Dame Helen Mirren says date-rape should not be considered a crime

September 1st, 2008 - 2:18 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sept 1 (ANI): English actress Dame Helen Mirren has revealed that she was date-raped several times in her late teens and twenties after moving to London, but never reported the incidents to the police because she feels that men should not be taken to court for such acts.

She even says that those who date-rape should not necessarily be considered rapists in a criminal sense.

When asked whether she was ever date-raped, she said: I was, yes. A couple of times. Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will.

The 63-year-old actress also recalled how boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a Miss Black America contestant in a hotel room in 1992.

It’’s such a tricky area isn”t it? Especially if there is no violence. I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don”t think he was a rapist, the Independent quoted her as saying.

Mirren believes that a woman who voluntarily went to bed with a man and ended up engaging in sexual activity still had every right to say ”no”, and that if a man ignored that request it should be considered rape.

She, however, insists that the woman cannot go to court about it, and that she should sort it out privately.

I don”t think she can have that man into court under those circumstances. I guess it is one of the subtle parts of the men/women relationship that has to be negotiated and worked out between them, she said.

Her comments have drawn an angry response from women’’s groups and anti-rape campaigners who have long argued that all non-consensual sex should be classified as rape.

Jasvinder Sanghera, who runs the Karma Nirvana charity in Derby helping victims of rape and domestic violence, said: Dame Helen’’s comments … help reinforce the whole ”She’’s asking for it” mentality. For years we”ve been trying to move away from the perception that consent is dependent on what a woman wears or how she behaves … if a person says ”no” it means ”no”.

She added: I”m disappointed by the suggestion that date-rape victims shouldn”t bother with the courts. We have such a low prosecution rate for rapes as it is. It’’s such a harrowing ordeal for rape victims to go through the judicial process that the last thing we need to do is discourage them.

The campaigners argue that British attitudes often partially blaming a raped woman for her behaviour is part of the reason why very few sexual attacks are reported and successfully prosecuted. (ANI)

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