half of investigations was that no suspect had been identified, but almost a third were listed as “evidential difficulties”.

There was a sharp rise in the proportion of cases recorded as “victim does not support action”, increasing to 42 per cent for violence, 35 per cent with rapes and 29 per cent of sexual offences.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/crime-statistics-uk-justice-prosecution-rates-rape-victims-disclosure-police-funding-a8747191.html

So approximately 80% of cases of all sorts do not have sufficient evidence to achieve a realistic chance of a conviction or have no identified suspect and the proportion of reported non-sexual violent crimes for which no suspect can be identified is actually higher than that for rape.

Of the 20% of all reported crime remaining 8.2% ultimately result in prosecutions leaving 91.8% of reported crimes unprosecuted. I believe you cited the figure for reported rapes as 89% unprosecuted so I think it's reasonable to call these figures comparable. The Independent's figure for this is 98.1% however (up from 97.6%) which is troubling* but as has been mentioned several times Rape is notoriously difficult to prosecute and the figure should be viewed in light of this.

The UK figures for 2020 will be atypical because of lockdown; the best UK information I can find on violent crime is available from

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/thenatureofviolentcrimeappendixtables

and dates from 2018 - these figures are the English (England and Wales) national statistics for reported crimes AIUI but they do not show corresponding rates of conviction nor can I find any link to such data. As I mentioned previously The Independent reports that 8.2% of all reported crimes reach trial but I can find no figures for conviction rates for assaults in England and so cannot offer a basis for comparison.

Jenny wrote:
My argument all along has been that rape and sexual assault are not, in fact, treated in the same manner as other forms of assault.

No, it hasn’t been; you’ve been arguing that they are not alike and shouldn’t be considered as being so.

Jenny wrote:
Cele I think one of the issues you're overlooking is that you are putting sexual assault and physical assault on the same basis, and I don't think they are.

I on the other hand have been arguing that there is sufficient similarity in the crimes that a shared basis exists for comparison and commonality of handling under the law. That the statistics are not available online to clarify whether violent assaults against men and violent assaults against women exhibit similar prosecution and conviction rates is annoying as this would give us a national database to cite for England and Wales (my jurisdictional area of concern) which would settle the dispute as a matter of record since you now agree with me that the general nature of crime of this variety is comparable.

I have not given expression to any personally held view regarding the degree of incidence of false allegations in violent assaults but I should like to ask when you write

Jenny wrote:
Or is it your contention that the victims of such offences are lying to a hugely greater extent than victims of other assaults?

what ‘other assaults’ you mean given your current full blown acceptance of the commonalities in the grouping of assaults against the person?

* If I were to guess, as I'm obliged to, it seems likely that other comparisons on a crime by crime basis across the board would not show a 6.3% departure from the overall mean and that this disparity would be shown to be statistically significant. If that is the case the CPS needs to acknowledge this and continue to seek a way to redress this discrepancy. None of the approaches yet explored have been proven effective and as yet no further new procedural suggestions which meet with broad approval have been implemented or even made that I am aware of. The CPS are caught between the demands for increased prosecutions and those for higher conviction rates it seems.


Last edited by Celebaelin on Wed Feb 10, 2021 6:15 am; edited 2 times in total

 
CB27
1374056.  Tue Feb 09, 2021 2:49 pm Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
Jenny wrote:
Or is it your contention that the victims of such offences are lying to a hugely greater extent than victims of other assaults?

what ‘other assaults’ you mean given your current full blown acceptance of the commonalities in the grouping of assaults against the person?


Considering the sensitive and personal nature of the subject, can we leave out semantic one-upmanship?

Saying that all assaults should be treated equally under the law is not the same as saying they should not be categorised further. All crimes, regardless of their commonalities, are further categorised to help police, councils, town planners, and many others study possible impacts that crime has on the population, and to study ways of reducing such crimes.

 
bobwilson
1374078.  Tue Feb 09, 2021 6:03 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
to additionally ask what solution you offer to the difficulty in securing convictions in Rape trials?


Surely, the object isn't to achieve a better conviction rate in rape trials but to reduce the incidence of rape? (Or more broadly, non-consensual sexual encroachment).

It often matters to frame the problem correctly to tend toward the correct solution.

 
Celebaelin
1374096.  Wed Feb 10, 2021 1:59 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Considering the sensitive and personal nature of the subject, can we leave out semantic one-upmanship?

That's not one-upmanship it's a superior argument - even without any implication of cynical obfuscation i) that was a response to a false claim not a quibble about phraseology and ii) no, not really - the whole purpose of debates such as this is to crystallise thought into precise expression; in a written form in this case. As such the words we use are themselves the very substance of our stated views and the utmost care and precision must be exercised in order to convey our true meaning and intent. This is made all the more crucial through the 'sensitive and personal nature of the subject'.

