Peter Hitchens on rape

Peter Hitchens does not understand freedom of speech. There, I’ve said it. Whenever anyone has a debate about anything which he feels passionate about he immediately screams that we’re not living in ‘a free country’ because the awful liberal governments and the PC brigade keep trying to shut down debate. Which seems a bit odd to me, given that the right-wing, anti-liberal, anti-PC Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and the Sun amongst others constantly mock the only wet, lilly-livered, liberal, PC-enthralled newspaper (the Guardian) for having a tiny circulation compared to the utterly dominant right-wing press. It seems to me that the ‘liberal elite’ are doing a pretty shocking job at shutting down debate in the way that Peter constantly suggests.

Peter’s been banging on for years about how free speech is dying out and being shut down, whilst all the while he has been paid to write precisely what he wants without censure. It seems to me that Peter doesn’t have a clue what freedom of speech or thought truly means. It seems to me that what Peter really objects to is the expression of viewpoints which differ from his very narrow and distorted view of reality.

This week a debate has taken place about rape, caused by Ken Clarke’s comments on the subject. Lots of people got offended for a variety of reasons – some just, others just opportunist political point scoring. Suffice to say a lot of people called for Ken Clarke’s head and a lot of people showed support for him. It was typical of the kind of debate in which both sides could express themselves freely because as much as Peter suggests otherwise: we unequivocally live in a free society (albeit one which is under the increasing influence of a morally bankrupt press in which Peter plays a vital, unwitting role – yet he ironically thinks he is the last remaining rebel).

I’ve already covered Richard Littlejohn’s moronic attempt at stirring-up some controversy on Friday, but its good to see that Peter Hitchens isn’t going to let one tired old hack get the better of him when it comes to writing absolute rubbish for a pay cheque. Peter – much like Richard – gets the caveat out of the way early on before commencing on the usual predictable rant about ‘liberals’, PC-gone mad brigades and feminists:

I am sick of the censorship that surrounds the issue of rape.

So I shall defy it. Of course all rapes are bad. But some rapes are worse than others.

It takes a while for Peter to actually tell us what makes some rapes worse than others, because before he gets to the point he spends ages telling us about how we don’t have the freedom to say anything anymore:

Even for saying this, I know quite well that I will get raging, lying abuse.

This is what happened to Kenneth Clarke, when he went on the radio and tried to speak his mind as if this were a free country.

As he quickly found out, it is not. I am sorry that he was in the end forced to grovel. But this is a Liberal, PC government, and I am not surprised.

Revolutionary feminism, which regards all men as predators and sees the married family as a sordid prison, has scared most politicians, most judges, most journalists, most civil servants – and most people – into accepting its nasty dogmas.

Oddly enough, Mr Clarke would normally be an ally of this cause. But ultra-feminist zealotry is bitterly intolerant of any disagreement, however gentle or thoughtful. Nothing short of total submission will do.

Just like Richard Littlejohn Peter tries to pretend that only ‘revolutionary feminism’ has a problem with rape and that somehow this ideology has control – through fear – of just about everyone. Just look at the list Peter makes, according to him ‘revolutionary feminism’ has ‘scared most politicians, most judges, most journalists, most civil servants – and most people – into accepting its nasty dogmas’.

Peter is therfore brave to speak out against such an all-powerful lobby. Except that even cowards like Richard Littlejohn have spoken out on the same topic in a similar way – and he was also paid for it, which seems odd given that censorship would normally punish not reward such behaviour. Furthermore, if the ‘ultra-feminists’ really have so much power and ‘Nothing short of total submission will do’ for them, how is it that Peter and Richard have managed to get these articles published? Do they write for some sort of revolutionary underground publisher? Are they being tracked down as I write this for crimes against ‘ultra-feminism’?

Or is Peter just talking a load of absolute shite as normal, writing as he is for one of the most influential newspapers in the country whilst at the same time trying to argue that his rabid views are being censored?

Moving on past the oft-repeated padded-cell drivel he finally gets to telling us all what rapes are less serious than others:

in this case rape does not usually mean what most people think it means – the forcible abduction and violation of a woman by a stranger. It means a dispute about consent, often between people who are already in a sexual relationship.

He’s pretty clear at least: if you are forcibly abducted and violated by a stranger then congratulations: you were raped and it was serious!

However, in any other circumstance you may have been raped, but it’s less serious.

So, logiccally, if you know someone – maybe a work colleague or a friend of a friend and they forcibly abduct and rape you, then this – according to Peter Hitchens – must be less serious than if it were a stranger. Likewise, if you are in a sexual relationship with someone and they rape you, it is no longer a serious rape, but merely a ‘dispute about consent’ – you were probably just playing hard to get.

