Socialist Worker

Institutional failure over rape compensation

Issue No. 2114

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has been reducing the amount of compensation it gives to rape victims by up to 25 percent if it judges that the woman was drunk when she was raped.

One woman, who had her compensation cut for this reason, won an appeal against the decision this week. This is a victory – but it lays bare the institutional discrimination against women that exists in the legal system.

Just over 5 percent of rape cases reported in England and Wales end with a guilty verdict. And many rapes go unreported.

Dealing with rape effectively contradicts dominant arguments about women and the family. Current partners are responsible for 45 percent of rapes, with strangers making up only 8 percent.

CICA’s disgraceful decision to lower compensation for women because of their behaviour reflects a moralism about the way that women live their lives. For example, women who dress in a certain way are seen as being somehow culpable if they are attacked.

We should remember that no means no, whatever the circumstances of the woman.

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What We Think
Tue 12 Aug 2008, 19:15 BST
Issue No. 2114
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