CB27 wrote:
Saying that all assaults should be treated equally under the law is not the same as saying they should not be categorised further.

Nobody has as yet equated those things and nobody until now, if indeed that is what you're doing, has proposed a further sub-categorisation although I'm interested to hear any suggestions for this that might have crossed your mind.

bobwilson wrote:
Surely, the object isn't to achieve a better conviction rate in rape trials but to reduce the incidence of rape? (Or more broadly, non-consensual sexual encroachment).

My intention in the quote of mine you cite was to discover what remedial measures Jenny would advocate to ameliorate any injustices in the legal proceedings. As with many of us it seems from her reticence that Jenny sees no obvious or immediate steps that could be taken at this point.

bobwilson wrote:
It often matters to frame the problem correctly to tend toward the correct solution.

I can definitely confirm that this has been one of my objectives in this 'exploration' - identifying and dispensing with obvious fallacies and incidental errors will surely direct us towards a more satisfactory resolution for all.

 
dr.bob
1374133.  Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:21 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
So approximately 80% of cases of all sorts do not have sufficient evidence to achieve a realistic chance of a conviction or have no identified suspect and the proportion of reported non-sexual violent crimes for which no suspect can be identified is actually higher than that for rape.


I've read the article several times now, and I can't see the basis for those claims you're making. Please could you elucidate where they came from.

For the avoidance of doubt, the figures I can see quoted in the article are:

- only 8.2 per cent of 5 million recorded crimes were prosecuted, down from 9.5 per cent the previous year.

- The lowest figures were for sexual offences (4 per cent), with only 1.9 per cent of recorded rapes prosecuted – down from 2.4 per cent the previous year.

-The reason for closing almost half of investigations was that no suspect had been identified, but almost a third were listed as “evidential difficulties”.

- There was a sharp rise in the proportion of cases recorded as “victim does not support action”, increasing to 42 per cent for violence, 35 per cent with rapes and 29 per cent of sexual offences.

Nowhere can I see any justification for your 80% figure above, or comparisons between different crimes about no identified suspect. However, it's a long article and I may be missing something, so perhaps you could explain more fully.

Celebaelin wrote:
Of the 20% of all reported crime remaining 8.2% ultimately result in prosecutions leaving 91.8% of reported crimes unprosecuted. I believe you cited the figure for reported rapes as 89% unprosecuted so I think it's reasonable to call these figures comparable.


I'm not sure what you hope to achieve by comparing figures for rape from a different article to other crimes from this article, particularly when the article goes on to say:

Celebaelin wrote:
The Independent's figure for [rape] is 98.1% however (up from 97.6%)


Moving on....

Celebaelin wrote:
I on the other hand have been arguing that there is sufficient similarity in the crimes that a shared basis exists for comparison and commonality of handling under the law.


If your position is that rape and sexual assault should be handled the same under the law as other forms of assault, why have you been consistently ignoring all the evidence to the contrary that both Jenny and I have presented?

Even the article that you link to above notes that:

1) A number of factors, including demands for phones and personal records (remember those?) are making rape victims drop claims.

2) There are an increasing number of rape victims who do not want to endure the criminal justice process and victims are reporting the criminal justice journey is as harrowing as the crime itself.

3) The CPS is accused of “weeding weak cases out of the system” to raise conviction rates.

Celebaelin wrote:
I should like to ask when you write

Jenny wrote:
Or is it your contention that the victims of such offences are lying to a hugely greater extent than victims of other assaults?

what ‘other assaults’ you mean given your current full blown acceptance of the commonalities in the grouping of assaults against the person?


Do you really need to ask that question? It seemed blindingly obvious to me when Jenny wrote:

Jenny wrote:
My argument all along has been that rape and sexual assault are not, in fact, treated in the same manner as other forms of assault.


Clearly here the term "other forms of assault" is referring to everything that isn't rape or sexual assault. In other words, common assault, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, etc. Is that really so hard to understand?

 
dr.bob
1374134.  Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:30 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
There is however no need for me to agree with your assertion of an obvious or self-evident inequality (which clearly I currently don't) for me to additionally ask what solution you offer to the difficulty in securing convictions in Rape trials?


I would recommend you read this report from an all-party law reform and human rights organisation called "Justice". The members of the commission include judges, QCs, solicitors, lawyers, and even experts in Scottish law, so I suspect they might know a thing or two about what they're talking about.

