A DISGUSTING PROPOSAL for “reform” emerged from New Zealand’s Labour Party this week, with a suggestion the onus of proof in rape cases shift from the prosecution to the defence; were this outrage to become law (or, God forbid, adopted in Australia or elsewhere in the free world) almost every man would spend a lifetime looking over his shoulder. Any woman who supports this measure should be ashamed, and NZ Labour should be crucified.
One issue that came up during the week — attracting little fanfare in Australia, buried as it was beneath the orgy of destructive antics being played out in the Senate, and Clive Palmer’s ongoing apparent crusade to destroy the government — is a proposal by NZ Labor to overhaul that country’s rape laws to place the burden of proving consent from the prosecution to the defence in criminal trials.
I have been eager to post on the subject because I think the change (if ever enacted) will be one of the most retrograde and abused actions in modern legal history, and because this sounds like just the thing the chardonnay drunks and bleeding heart bullshit artists in Australia would rush to champion if their cue to do so is received from fellow travellers in a land not all that far away.
There are a couple of reports I have read in the past few days (you can access them here and here) that will send alarm bells ringing inside the heads of just about every man who has had more than one sexual partner in his lifetime, as well as sounding the alarm for anyone with a shred of decency to their credit — both male and female alike — who recognise that irrespective of the heinous nature of rape as a crime and the vicious after-effects its victims endure for the rest of their lives, this is not the way to do things.
No rational, principled person denies the gravity of rape or the impact it can have on those who are victims of it; it is a sad mark of the times that most people know someone who has endured a violent sexual attack (I know a few) and I suspect many of us are also aware of rape cases that either did not make it to a courtroom for whatever reason — frightened victim, lack of evidence, and so on — or resulted in the acquittal of the offender, even if that outcome was the result of a legal technicality not mutually exclusive to the guilt of the alleged miscreant.
I rate the crime of rape, and especially in instances where it is accompanied by additional horrific violence, as worse in some respects than murder; after all, killing someone is final. Someone who has been raped has to live with the psychological scars long after the physical ones have healed, to say nothing of the multitude of additional potential consequences such as pregnancy, sterility and disease that the original offence may bequeath to its victim as well.
For clarity, I note the offence of rape is recognised as a crime against both women and men nowadays, and the material I have seen thus far emanating from New Zealand is strictly gender-neutral in its discussion of complainants and defendants.
Yet in practical terms, this proposal — should it ever see the statute books — will achieve its greatest impact not in rising conviction rates, or increased number of people making legitimate complaints of being raped, but in a flood of men being hauled before Courts to answer “rape” charges that have no basis in fact.
Here in Australia — as in New Zealand, and in other liberal democratic countries across the world — we are privileged to enjoy lifestyles that afford great personal freedom and liberty, subject to the rule of law; with that freedom comes choices, and with those choices comes personal responsibility, and the liability for the consequences of breaking the law in making them.
Without putting too fine a point on things, one of the freedoms this encompasses is sexual freedom: the right, subject to issues of consent and age, to engage in sexual relations with whomever (and in whatever number) we wish to; obviously people will have their own standards and taboos in such matters which I don’t propose to dwell on here. Law and morality are not the same thing.
The fellow who goes out to clubs every Saturday night for years on end bedding different women each week might be accused by some as leading a shallow existence, but provided it’s consensual, he isn’t breaking any laws; the husband who walks out of a marriage and straight into the arms of another woman might leave behind a very angry jilted wife, but whilst a divorce might ensue, subject to the same caveats, there probably aren’t any laws being broken by that man either.
Yet these two hypothetical individuals — and I’ve made them male, because the sheer weight of numbers dictates that these changes will overwhelmingly target heterosexual men — would seem prime candidates for someone to scream “rape!” at them falsely, in retribution and in fury, to settle what the woman making the allegations perceives as a grievous wrong. I should emphasise that gay men also fit the bill when it comes to having false accusations levelled against them, but whilst I suppose it’s possible, I don’t think too many men are going to head off to Police to accuse their wives and girlfriends of raping them.
The changes apparently being considered by Labour, if it wins the looming general election in New Zealand, would rest upon the prosecution in a rape case establishing that a sexual encounter had occurred, and established the identity of the alleged offender — both as per standard practice today.
However, having done so, the burden of proof would switch to the defendant, who would have to satisfy a test of reasonable doubt that consent had been obtained.
The guy with dozens — perhaps hundreds — of historical sexual partners would forever wonder whether any of them, or which of them specifically, might make a complaint to Police perhaps decades after a consensual encounter, the details of which would be likely to be hazy on both sides the longer the period elapsed before the complainant did so.
The guy who walked out on his wife would also forever wonder if, and when, his day in Court to face charges based on nothing more than malicious vindictiveness might arrive.
But more broadly, the kind of societies we live in — with people marrying later, sometimes more than once, and with most people “playing the field” and “trying before they buy” at all — means that there are more people with multiple lifetime sexual partners now than there ever has been.
It doesn’t have to be a bedpost with scores of notches on it; anything more than a single sexual partner is enough. And if this change is legislated in New Zealand, the men of that country will be sentenced to a lifetime of the worst kind of wondering, as the unknown and uncertain ramifications of the law take months or years or decades to become apparent. If they do at all.
This change, clearly intended to primarily benefit women who have suffered sexual attack, would in my view have a deleterious effect on those who are actual victims of rape (as opposed to malicious, frivolous complainants): this law would add an extra stigma to making a complaint against an alleged rapist, in that the victim would face the additional public shame of potentially being branded as a troublemaker, or someone who thought better of their escapades and later changed their mind, or…something.
Whichever way you cut it, making men prove they aren’t rapists isn’t going to achieve anything constructive.
If, as the reports I have seen suggest, the objective is to encourage women who’ve been raped to come forward in greater numbers than they do, and to increase the conviction rate where rapes are alleged to have occurred, a more sensible approach would be to provide additional resources and support for victims of sexual assault, and work to improve existing laws to eliminate the technicalities and vagaries that allow sex offenders to escape conviction and punishment.
But casting a lifelong shadow over virtually all men, for no better reason than they have exercised their freedom to be sexually active — burdening the overwhelming majority who at all times behave legally to get at the minority who are human filth — is not the way to go.
At the end of the day, people should be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
I think any woman who finds this proposal agreeable ought to be ashamed; certainly, more needs to be done for the victims of sexual violence wherever it occurs. But the Labour initiative isn’t actually a question of women’s rights; it is a question of law, and represents a change that will adversely affect up to 50% of the population. No decent woman can justify any discernible gender benefit when it comes at such a price.
And make no mistake, if the change is ever implemented in New Zealand, it will find its way here, and to God only knows where else after that.
The trendies and the compassion babblers might find the Labour proposal humane, decent, and just — which merely shows how distorted the sense of reality of such people really is.
The suggestion that people can be accused of rape and then be forced to prove there was consent is truly frightening, and far from improving our societies, it would grievously compromise the integrity of the social fabric in any country whose government was sufficiently doctrinally obsessed to ever legislate it.
This dumb idea is a good reason why the voters of New Zealand ought to savage Labour when they go to the polls later this year, and for once I don’t simply say that wearing my hat as a conservative; if this is NZ Labour’s idea of the kind of society it envisages New Zealand evolving into, then the last thing the country needs is a Labour government running it.