Abortion Of Justice: Touted NZ Rape Laws Truly Evil

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.


A Few Words On The Jill Meagher case

By now, readers will know of the horrific ordeal of Melbourne woman Jillian Meagher, who disappeared a week ago; her body recovered from a shallow grave this morning, and a suspect charged with her rape and murder. It is chilling, it is a tragedy, and it is an opportunity for the community.

I’m not going to say much, and I urge readers to be restrained in their comments (or at the very least, mindful that the matter is now before the Courts, and thus it is imperative that none of us say anything that might prejudice the fairness of the trial).

Like many people in Melbourne — and across the country — I’m aghast at what happened to Jill Meagher; a woman who went out with colleagues for drinks, and never made it home.

It’s a salutory reminder that none of us are as safe as we would like to be, and a reminder too that for whatever good there is in the world, evil exists too.

And sometimes, evil is a force too strong to be reckoned with.

I didn’t know Jill Meagher, but people I have worked with did; as an ABC employee in Melbourne and thus a fellow media industry person, our “circles” if you like overlapped. And so this episode lands fairly close to home; not that that makes any difference.

Social media have assisted Police to identify and incarcerate a suspect quickly and efficiently; it is now to be hoped that the impending trial proceeds expeditiously and smoothly, and that justice is done — and seen to be done.

It is on this point specifically that I urge caution upon my readers; not just in terms of any comments that may be posted here, but in their conversations and communications elsewhere.

Whatever the end result of the judicial process may be, it is unwise to canvass or to speculate upon it; indeed, the only “change” likely to be effected by doing so is to compromise the prosecution case and/or lead to its abandonment — and I don’t think anyone would wish that.

So let us all be very circumspect; there will be a time and a place for recriminations and for opinions.

Yet later, when the time is appropriate, these events may be the catalyst for a community discussion or debate about standards: what degree of punishment is appropriate as a reflection of community standards and expectations, and how the judicial sentencing process might be reformed to better serve those standards.

I must reiterate, for clarity: I am not prejudging anything here, although many will, and some will interpret my remarks as a call for a reintroduction of the death penalty (which, admittedly, I certainly believe appropriate in cases of aggravated rape and murder generally).

But I make the point from the perspective that so often, people complain about the leniency of sentences and the inadequacy of penalties; there are lobby groups built around such sentiments, with violence against children an obvious example that springs to mind.

So whilst there is a lot of anger and grief and a desire for vengeance around this issue — and understandably, if not rightly so — I would call on all readers just to wait.

For now.

And in the fullness of time, the one positive that might come from this week’s tragic events in Melbourne may well be that Meagher’s legacy is to spark a reform of penalties and sentencing in criminal matters, initiated by her peers, to better reflect the expectations of the community at large.

In the meantime, my condolences and thoughts are with Jill’s husband, Tom, and their family; her ABC colleagues and friends, and to all of those around her who, by all accounts, have lost a very special friend.

And to the rest of you, my message is simple: look after each other, and yourselves.

And remember the difference between safety and mortality is sometimes a matter of seconds, or inches, let alone a question of degrees.

Stone-Aged: Republican Akin’s Rape Views Legitimately Noxious

An outrage occurred this week on the campaign trail in the US, with a conservative Republican Senate candidate claiming that in cases of “legitimate rape” a woman’s body prevented pregnancy from occurring. The comments sought to justify an abortion stance. They are despicable.

65-year-old Todd Akin — an arch-conservative Congressman, backed by the so-called Tea Party group within the Republican Party, and standing against an incumbent Democrat for a Senate seat in Missouri — created uproar across America and around the world on Sunday, with his concept of “legitimate rape” and the role he ascribed to it in justifying his position on abortion.

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin also explained his stance in cases where the “legitimate rape” did, indeed, result in a pregnancy: “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Some punishment?

Naturally, once his odious remarks had made headlines across the world, Akin claimed the specious defence that he “misspoke,” but went on to say that “(he believes) deeply in the protection of all life, and (he does) not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”

It’s difficult, on the first incredulous glance at these remarks, to tell what’s worse: the fact Akin casually says that a rapist deserves “some punishment” as opposed to having the book thrown at him, or the fact Akin thinks the mother should be put through the consequent pregnancy in the interests of “the protection of all life.”

To put it candidly, these are the noxious utterings of someone unfit for fatherhood — especially of daughters — let alone for public office.

As it happens, two of his six children are daughters, and Akin is also a long-term holder of elected office; I just wonder if he’d be quite so cavalier in his views if — God forbid — one of his own daughters was unfortunate enough to suffer the unspeakability of a rape that led to a pregnancy.

What doesn’t this guy get?

Rape is an abhorrent crime; just the violence and cruelty of it are enough to revolt decent folk.

Surely it is difficult enough for the victim to endure the memory of the act, let alone the forced reminder of a child to go along with it.

And Akin’s comments suggest he has either never had to deal first-hand with rape victims, or — if he has, and has adhered to his “principles” — that he has dealt with them callously and insensitively indeed.

What judgement would he pass on his own daughter in such a circumstance?

I’d be fairly confident that this God-bothering, pious specimen of trumped-up rectitude would be screaming for the assailant to be strung up from the rafters.

If any female I knew — be she a relative, a friend, or simply someone I were in a position to be able to provide support to (and remember, unlike the Neanderthal Akin, I’m not an elected representative, so my ability is much more limited than his) — suffered the indignity and the humiliation of a rape that resulted in a pregnancy, I’d want all options to be available to her, including an abortion.

And if anyone did that to my daughter, hell would have neither fire nor fury to rival  the retribution that would be visited upon he who did it. To hell with the notion of “some punishment.”

As the debate over Akin’s remarks has raged in the US, it has been noted that a study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1996 found an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape in the United States each year. This equated to an average national rape-related pregnancy rate of 5% among victims aged from 12 to 45.

Unsurprisingly, a conception rate of 5% is very similar to the statistical conception rate  resulting from one-off unprotected sexual encounters between consenting partners.

So much for a woman’s body short-circuiting pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Make no mistake, denying abortions to rape victims is a pretty low act.

I understand that in such circumstances, some women choose to proceed with the pregnancy, and some choose termination, but that’s just it: the woman, in this situation, should be given the choice.

I’m fairly conservative when it comes to social issues, and I certainly don’t condone abortion as a routine birth control method in normal circumstances when there are so many other options available. But I would never deny a woman an abortion if she had been raped — and I don’t think any reasonable individual would either, be they conservatively minded or otherwise.

Todd Akin and his repulsive moral stand on this issue gives men in general, and conservative men in particular, a bad name by virtue of the fact he trumpets his principles as a great recommendation as to why people should vote for him.

You can see for yourself — here is his bio aimed at electors in the state of Missouri.

To be perfectly honest — as a political conservative, and one who hopes Mitt Romney beats Barack Obama in November — I hope Akin’s Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill, is re-elected in that particular Senate seat in a landslide.

Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, quickly distanced themselves from Akin, releasing a statement to say that a Romney-Ryan administration would never deny an abortion to a rape victim. Whilst I would be inclined to believe their assurance, I would also add that just as they would never deny that right to a rape victim, nor should they deny it.

To the good burghers of Missouri, I’d suggest a presidential vote for Romney and a Senate vote for McCaskill; and if enough of them do so, it’ll send a powerful message that dinosaurs like Akin will no longer be tolerated in America’s seat of governance.

And to those Missourians who meet Akin on the campaign trail, I would strongly recommend they check the back of his hand for scars before they shake it.

I really just have to shake my head in disbelief.