If I’m being a little harsh on Peter or taking his words a little too literally, then may I direct you to an article he wrote in 2008 (in which he again claims that the left is trying to censor the debate):

Women who get drunk are more likely to be raped than women who do not get drunk.

No, this does not excuse rape. Men who take advantage of women by raping them, drunk or sober, should be severely punished for this wicked, treacherous action, however stupid the victim may have been.

But it does mean that a rape victim who was drunk deserves less sympathy.

Simple, isn’t it? You can hate rape and want it punished, while still recognising that a woman who, say, goes back to a man’s home after several Bacardi Breezers was being a bit dim.

Peter will be estactic that he receives attention for what he writes, because to him it proves that the ‘liberals’ are out to get him, to censor him, to shut down debate because the liberals are the ones secretly running the world.

I’d just like to remind him that criticism is not the same as censorhip. Ken Clarke was criticised for his comments, Richard Littlejohn was criticised for his comments and now he is being criticised for his comments. No censorship, no call for the abandonment of free speech, this is just me exercising my freedom to discuss a matter I care about. What Peter might want to think about is that he is paid to write for a potential audience of millions, I am unpaid and write to an audience of hundreds on a bad day, a couple of thousand on a good day. Can he still credibly claim to be censored?

Of course not. But you can bet your life savings that he will.

21 thoughts on “Peter Hitchens on rape”

  1. Yes, I’ve noticed the same problem with a lot of right-wing commentators, and indeed most religious commentators (particularly those in the States). If they are criticised about their views, they bellow about being oppressed by the “liberal elite”, despite the fact that they belong to a majority – or at least a large and extremely powerful and well-financed minority.

    It’s doublethink of the worst kind, but I’m getting used to it. At least when we on the left spit our own bile about the endless acid sprayed at us, we have the excuse of not having the vast majority of the media behind us.

  2. Like all true bellends, Hitch the lesser has confused “Freedom of Speech” with “Freedom from having my speech criticised, possibly by others using their freedom of speech”.

    Freedom of Speech is apparently something he considers should only apply to himself and those with whom he agrees, the right of reply afforded by Free speech being some kind of new-fangled liberal invention.

  3. “Revolutionary feminism . . . nasty dogmas”

    Presumably this includes The Sun, who’ve seized the opportunity to attack a too-liberal home secretary. As usual with Peter Hitchens, there’s no evidence provided to support the claims that ‘revolutionary feminism’ has intimidated the ruling class into support. Indeed, given the low rate of convictions and sentences for rape, the opposite would appear to be true.

  4. Can we now expect rambling comments from Peter Hitchens on this blog again? Which he is entitled to do of course….

  5. So, ‘criticism = censorship’, then, according to Hitchens?

    If so, then Peter’s been censoring feminists for years.

  6. hitchens has cultivated an entire career out of creating a self image of a crusader against dark, faceless forces that out there trying to destroy conservatism through an organised silent war of political correctness, waged through the media, judiciary, academia, civil service and schools. Much of this is to indulge the persecution complex evident among hard right conservative types.

    In reality, of course, such dark forces are about as true to reality as Fungus the Bogeyman.

  7. Honestly doesn’t everyone know that “Freedom of Speech” means me being able to say whatever I like without anyone else being allowed to negatively criticise it?

    Okay I’m heading into a dark place now; follow if you dare. In some way, some weird, twisted, and slightly nausea-inducing way I can almost, almost see their point about degrees of rape.

    Being grabbed off the street by an unknown assailant, bound, gagged, blind-folded, raped then dumped could be considered, from the victim’s point of view, as being worse than your boyfriend not taking no for an answer.

    Of course it’s not, not really. The horror of not knowing anything in the first case is balanced by the horror of knowing in the second; but from the outside I can just about see where they’re coming from.

    They’re wrong and worse they won’t know they’re wrong because anyone who tells them this is wrong. That’s why they don’t want to live in a free society with free speech it’ll put a dent in their world view.

  8. If Littlejohn and Hitchen both believe that feminists have so much power in this country perhaps they could explain why conviction rates for rape remain quite so low.

    Surely an all powerful feminist lobby would have been able to change the law to increase conviction rates.

  9. Murder is more serious if a stranger does it. If you murder your wife it should be treated as a domestic dispute. Same logic.

  10. It’s a bit like ‘you can’t talk about immigration any more’ whilst doing so at length. And as you say, being paid to do so.

    But this ‘revolutionary feminism’ of which they speak; it’s just your regular, equality-of-the-sexes, pro-choice, against domestic violence and sexual violence, isn’t it? No wonder so many women, young women especially, say they’re not feminists, because they read the ballocks Littlejohn and Hitchins come out with and believe every word. Forgetting that if these ‘revolutionary feminists’ really were ‘in control’ then we wouldn’t have all these problems in the first place.

  11. “…a rape victim who was drunk deserves less sympathy.”