Among their suggestions are:

- early identification of witness and defendant vulnerabilities

- a modified approach to video recorded interviews

- a greater use of training to ensure that practitioners and judges build the necessary competencies to work with vulnerable witnesses

- safeguards for cases where digital material is sought from a complainant

- assurances to complainants that each case be considered on its merits

But, like I say, please (for once) read the document and educate yourself about the problems in the current legal system.

 
Jenny
1374180.  Wed Feb 10, 2021 2:55 pm Reply with quote

At the very beginning of this discussion on the original thread I pointed out the incidence of questions being asked of victims of rape about, for example, their mode of dress, their level of sobriety, their choice of place to walk. It is precisely because of this type of questioning and the victim-blaming it implies, in addition to dr.bob's points about demands for phone and personal records, that so many women find the whole experience of the legal process so harrowing that they decline to go further with it.

If no physical injuries other than unwanted sexual intercourse, whether vaginal, anal or oral, or simply being sexually groped, are part of the experience, it is very very hard to prove that the encounter was other than consensual. I imagine that this is also part of the 'evidentiary difficulties' referred to.

So what does a woman do, who is being sexually assaulted? Fight back and risk serious physical damage? Or lie back and let the guy go ahead however repulsive the experience? Or maybe the police should get their backsides in gear and actually process all those rape kits before the evidence degrades and women have time to think about how much they don't want their personal lives hauled up in court?

 
Celebaelin
1374230.  Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:23 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Nowhere can I see any justification for your 80% figure above, or comparisons between different crimes about no identified suspect. However, it's a long article and I may be missing something, so perhaps you could explain more fully.

Certainly.

dr.bob wrote:
-The reason for closing almost half of investigations was that no suspect had been identified, but almost a third were listed as “evidential difficulties”.

Almost half ≈50%.

dr.bob wrote:
- There was a sharp rise in the proportion of cases recorded as “victim does not support action”, increasing to 42 per cent for violence, 35 per cent with rapes and 29 per cent of sexual offences.

So ≈50% plus somewhere between 29% and 42% depending on the crime is condensed to a single catch all figure of approximately 80% of cases of all sorts; between say ≈77% and ≈91% if you prefer but that seems to be a questionably precise estimate when one of the components is the very loose ≈50%.

Celebaelin wrote:
Of the 20% of all reported crime remaining 8.2% ultimately result in prosecutions leaving 91.8% of reported crimes unprosecuted. I believe you cited the figure for reported rapes as 89% unprosecuted so I think it's reasonable to call these figures comparable.

dr.bob wrote:
I'm not sure what you hope to achieve by comparing figures for rape from a different article to other crimes from this article

Please can you try a little harder to make it seem like a genuine participation on your part bob - by which I mean take your own advice and actually read the information other people provide. Several times Jenny has used the 89% figure (without a source) - the only difference is that I am being transparent about, and to a certain extent critical of, my source here as the numbers they offer are unattributed to any original analysis.

dr.bob wrote:
Celebaelin wrote:
The Independent's figure for [rape] is 98.1% however (up from 97.6%)

Moving on...

I wish you would because you're getting, or rather remaining, tedious. Did you actually believe I included that accidentally rather than in the interests of accuracy and a spirit of investigation? As I implied later on that generates a 6+% discrepancy with other crimes taken en masse and if looked at on a crime by crime basis might provide a convincing delineation of detail should anyone have both access to the national data and the inclination to do the analysis. You are constructing no argument, offering no thoughts and seemingly deliberately refusing to perform even simple addition in an effort to understand my posts; consequently I'm as close to abdicating any responsibility for an attempt at rational discourse as I ever hope to be.

dr.bob wrote:
If your position is that rape and sexual assault should be handled the same under the law as other forms of assault, why have you been consistently ignoring all the evidence to the contrary that both Jenny and I have presented?

Contrary to what? Dull AND unclear now - not committing to any but the broadest of notions may help you avoid being found provably lacking in sincere belief but it doesn't usually fool anyone here and I doubt if it will now.

dr.bob wrote:
Even the article that you link to above notes that:

Why are you just regurgitating stuff from an article I directed readers towards without making any statement, offering any observation or in any other way contributing to the illumination of those hardy enough to bear with you in search of a point?

dr.bob wrote:
Clearly here the term "other forms of assault" is referring to everything that isn't rape or sexual assault. In other words, common assault, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, etc. Is that really so hard to understand?

Bearing in mind that at that stage Jenny had just started arguing that Rape and Sexual Assault should be treated like other assaults and claiming that this was always her stance I thought it important to clarify that her opinion had changed. I appreciate your emphasising this point for me and am gratified that we have at least some common perceptions of the progress of the debate.


