Abandoned by the state: How the police fail survivors of sexual assault

The police drop so many cases that experts say rape has effectively been ‘decriminalised’ – and that’s before we talk about SpyCop abusers.

By Marienna Pope-Weidemann for Red Pepper
June 20, 2018

A study released today revealed that one in five festival goers have been subject to sexual harassment there, with the figure rising to 43% of women under 40. Campaigners say the report should be a wake-up call for the industry to “start treating sexual violence as seriously as other crimes.” The sinister extent of rape culture in this country remains widely unseen – especially where it extends to the state itself.

Much of the rhetoric around tackling sexual violence focuses on encouraging women to come forward and report their assaulters to the police – to treat it as a crime, and use the formal mechanisms of police and state to deliver justice. But those mechanisms have perennially failed survivors of sexual assault.

In 2014 it was revealed that a quarter of rapes reported to police were not even being recorded as crimes. Of those, only 28 percent were being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for further action. Since then, we’ve seen institutional abuse exposed, the globalisation of #MeToo and a resurgent feminist movement here in the UK. At a moment like this you might expect the state – and especially the police – to pick up their game when it comes to sexual and gender violence. But what we’re actually finding, beneath the progressive rhetoric, is a strong political backlash.

Full article here – Red Pepper