I have just read an article in the Independent by the columnist Joan Smith in which she seeks to dispel certain myths about rape.

I agree with nearly everything the article says but I was very surprised to see Joan Smith make what seemed to me a distinction between rape that involves “violence” and rape that supposedly does not.  A moment’s reflection should suffice to show that such a distinction does not exist.  Rape (any rape including so called “date rape“) is an act of violence mostly by men against women.  It is not and cannot be anything else.  There may be and frequently is additional violence that renders the rape more violent but that does not mean that rape without this additional violence is not already violent.

This by the way is the same fallacy that is behind Kenneth Clarke’s foolish remarks and which explains the false distinction he sought to make between supposedly different types of rape.  In Clarke’s case there is no excuse since as a top QC and Justice Minister who has tried rape cases as a Judge one would expect him to understand the position.

Incidentally whilst on the subject of rape I must take strong issue with the suggestion that Kenneth Clarke and some columnists have made that so called “date rape” is somehow less traumatic by its nature than rape by a stranger.  Any rape is traumatic and to suggest that rape is less traumatic simply because the victim knows her rapist and/or has some sort of relationship with him is wrong.  On the contrary such rape in so far as it involves a gross breach of trust may be and often is more traumatic and more psychologically damaging than rape by a stranger.


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