It is now an accepted view that we live in a society in which misogyny and everyday sexism have created a so-called ‘rape culture’, in which rape is pervasive, under-reported and ignored. Luke Gittos – our speaker – does not believe that the police and the law courts are failing women by failing to convict rapists. On the contrary, he will argue that the obsession with a ‘culture of rape’ has seriously distorted our view of sexual violence, and that the expansion of laws to protect women is eroding areas of privacy and inviting state regulation of our most intimate affairs.
This is dangerous for us all – not just men who may find themselves dragged into court following a sexual encounter they believed was consensual. The drive to prosecute (and improve conviction rates against) more and more people has dangerous implications for the fundamental principles of justice, and for basic freedoms. The situation as things stand does no one any favours: it undermines society’s ability to deal adequately with extreme assault, and it undermines our ability to live intimately with one another.