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Artillery Row

Why does ITV insist that violence against women is normal?

Bruce Newsome says that an elite obsessed with social justice is failing at criminal justice

In the bid to be Britain’s wokest broadcaster, ITV takes the lead despite tough competition from BBC and Channel 4. ITV paid a million pounds for the rights to broadcast Oprah’s interview of Harry and Meghan. It also overlaid Meghan’s claim to be the victim of racist journalism with newspaper headlines taken out of context. ITV News then reported her claims of royal racism as “explosive revelations”, as facts, without any admission of their vagueness and contradictions. In keeping with this faith in any accusation of racism, the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer demanded a public inquiry.

Exactly one week later, on Monday this week, ITV News reported its shock that the police should have thought to enforce the lockdown against women protesters, let alone use force against women who resisted. The intervention was heavy-handed, everybody agrees, but who can say it was less heavy-handed than that experienced by anti-Lockdown protesters last year?

The CPS continues to define hate crime and sex crime as subjective experiences

The government and the Metropolitan Police agree: the women attending the vigil in Clapham Common last week should not have been handled so. And, given the link back to Black Lives Matter in 2020, the government, the police and ITV are in effective agreement that protests during lockdown are allowed if the causes are female or Black. ITV’s filming outside the Metropolitan Police HQ showed protesters displaying the same Black Lives Matter placards wielded during Lockdown 1.0 with no police intervention. Other placards announced “defund the police” and “All Cops are Bastards”. The crowd chanted “no justice, no peace”.

ITV’s filming in Parliament Square showed placards declaring that 98 per cent of rapists get away with it, a claim that ITV was eager to accept. Statistics from 2019 show that the rate of rape allegations resulting in charges fell below 2 per cent. Rape is a terrible crime, but that doesn’t mean the other 98 per cent of allegations were rapes. Some allegations (of any crime) are malicious. Others are mistaken, increasingly so in these fevered times where children are taught in schools that “silence is violence” and “the male gaze is rape”. In the year 2019 to 2020, 41 per cent of rape allegations were withdrawn by the persons who first made them.

But ITV News was eager to second the claim that all 98 per cent should have resulted in charges. Moreover, it claimed the falling rate of charges proves that the judicial service is turning a blind eye.

ITV did not admit that the rate has been falling since the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) raised the rate of conviction by presuming the truth of all allegations and hiding evidence from defenders. By April 2018, every rape case in the country was under review after the collapse of four rape trials within two months, when critical evidence was disclosed just days before cases were due to be heard in court. (For instance, one alleged victim had texted to her boyfriend with appreciation of their sexual tryst before they broke up and she went to the police.) The Government allowed the five-year contract of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Alison Saunders) to expire.

Yet mainstream messaging doesn’t include admission of the conflict between “believe women” and “innocent until proven guilty”. The CPS continues to define hate crime and sex crime as subjective experiences: meaning, any claim is a crime if the alleged victim says so (although sentencing would require adjudication). This definition was introduced when Keir Starmer was chief of the CPS. It is the reason that hundreds of police officers are dedicated to cautioning people against, for instance, “misgendering” someone on Twitter.

Ironically, the colossal waste of police resources on policing non-crimes helps to explain the appalling rate of police closure of real crimes. That is the real scandal here. If a low rate of charges per allegations is evidence for the judicial system turning a blind eye to rape, it is also evidence for a blind eye to every crime. In the year 2019-2020, the highest rate of charges per allegations was 35 per cent (possession of weapons), which makes sense given that this crime is typically recorded in the moment, not ex post facto. Violent crimes don’t get a rate better than 7 per cent (violence against the person).

Furthermore, men are disproportionate victims of violence. Yes, men are disproportionate perpetrators, but that doesn’t deny or excuse the fact they are also disproportionate victims.

The scandal in Britain is the rise in crime in general, and the elite’s distortions of it

Nobody denies that rape is a crime, but ITV News was keen to report that rape and murder of women is normal – that is, more frequent or likely than any possible alternative. At Clapham Common, one of ITV’s journalists elicited a woman’s claim that the murder of Sarah Everard is normal. Another inferred from an interview in Birmingham that rape is normal, something she has to accept as a fact of life. An objective journalist would have said, hang on, if it’s normal, why are we safely sitting in a park right now?

Better still, an objective broadcaster would have broadcast the official estimate of all sexual offences (i.e., from the least to the worst offences, estimating all offences whether reported or not): about 2 per cent of Britons suffer sexual offences. One in five of these victims is male. Rape is a subset of all sexual offences, and fell in the most recent year.

The government could have emphasised these facts. It didn’t. It preferred to follow fashion, condemn the police for doing their job, and pander to the myth that violence against women is normal.

When Priti Patel stood in Parliament this week to complain that it is unacceptable that women pretend to use their phone or clutch their keys in their hand as a weapon, did she consider that some men do the same?

The scandal in Britain is the rise in crime in general, and the elite’s distortions of it. An elite obsessed with social justice is failing at criminal justice.

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