United Kingdom Justice Minister, Crispin Blunt, has announced that the British government plans to bring forward legislation that would grant anonymity to those accused of rape until they are charged. The government intends on bringing the legislation forward "as soon as possible," bypassing formal consultation, according to the Telegraph.
The issue has the United Kingdom's House of Commons divided on gender lines rather than party lines, according to BBC News. While male members of parliament (MP) from all parties spoke in support of the plan, female MPs spoke against the legislation, and described it as "deeply disturbing," reported the Telegraph.
Male MPs have been quoted as supporting the legislation because of the consequences a false accusation can have on one's reputation. Keith Vaz, Labour chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said "whole lives can be destroyed" by false accusations, according to the Telegraph.
Female MP's oppose the legislation as they say that it will prevent women from making allegations about rape. Conservative MP Louise Bagshawe of Corby said that by "singling out rape in this way ministers are sending a negative signal about women and those who accuse men of rape," reported the Telegraph. Anna Sourby, a Tory MP and former criminal barrister, also said that that when the accused's name was made public, other victims often came forward.
Shadow minister for women and equalities Yvette Cooper spoke against the legislation, saying, "Again the Government's failed to give any reason why rape should be treated differently to any other crime - and chose, instead, to send out the very strong signal that women are not to be believed," according to the Telegraph.
Those accused of other crimes, including murder, are not granted anonymity prior to conviction.
Media Resources: Telegraph 7/8/10; BBC News 6/15/10
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .