the face of it, legislation in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, provides
strong protection for children under 13 from rape.
Under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, children under 13 are deemed incapable of consenting to sex. There is no defence of mistake in age, making it what is called a strict liability crime. To prove rape of a young child (defined as under 13), the Crown need to prove that penile penetration took place, and that the penetration was by the accused. Unlike other rape cases where the complainer is over the age of 13, they do not need to prove lack of consent of the complainer or lack of reasonable belief in consent on the part of the accused. This is because children under the age of 13 are considered incapable of meaningfully consenting to a sexual relationship.
[Image by Ben Seidelmann from Flickr, reproduced under Creative Commons licence]
There are countless ways in which this revolution has transformed our lives and world. Unfortunately, however, the impact of digital technology, like any other powerful implement, depends entirely on the agenda and motives of the person wielding it.
The prospect of having intimate images or videos of ourselves circulated among friends & family or across every continent is a nightmare scenario for most of us, but it’s now a familiar part of the digital backdrop to a reality where exerting pressure on and hurting others in this way is just a touch or a swipe away for someone who is so minded.
Stealthing might sound suggestive of some kind of sexy espionage-themed role-play, and certainly, its emergence as a theme in online discussion and elsewhere has been down in part to its promotion among misogynists as a new ‘sex trend’.
[Image by Keirsten Marie on Flickr reproduced under Creative Commons license]
By Katy Proctor
Since 2010, when stalking was defined as a crime in Scotland, much has been achieved to raise awareness and understanding of the crime. As a consequence, reports to the police, convictions and custodial sentences for perpetrators have increased in frequency with each year.
From today, across the UK, Child Tax Credits will only be available for the first and second child. Third or subsequent children won’t get a look in. That is – of course – unless the child is a result of rape.
The Department of Work and Pensions claim that this rape exemption or ‘rape clause’ will only be carried out in the most ‘compassionate’ way, but the question is, can forcing a woman to disclose rape to receive welfare ever really be compassionate? For us – Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid – the answer is a flat out no.