Should Ken Clarke resign over rape comments?

What started off earlier in the week as proposals to change the way offenders generally are sentenced, soon turned into a media storm when Justice Secretary Ken Clarke made his incorrect, outdated, and downright offensive comments about rape. Accusing the media of adding ‘sexual excitement’ to the story by focusing on rape as opposed to other crimes and suggesting that some rapes are not as serious as others, have resulted in calls for his resignation.

So should he resign? I do my fair share of media work, so have some sympathy with feeling flustered when put on the spot and fearing that I will choose the wrong words and inadvertently upset someone. But Ken Clarke must have realised immediately from the response he got that this had caused an angry reaction, so why dig yourself in deeper? Why not apologise immediately if you did you not mean what you said and simply used the wrong words?

He has, reportedly, sent a written apology to the woman who audibly broke down on the radio phone in when describing what happened to her and the response from the criminal justice system. But he has caused distress to more than that one woman. He has undermined the hard work done by criminal justice and healthcare professionals, by rape crisis workers, by family and friends who support people who have been raped, and has likely caused distress to many who have been raped. In my opinion, Ken Clarke should offer a blanket apology to anyone who was offended by his words and he should sit down and listen to the experiences of people who have been raped by someone close to them. I can guarantee that he would make sure he chose his words more carefully if he really listened to the impact that rape had had one their lives. If he is not willing to do this, he should resign in my opinion.

The Ken Clarke media storm has also meant that a piece of good news has been buried this week. Rape Crisis Centres have just been told whether they have been successful in their funding bids for a contribution towards their costs for the next three years. For the Centres that have been successful, this represents the most stability they have ever had. It is something that the national Rape Crisis movement have campaigned for for many years and which has now come to fruition, with thanks to Home Secretary Theresa May.

I am glad that there will now be more access to Rape Crisis Centres and hope that a more sensible discussion can be had with the coalition government about how the criminal justice system can best improve its response to rape. Whether or not that discussion will include Ken Clarke is yet to be known.

by Nicole Westmarland, co-author of International approaches to rape, published in April 2011.

1 Response to “Should Ken Clarke resign over rape comments?”



  1. 1 Why we can’t afford the rich « Derby People's Assembly Trackback on December 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Twitter Updates

Archives


Helen Kara

Writing and research

Peter Beresford's Blog

Musings on a Mad World

Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy

Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Stirling

Path to the Possible

Democracy toward the Horizon

The GOVERNANCE blog

Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Shot by both sides

The blog of Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP

Paul Collins's Running Blog

Running and London Marathon 2013 Training

Bristol Civic Leadership Project

A collaborative project on change in local governance

Stuck on Social Work

And what a great place to be

Points: The Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society

short and insightful writing about a long and complex history

Urban policy and practice

Publishing with a purpose

TessaCoombes

Policy Politics Place

Blog

Publishing with a purpose

Public Administration Review

Public Administration Review is a professional journal dedicated to advancing theory and practice in public administration.

EUROPP

European Politics and Policy

%d bloggers like this: