This isn’t going to be popular.
Ok let’s get this out there. I have never been raped therefore I don’t know a thing about it and don’t deserve an opinion. If you agree with that stop reading.
And I’ll begin.
Rape is in my opinion the most disgusting crime out there. It is in my opinion worse than murder because the victims will never fully recover and have to live with the consequences. However having said that I do believe that what Ken Clarke has said today is true that rape is not just rape – there are many different levels of every crime. As he said on BBC News late this morning when the presenter really felt he had Ken Clarke dangling that there is a difference between a 16 year-old and a 15 year-old having consensual sex and someone forcing themselves upon someone in a dark alley. Both are classed as rape in law.
The proposals he is putting forward are not just about rape. He is proposing that judges be allowed leeway to halve sentences in any case on receipt of an early guilty plea. The current laws dictate that judges be allowed leeway to reduce sentences of up to a third. Therefore the proposals are about a possible 16-17% reduction in sentences in the most extreme cases. However people should understand that the judges are not forced to do this and as every case is different and judges decide on sentence length for a variety of different reasons.
Ken Clarke did not say that rapists deserve to have their sentences lessened. He did not say that once. However the media have decided to latch on to rape as it is the most emotive crime out there so he was further questioned about it. There is a difference between violent rape and statutory rape in my opinion. I agree with Ken. He did not once say rape wasn’t a serious crime but that is how the media (and the Labour Leader) will spin it.
Ed Miliband just said in Prime Ministers Questions that these proposals and I quote ‘will lead to rapists having their sentences halved’ and that is quite frankly a lie. There is a difference between the words ‘will’ and ‘could’ and it is rather an important distinction.
Sadly I fear that this incident has showed that there are issues that we cannot have a serious debate on. The public are too entrenched in their position on certain things (i.e. any changes to the NHS) and anyone who proposes anything that might rock that boat is evil and clueless. Ken Clarke’s proposals might not be great but they certainly are not what is being reported by the media and what the people of this country are discussing. We already have a plea bargaining deal in the UK but if you were the listen or read the media then you wouldn’t realise that.
Ed Miliband has called for Ken Clarke to be sacked today. You never know he might well be. The thing is though is that if he’s sacked, it will not be for his proposals but for the way the media have whipped up into a frenzy and reported it in the most sensational way possible. It is kinda sad…
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