    Oh no! Less sympathy? What’s a girl got to do to get a little attention nowadays?!(/sarcasm)

  12. “But this ‘revolutionary feminism’ of which they speak”

    Well, Hitchens did give a more precise definition: those who regard ‘all men as predators’ and ‘see marriage as a sordid prison’. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any feminists who fit this description, but clearly a Daily Mail journalist is far more of an expert in feminism than I am. In any case, he should cite those feminists he’s referring to, so that we can see how far his description accords with reality, and realistically assess his claim that these individuals have scared not only the ruling class but the majority of the population into agreeing with them.

  13. As some women cannot remember if they said yes or no, or at what stage, then of course some rapes are worse than others. Get over yourselves.

  14. “As some women cannot remember if they said yes or no, or at what stage, then of course some rapes are worse than others.”

    You heard it from Kevin, it’s not really rape if you slip them Rohypnol! Moron.

  15. Did I mention drugs?
    See how you twist the truth and misquote.

    did anyone here make such a fuss when it was revealed many children are being drugged and raped by Pakistani Muslim youths?

    Even Muslim leaders admitted that was a problem – but there was no public outcry then.

  16. I wonder what he makes of the story in today’s Mail about the Glasgow school who’ve banned ‘provocative school uniforms’ for their students because of fears of Paedophiles.

    Officially it seems that the DM think’s it’s madness, but it’s not a giant leap from believing rape is in part the fault of the woman to abuse is in part the fault of the child.

    Another thought that struck me is that if he ever found himself in prison would he thank his lucky stars that his cell mate’s snuggling up to him in a warm cell instead of knocking him to the floor in the shower block?

  17. @kevin:

    No, you didn’t mention drugs. You said “As some women cannot remember if they said yes or no, or at what stage, then of course some rapes are worse than others.”

    Since slipping Rohypnol into a woman’s drink will make her forget whether or not she gave consent, by your own definition this makes that kind of rape “better” than other rapes.

    Oh, you probably meant to imply something along the lines of some women getting themselves into a state where they can’t remember giving consent to a guy who might believe she’s compos mentis, but there’s other reasons why she might not remember.

    Hence, your comment implied that rape is not as bad so long as you ensure the woman can’t remember what happened. Which is, of course sick and wrong.

    This is the reason why such comments have been so controversial as of late. A woman can be raped, but if it’s not at the hands of a stranger and accompanied by a beating that somehow doesn’t matter as much. That’s wrong and a dangerous attitude to hold.

    Also, please stop dragging irrelevant crap such as how Pakistani Muslim children are treated – this is a discussion of British law and attitudes, so that has no place here. “Other people are worse” is not a reason to ignore our own flaws.

  18. Kevin – yes there was an outcry and it isn’t like the only people to drug children/women/men to rape them are Pakistani Muslim Youths.

    Rape is a crime committed by rapists. It is not unique to an age group, a class, an ethnicity, a religious group. Neither do the victims and survivors fit into a specific group.

    I am so sick of people pontificating about how survivors and victims of sexual violence should feel about or react to the crime committed against them. There are no degrees of rape, and it is not for anyone to tell a survivor that her or his rape ‘wasn’t that bad’ because they knew the rapist, or were drunk or drugged or dressed inappropriately. Stop absolving the rapist and start blaming the rapist.

    Also, i love how highly paid, widely read numpties like Hitchens can claim that they are silenced and feminists have taken over the agenda. If we have, how come 1 in 3 women internationally will experience sexual assault or rape in their lifetimes? Or 2 women a week are murdered by current or ex partners? And how come women are still blamed for the violence committed against them resulting in a conviction rate of 6.5%? I wish we were winning.

  19. Crispin Fisher writes: “Surely an all powerful feminist lobby would have been able to change the law to increase conviction rates.”

    Well, not exactly, no. Because in a free country every man and woman is innocent until proven guilty. You cannot simply amend the laws to achieve the desired result in conviction rates, because then you would be assuming guilt without evidence, and in order to increase conviction rates you would end up with kangaroo courts.

    I just love how those that criticize Hitchens’ comments on rape do not take the time to actually read, with care and logic, what he writes in full. He does say that all conviction rapists, under a court of impartial jury, should be punitively dealt with. Nowhere does he claim that severely intoxicated women who have been raped are not victims, nor has he ever said that the perpetrator is any less wrong, or that should be punished any less severely than if he had raped a sober woman. He is simply saying that women who drink heavily in public, especially alone, are leaving themselves more exposed to rapists because when you are drunk it affects your judgement and personal security, therefore less sympathy should be given to a woman who potentially endangers herself to the situation of rape, than one who does not.

    People would realise this if they employed an iota of logic, but alas, as Sherlock Holmes said, “Logic is rare”.

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