Last edited by Celebaelin on Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:01 am; edited 3 times in total

 
Alexander Howard
1374231.  Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:34 am Reply with quote

I've not been following the fight, but I'll put in a penny'orth -

When I was at university there was a loud feminist group, and one of their demands was that rape be treated as a crime of violence (as opposed to a sexual act). That always struck me as a sensible position: it is primarily an act of violence, with specific aspects making it more serious. Rape carries a maximum life sentence, like GBH.

 
Celebaelin
1374232.  Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:42 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Celebaelin wrote:
There is however no need for me to agree with your assertion of an obvious or self-evident inequality (which clearly I currently don't) for me to additionally ask what solution you offer to the difficulty in securing convictions in Rape trials?

I would recommend you read this report from an all-party law reform and human rights organisation called "Justice".

I shall. The measures suggested may well reduce reticence in pressing charges but would they help increase conviction rates? I suppose the only way to find out would be to apply them.

dr.bob wrote:
But, like I say, please (for once) read the document and educate yourself about the problems in the current legal system.

You were very nearly civil for a moment there bobbity before reverting to obvious and low-brow sniping; a pleasant but short-lived respite from your unfiltered aggression.

Quote:
Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.

Samuel Butler (1835–1902)

This is all becoming very wearisome now - since my original point has now been accepted, i.e. that assault should be viewed as a cross gender issue as it is in law, I think this genuinely is the time to say that further developments are a matter for future legislation and leave it at that.

 
dr.bob
1374313.  Fri Feb 12, 2021 9:50 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
dr.bob wrote:
-The reason for closing almost half of investigations was that no suspect had been identified, but almost a third were listed as “evidential difficulties”.

Almost half ≈50%.


OK, that's not unreasonable, although I would point out that, given the quality of journalism these days, the phrase "almost half" can refer to something as low as 42%.

Celebaelin wrote:
dr.bob wrote:
- There was a sharp rise in the proportion of cases recorded as “victim does not support action”, increasing to 42 per cent for violence, 35 per cent with rapes and 29 per cent of sexual offences.

So ≈50% plus somewhere between 29% and 42% depending on the crime is condensed to a single catch all figure of approximately 80% of cases of all sorts


This is also not unreasonable, though you seem to have picked a figure pretty much at random between 29% and 42%. My biggest question would be, are you absolutely sure the "almost half" and the "between 29% and 42%" refer to different cases? Could it possibly be that some of the "almost half" cases where no suspect was identified were also some of the 42% of violent crimes where the "victim did not support action"? If that's true, then you're guilty of double counting above.

However, I would like to thank you for explaining your reasoning. As I've said, your assumptions are not unreasonable, although I feel it is impossible to be sure whether or not they're guilty of double counting. Still, at least I now understand where the 80% figure came from, so thank you.

Celebaelin wrote:
Did you actually believe I included that accidentally rather than in the interests of accuracy and a spirit of investigation?


Not at all. I believe you included that figure on purpose in the spirit of investigation. I'm still at a complete loss why you chose to draw a comparison between the 91.8% of reported crimes left unprosecuted from this article and the 89% of rapes left unprosecuted that Jenny quoted from an entirely different article in a different country. I just want to understand what point you're trying to make.

Celebaelin wrote:
You are constructing no argument, offering no thoughts and seemingly deliberately refusing to perform even simple addition in an effort to understand my posts


If the "simple addition" jibe is a reference to the 80% figure discussed above, it's clear to see that my inability to understand its source was due to my lack of knowledge of the unexplained assumptions on your part. Describing it as "simple addition" is disingenuous and clearly just designed to make me look bad. Coming from someone who's instructed me to participate in a rational discourse in a civil manner, that stinks of rank hypocrisy.

Celebaelin wrote:
dr.bob wrote:
If your position is that rape and sexual assault should be handled the same under the law as other forms of assault, why have you been consistently ignoring all the evidence to the contrary that both Jenny and I have presented?

Contrary to what? Dull AND unclear now


Apologies, I should've expressed that more clearly.

I am under the impression that your argument is that cases of rape and sexual assault are being handled the same as other forms of assault. Is this true? If not, then I should just stop now.

If that is the point you're trying to make, then I would invite you to address the evidence that Jenny and I have provided which shows that victims of rape and sexual assault receive a much worse deal from the criminal justice system than victims of other forms of assault.

Celebaelin wrote:
Why are you just regurgitating stuff from an article I directed readers towards without making any statement, offering any observation or in any other way contributing to the illumination of those hardy enough to bear with you in search of a point?


I should have made this clearer too. More apologies. The point I was trying to make is that the article you posted also listed many problems being faced by victims of rape and sexual assault. It did not say that these problems were being faced by victims of other types of assault, or of other crimes. It specifically refers to victims of rape and sexual assault, implying that they are being treated differently from other victims.

 

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